A long absence of personal posts = a move to the country.
Even with all kinds of ups and downs (including a chaotic renovation process) this has been wondrous time for our dogs. It’s been close to miraculous to see them to “become themselves”, to shed some bad habits, clearly gain confidence, and become very relaxed. (Note that our dogs are rescues and both Mu and T had major issues; the former with skittishness and separation anxiety, the latter with dog aggressiveness.) To our knowledge, they both have been city dogs, until this June:
After being a tad nervous with the FedEx truck and all the renovation people around, T clearly took on the job of being the guardian of the house. But: in Brooklyn both of them used to get nervous exited with every ring of the doorbell; almost getting into a fight over who would run to the door. Here, it’s clearly T who is in charge of everyone’s safety.
The countryside has also been great for T’s health. He has a broken left hip that was operated on 1.5 years ago and that will never be 100% perfect again. So T still limps, perhaps every other week, but it’s much easier to provide him with opportunities to be outdoors and to be as active as he needs to and wants to. Due to this, his hip muscles have grown back. When he’s feeling good, he can run FAST.
And, it’s clear neither of our dogs are dog-aggressive. When thinking back to the first months of T having joined us in Brooklyn, I’m not surprise T reacted anxiously, even aggressively, to other dogs. He came from the streets and his hip was broken! (It took 3 vets to diagnose that, but we also grew anxious because of T’s behaviour — and he must have reacted to that as well.) It’s amazing how well he tolerates his new pack member, the fearless bundle of energy called Indi:
There are some problems as well. It’s not so easy to socialize the puppy when you don’t walk her in the busy city streets but in the forest. That’s why she went to the puppy class and will continue her obedience training.
Another challenge is that all three have developed an incredible prey drive (we almost lost Indi when she and T ran after a deer). No e-collar or invisible fence helped. So these three got a big dog run. It’s not the biggest hit yet (Mu hates to be apart from us), but I’m sure in time:
This is not to say cities are not for dogs. Many dogs thrive in the active environment of a city. And in NYC, with the generous off-leash hours in Central and Prospect Park, dogs get to have an amazing time with tens and hundreds of friends.
Still, it’s hard to imagine we’d ever bring them back to the city to live there for good. Maybe it wasn’t just the city with its sensory overload but our seemingly busy life, the continuous sense of rush (which is exciting and tiring). While country living is not perfect, for us or for the dogs, there’s now often this feeling: