Tuesday, February 25, 2014


 We have a new family member at our house. Boo, my mom's six-year-old malti-poo, has come to live with Star and I, probably permanently. The first dog I ever had was a miniature poodle named Cocoa. Since then, I've pretty much always had big dogs- usually labs and golden retrievers. This eight-pounder is a whole new experience. 

Boo is not an ordinary people-loving dog. She spent the first years of her life as a puppy mill mama, having six litters of puppies before she was finally rescued at age 5. Those years in the puppy mill have definitely left their mark. Unlike Star, who never leaves me alone, Boo never initiates contact. She doesn't greet me at the door when I come home. She doesn't come when I call her. She rarely acknowledges my presence.  Boo is shy, shy, shy, shy, shy.

Boo lives in a perpetual state of worry and anything, however slight, can set her off. If I pick her up too quickly, she starts to shake. If Star approaches too exuberantly, she starts to shake. If I drop something or make an unexpected noise, Boo starts to shake. She shakes a lot.

Boo's happy place is her bed. Right in front of the dishwasher. She would rather be there than anywhere else. She is sitting in her bed when I leave for work in the morning. And she is still sitting there when I come home at night.  If I put her down anywhere else, she scurries back to her bed,  like she's been drawn into a mysterious bed force field. And any time we move from the main floor to the basement (at least ten times a day, given that my bedroom and the family room are both in the basement), we have to take her bed. Otherwise, she starts to shake.

Boo is a bit of a princess. She likes her meals catered.  In a private dining room. And so twice a day, I put the baby gate up to fence my food-crazed lab out of the kitchen, then dump Boo's quarter cup of food into a little dish. I put the dish next to her in her bed and wait a few minutes to see if she will eat. She usually doesn't, at least not until I take a few bits of Kibble and place it outside of the bowl. Then she gobbles it up and looks up at me, as if to say, "Ready, mom." That's my cue to give her another bite.  And so we repeat. Again and again and again until the food is gone.

Boo doesn't do stairs, which is a teeny bit of a problem, given that there are four steps between the main floor and the back door, and another two off the deck into the yard. This means that every time she has to go out, she needs a little help. It also means that every time I go downstairs, I have to plan my trips. One trip to carry Boo (and her bed). One trip to carry anything else I need. And she doesn't like it if I take her first, then go back for the bed. That makes her shake.

Boo's pretty high maintenance. She worries and shakes. She  has to be fed and lugged around. Even so, she's part of the family. Welcome home, Boo!

This isn't Boo, it just looks a lot like her.


Tara said...

Boo has come to a house of love, she will soon settle in, Carol - I just know this <3

Unknown said...

The things we all do for beings that need love is amazing! A great slice about Boo and about her relationship in the family. She is such a character and you have captured her so well.

Donna Smith said...

Poor, but lucky, Boo! It's never too late to learn new tricks, so maybe she'll warm up to this new life someday!

Mandy said...

I just had to read about a new family member. I love your word choice, a food crazed lab. I live with one of those too. You really understand Boos needs and her story before life with you sounds horrible. Thanks for sharing.

Catherine said...

Boo is so lucky to have you to shower her with love and care. Thanks for sharing!

Linda B said...

I imagine she will get more used to this new home, Carol, & take a little less time for you. Maybe she will even learn to cuddle. Hope your mom's challenges are lessening for her, & for you Carol.

Cathy said...

Your house must be hopping. We have my father-in-laws dog, Trudy. She was abused as a young dog and then my father-in-law got her from a shelter. Through the years she has learned to trust. She now greets us at the door and likes to be wherever we are. She has relaxed. Every one in awhile you see a piece that must be left from her life long ago, but just every once in awhile.

I'm hoping Boo settles in. It must be something to see the two dogs together.


Ramona said...

Carol, just think of all the extra movement Boo is bringing into your life. Those added steps you take for her will pay off. And I look forward to hearing more Boo stories. I'm not a dog person, but you captured me with this slice!

elsie said...

Boo has just added another layer to your family. Wonder how she will react when the boys come home. You are a kind and loving parent to all who enter your house.

Becky Shillington said...

Boo sounds precious, Carol! Congratulations on your new addition! = )