|Tonks explores her new home with Jeff, Jackson and me|
after she arrived Sunday, while Jackson keeps
a protective eye on her in the distance.
Tonks joins Jackson the Cocker Spaniel, who has lived with Jeff and me for three years at our St. Albans, Vermont home.
Jackson's a very social little guy, and we thought he'd want a companion for those moments when Jeff and I were too busy to play tug of war with Jackson. The tug of war game with his toys is a 24/7 obsession with him.
About a month ago, we learned of a Vermont couple, Emily and John, who have been the human companions for Tonks for seven years, since she was a puppy.
The couple now has two very young kids. Good kids, but young ones who want to play with the dog but are too young to understand that even gentle, friendly souls like Tonks don't always like to be constantly poked and prodded and groped.
Emily and John reluctantly concluded it would be better for Tonks to live somewhere else.
Jeff and Jackson and me were in the running to adopt Tonks. Jeff was out of town in early May, but Jackson and I agreed to meet one day with Emily and Tonks at a dog park nearby.
I have to say Jackson is a good little salesman. At the meeting, Jackson behaved in his usual way, greeting Tonks with friendliness, while at the same time doing his best not to be overbearing. Tonks and Jackson went to other dogs to say hi, played with each other, went their seperate ways and then played with each other again as Emily and I talked.
Jackson and Tonks acted like old friends, even though they'd just met. A very good sign indeed.
You could tell right away Tonks was well cared for. Beyond a healthy appearance, she seemed at ease with both people and other dogs. You could see both curiosity and confidence in Tonks' big eyes. A very good sign.
A couple weeks later we heard from Emily. Would we like to adopt Tonks?
Tonks had already melted my heart. Jackson seemed to want this to happen too. Jeff was all for it.
It was to be.
Tonks arrived at our house last Sunday. I was at work, so I wasn't there, but Jeff and Jackson greeted her. Jeff and John chatted for awhile about Tonks and the care she'll need and the handoff came.
Jeff was smart enough to let Tonks watch John drive away, so there might be some connnection that he left, and didn't just disappear into thin air. We hoped at some level Tonks understood what was going on, that although things were changing in a confusing way, she'd continue to be loved and protected as she always had been.
It turns out Tonks is a brave, adaptable girl. Don't let those blond curls and her shy, quiet demeanor fool you. She's a tough cookie.
True, Tonks had a lot to get used to. The first day she was here with us, she barked quite a bit. The sounds outside were different than her old home. It was disorienting and scary.
Trucks rumbled by on the road. Birds flitted from tree to tree just outside the door. A motorcycle roared to life at the house across the street. Kids played two houses up the road. The barking was inevitable.
Tonks, though, was immediately affectionate with us. I quickly discovered she likes simultaneous chest and back rubs. She went back and forth between Jeff and me, finding reassurance in our eyes. We kept telling her she's a good girl, and giving her neck rubs. She seemed like she was starting to feel at home.
As I watched TV Sunday evening, I was gratified to find Tonks curled up at my feet, falling comforably to sleep.
I was happy to see Tonks is naturally curious, but not so brave as to wander off completely on her own, which is a good combination. She scoped out the yard on her first day here, stopping from time to time to take refuge from the hot sun under the shade of our willow tree, just as Jackson often does.
Tonks thinks her new brother Jackson is crazy. Tonks is right. Jackson growls and yelps and laughs as we play our usual tug of war game with John Boehner, which is the name of one of his favorite toys. Tonks looks on, bemused.
But the two dogs are already sharing nicely. They sleep in each others' beds, play with each others toys, try to sample each others' food.
Tonks barks less and less as she gets used to the sounds swirling around outside the house. The other day, we had to bring Tonks and Jackson to doggie day care while Jeff and I worked.
That went well, too.
Barb, who runs the place, said she enjoyed watching what happened. Jackson spent the day showing Tonks the ropes at day care, explaining as dogs only can how things work, how to interact with other dogs there, how to follow the rules.
Barb reports Tonks is a quick study, but we knew that already.
Tonks is already settling into our routine. Like Jackson, she's excited when Jeff and I get up in the morning. It takes us humans a little while to wake up. Jackson and Tonks are always raring to go.
If Jeff and I have to deal with alarm clocks, Jackson and Tonks are the perfect type.
Our household is a little bigger now that Tonks lives with us. But she adds even more joy to the place than we already had.
Welcome home, Tonks.