Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reunion of Littermates - Ten Years Later!

Do you think that brother and sister puppies know and recognize each other as siblings?  Do you think they "know" they're related?

As I walked into the kennel one morning to bring Joey in to be boarded for one week, I'd had no idea that Joey's littermate lived in the same town as we! I knew Joey was from Connecticut, and here we lived in Boston. But that day I saw that dog standing there - those eyes - that body shape, that head shape - I knew it had to be!

"How old is your dog?" Nine.

"Where did you get your dog"? Connecticut.

"These dogs are littermates!" I exclaimed, excited and in disbelief.

And she even had the same collar and lead as Joey had!

We arranged with the kennel to have the two siblings' pens side-by-side.  It was so endearing!

We also exchanged names and phone numbers and emails and planned to get the dogs together - but then Joey was hit by the car.

We had to respect the time Joey needed to hear.

And then, six months later, that day arrived.

We had to deal with each dog's personality and attributes: Rosie was protective of her owners, and Joey was highly excitable. We had to plan out what to do so Rosie would feel comfortable around Joey, who would naturally know no restraint.

This morning a car pulled up to the sidewalk outside our home and Elisabeth, Rosie's mom, got out then Rosie got out. Joey knew something was going on outside but he couldn't see what. Still, he could hear it. Elisabeth and I had decided to keep Joey inside the home while Rosie got comfortable in a new place and with new people.

But when I came inside, Joey could smell Rosie all over her hands and arms. He kept sniffing for more and more.

The question everybody asked is, "Do they recognize each other? Do dogs who've been separated since birth have a sense of being family?"

We get used to each other little by little

Soon I put Joey on lead and slowly allowed him to go outside. First I had him sit on the front step of our home for a while, while Elisabeth had Rosie remain on the sidewalk, close to her. The two dogs just looked at each other and got comfortable like that for a while. It was pretty difficult. He wanted to get up but I would say "Sit" and he obeyed. Dog obedience can be a real challenge, and one thing I learned was that after this ordeal with the car, Joey had really strongly bonded with me and was considerably more obedient than he'd been. But still, it was a challenge to keep him still.

We see each other for the first time in ten years!
And so begins a story of reunion and - what else? Read the continuing story in Joey's blog to learn more about Joey's life and injury and the reunion and reconciliation of littermates, from the dog's perspective!


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