Sierra Gets a Buddy

September 2nd was my birthday, and my husband had gone out to get pizza from the best place in town. (Yep, I’m an expensive date!) I was sitting at the computer looking at photos of dogs on Petinder.com, something I’d been doing on and off for months. I was starting to lose hope that we’d find a friend for Sierra anytime soon. I’d been looking at huskies and husky mixes, since Sierra is part husky and seems to play well with them. I clicked on page after page. Then I saw him.

If you’ve ever had a strong intuition about something, you’ll understand what happened next. I saw that photo, and I knew. I actually gave a little gasp and said out loud, “It’s you.” Well, that was the easy part. Normally on Petfinder you enter an acceptable search radius; mine is usually within 75 miles. But I’d neglected to specify this time, and the handsome boy in the photo turned out to be in a no-kill shelter…in Fresno. Fresno! We live 45 minutes outside of L.A. Can you imagine the look on my husband’s face when I told him?

It says a lot for my husband that he was willing to take a 200-mile-plus drive, based on my intuition. Of course, we had to bring Sierra along so the dogs could meet. Three and a half hours and two rest stops later, we arrived. My husband walked Sierra around outside while I went in to talk to the staff and meet the dog. Oh, did I mention what this dog was named? Bazooka! He’d belonged to a college kid who couldn’t afford his upkeep. Hmm. A cute name if you’re a Chihuahua, but not for this boy. You won’t see me yelling, “Bazooka! Come!” across a park anytime soon.

The staff brought the dog to a getting to know you room. He was gorgeous, underweight, and very sweet. He was more interested in sniffing around now that he was out of his run, but he did greet me and accepted handling well. We put him on a leash and took him out to meet Sierra. We parallel walked them, allowed a few seconds of sniffing, more walking…the usual introduction ritual. Both dogs did fine. Then we brought them back indoors (thank goodness for air conditioned greeting rooms), where we let them off-leash. They played! Not only did they play, but they played very nicely, softly, and appropriately. It warmed my heart to see it, because Sierra can be obnoxious in her play style, and sometimes too overwhelming. This dog had at least five or ten pounds on her, which might have helped.

A short time later I signed the paperwork. Fast forward to the dogs being home. I’m happy to say that The Dog Formerly Known as Bazooka is definitely housebroken. He’s also definitely very food motivated, and pretty darned pushy. Hmm, wonder what sort of manners he might have learned in a college dorm? He needs some work on house manners and training, of course. And he is a two-year-old, active breed boy. So far he and Sierra have played very well together. They race around the house and wrestle, and do that wonderful lazy-wrestling play where they both lie on their backs and mouth. I love that. We do have to be very careful about resources, though, including affection. They would most certainly fight over food, and show signs of being willing to fight over greetings if they’re not well managed. The new dog already knew sit, and is now sitting and waiting to be released to eat his meal, have his leash put on, jump out of the car, and so forth. He’s almost got a down, and has a decent short stay. He learns quickly. Did I mention food motivated?

We’ve been taking Sierra to the local dog park early in the morning for some time now, before most other dogs arrive. She’s got a best buddy, Niko the husky, who we meet there for playdates. But Sierra is a different dog at the park. You could call her the Dog Park Police. If two dogs start playing, she runs in and splits them up…move it along! If she’s playing with another dog, she’ll get snarky if a third dog tries to join in. We tried to take her and The Dog Formerly Known as Bazooka together, and they got into two brief skirmishes, both of which Sierra started, and they ended it themselves. Alone at the park, Sierra can be borderline obnoxious but is manageable. Alone at the park, the new dog is absolutely fine with everyone. Needless to say, they will not be there together. When I take him to the park, Sierra goes on the morning hike with my husband, and vice versa. It’s good for them to have time apart and alone with us as well.

Since I didn’t want to keep calling this handsome boy The Dog Formerly Known as Bazooka, I drove myself and my husband crazy with potential names. We went through Dakota, Beau, Shaman, D’Artagnan (okay, that one would have driven everyone nuts, although it fits him)…and finally settled on Bodhi. I’d had the name in my mind for some time. I’d always liked it and hoped that whenever we got a dog again it might suit him. It’s short for Bodhisattva, which is an enlightened, compassionate being. Here’s to hoping it does fit him, and that he and Sierra have a long, happy life here with us. Finding him certainly was a nice birthday gift! Right now I can’t stop taking photos, so here are a few more. Hope you enjoy them.

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9 Responses to Sierra Gets a Buddy

  1. Mary Doane says:

    Just wonderful! That Bodhi scored a pretty good home, I’m thinking….

    Thanks for sharing this story.. I sure do know what it’s like to lock eyes with a dog and know s/he is going to be yours!

  2. I love the middle photo, Nicole. It looks like Bodhi is tickling Sierra and that she’s laughing! What a beautiful pair. Congrats! Warm woofs…Nannette

  3. Welcome home Bodhi! you landed in a loving place.
    Be good to Sierra… she’s your key.
    Donna

  4. Congratulations to all of you! Bodhi is one handsome boy. I wish you all many long years of fun and happiness together.

  5. Happy Belated Birthday Girlfriend, and Congratz on a beautiful new doggo! He is a handsome dude and sounds like the perfect match. I knew your dog would find you!
    ; ) Love the photos – he and Sierra look great together.

    Hugs,
    Ann

  6. Marilea Robinson says:

    Belated happy birthday. I mentally sent you a nice card ; ) Congratulations on your new addition. He is very cute. Seems like every time you add a new dog it feels like 5 of them, but then it just seems normal after a short while. Enjoy!

  7. Dee Green says:

    What a great story! It warmed my heart to see resource guarding discussed as something you just deal with in a new dog, like a mat in a coat, or overgrown nails. Of course I realize you’re a professional, but in this case you’re more guardian than trainer, and the tone of your post reflects it.

    I look forward to the day when common wisdom embraces the concept that ALL dogs need “training” (with humans we call it “nurturing”), and dogs are no longer discarded to shelters for common dog behaviors they don’t realize are a problem with us human-types.

  8. Anita Read says:

    What a beautiful pair. That’s a great name for him, lucky fellow. Congratulations!

  9. Hilary says:

    Loved this story! Thanks for sharing the way it happened and the way it is. I like that you take things in stride, like it’s no big deal about food guarding, dog park activity, whatever. You just deal with it.

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