Petunia

October 29, 2009 · Posted in news, personal, photos 

We’ve had Petunia since the beginning of September and we couldn’t have asked for a better dog as our first foster pet. She’s sweet, quiet, calm, doesn’t jump up on people, playful and loves to snuggle up to you if you lie down with her (she’s also more than willing to jump into your bed though!). For the first month we had her I had only heard her bark maybe four times and that’s only because she was excited about something that was going on. She’s great with my cat Meko, who’s not such a fan of her but he really isn’t a fan of anything that he can’t eat, scratch or sleep on.

We got Petunia through the Animal Wellness Foster Program (AFWP) who provides the food and any medical care she needs. So really, it’s like renting a dog almost for free, keyword being rent, since someday we’ll eventually need to give her up to another loving home. We also buy her extra treats because, well, she’s just too cute not to. However, the reason we chose Petunia from the Montgomery Animal Shelter was that it was unlikely she would be adopted and as this animal shelter is a kill shelter, the foster program is essential to save these dogs’ lives. The problem is, Petunia is a pit bull, a bully breed as it’s known. People have a misconception about these dogs and ignore other aggressive breeds like dalmatians because there’s a Disney movie about them. I’ve never met a sweeter dog in my life. These dogs are also infamous because of the Michael Vick dog fighting incident. Just like with bad children, it’s usually the parent’s fault and that goes with bad dogs as well.

Petunia

Since I’ve gotten her, we’ve trained her to sit, lie down, come and not snap when giving her treats. Instead, she’ll put her teeth on the treat and try to knock it out of your hand with her tongue. We’ve also taught her to walk without a leash and will come when called if she wanders too far ahead. She’ll also run with me on grass but she’s a little slow and I can usually out run her if I sprint (but just barely). She also allows us to brush her teeth and even though you can tell she’s not a huge fan of it, she puts up with it.

Dogs and Cats Do Get Along

It was a little tricky getting Petunia and Meko to tolerate each other. When I first brought Petunia home, the first thing she wanted to do was sniff everything she could, including poor Meko. Luckily Meko is an extremely curious cat and kept approaching Petunia to check her out, then hissing, moaning and running away. I never let Petunia off the leash at any point while she was home. Every time I caught her looking at him funny I’d poke her to divert her attention. Sometimes I would even turn her head, she’d try to look at Meko and I softly move her head away again. This went on for about two weeks with Petunia sleeping in her own room with the door closed. I wasn’t worried for Meko’s safety, but really Petunia’s. Meko isn’t declawed and while I clip his nails every other week or so, he can still take a large chunk out of your skin if you’re not careful.

I tried to introduced them properly several times with Meko always feeling too uneasy. Petunia now won’t even look at Meko and instead diverts her eyes when she walks past him. It’s the funniest thing to watch but that’s not what I intended. So maybe they don’t get along, but I feel 100% confident I can leave them alone together without either one of them hurting each other. As I said, she’s the sweetest dog ever.

Petunia

She’s an Eligible Bachelorette

Next week she gets spayed. After that, it’s full time advertising to get her adopted. It’s not that I don’t want to keep her, it’s just that at this point in my life I can’t. Had she come into my life at a later time I wouldn’t think of letting her go. And everyone that has met her has said the same thing: she’s the sweetest, nicest dog ever. Check out Petunia’s own webpage on Petfinder.com. Make sure you check out the video of her playing in the back yard, it’s hilarious at the end:

I’ve been a little rough when I’m playing with her but she’s never shown aggression at any point that I’ve had her. Not even toward Meko. Now, when it comes to other dogs, it’s hit or miss. She’s already made one good dog-friend already, so I know she can learn to be around other dogs as she’s learned to be around Meko.

The dog, not the girl!

The dog, not the girl!

Not All Dogs are Perfect but They Do Go to Heaven

Petunia does have her problems, and in the interest of full disclosure here they are:

  • She snores, loudly, and sometimes snorts in her sleep. She also dreams about chasing things so her flailing legs on her bed could get a bit noisy during the night.
  • She poops, a lot. OK, maybe not anymore than the average dog, but this is my first dog. Maybe when they breed a dog that doesn’t pee or poop, it’ll be the perfect pet.

So, if you or someone else you knows wants a sweet, huggable, playful dog, Petunia is an awesome dog. And don’t feel bad about taking her away from me. Sure I’ll miss her, but we plan on saving and training another dog as soon as we can after Petunia. Dogs are a ton of work, but they’re also a ton of fun.

Oversized Lapdog

Oversized Lapdog

Other Links

More animals, cats and dogs, from the Animal Welfare Foster Program.

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