Update: Well any thoughts of re-homing Kirby have been put on hold due to the move. I am in the process of moving from one place to another and he is not taking well to the idea. I have spent a few hours at the new place on both Saturday and Sunday and Kirby was so nervous and pacing/whinning pretty much the whole time we were at the new place. He peed and pooped inside the new house even though the door was open to the backyard, he has NEVER gone potty inside. He is continuing to whine/bark if I crate him at the new place as well. I crated him for about 15 minutes while I ran to the store really quick yesterday, I wanted to do a really short trip and have him crated at the new place to help him adjust to when he will be there full time. He was still whinning when I got back. And he has tried to destroy the blinds already when left alone for less than 2 minutes, and he began chewing the carpet when I was still inside with him. I'm not sure how long it will take him to adjust to the move, but now I worry a lot about re-homing since he has had such a severe reaction to the move. On a good note though, him and Franklin have begun to play again....A LOT! Its fabulous to see them getting along so well. Granted its only been 3 days but its a pretty big deal considering they hadn't played together in weeks without getting into fights. Then new place has a jack and jill type bathroom and a hall between the bedrooms and together this makes an excellent racing circuit for the dogs to run circles like crazy. Franklin was going bananas yesterday, I belatedly got out the camera, but was able to catch some fun. He's an old hat when it comes to moving so I'm hoping his mellow reaction to the move will help soothe Kirby. Frank is actually the one who instigated the most recent play sessions which is great.
Tomorrow it will be 4 months since I adopted Kirby. I didn't realize it had been so long. The last few weeks I have been thinking long and hard about whether I should re-home Kirby or continue to stick it out and see what kind of relationship between us develops. Lately I have really started leaning towards finding him a new home. I do have several people who I have talked to who are very interested in him and I think I may begin an interview process to re-home him. I know I'm going to catch a lot of sh#$ for this decision, but I really do think it is in HIS best interest, as well as my own. A few incidents have led me to this decision. First off, a client was wanting to get rid of his lab the other day and was trying to give it to me, my first thought was frustration that I had Kirby otherwise I'd take the lab in a heartbeat. I am ashamed to say this was my reaction. A few days later a good sam brought in a young corgi that she found wandering in her neighborhood, she dropped him off with us and we tried to find his owner, immediately I was more than willing to take him home and was joking about just re-homing Kirby. And now yesterday I was offered yet another adorable sweet lab, again I'm really wanting the lab and not Kirby. It was a big red flag to me at how easy,after four months of constant struggle and work, I can so easily think of re-homing Kirby. I don't feel all that sad about the thought, I don't feel very attached to him, yet after 4 months I should be completely head-over-heels for this dog. I have felt much more connection to some of my other fosters that I KNEW I only had for a short time, and way more connection to other rescues I have helped train, again when I knew I was not going to be able to adopt them.
The second big reason is my observations of his interactions with Franklin. At first I was really not even considering re-homing him because he and Franklin seemed to get along SO WELL. As Kirby's confidence increases, this doesn't seem to be the case. Kirby is an obnoxious, over-bearing, bully of a dog. He is not mean or aggressive in any way, he is just pushy and has zero manners when it comes to dog-to-dog interactions. I noticed this from the beginning and was hoping that Franklin would correct these behaviors and tech Kirby how to be a more well behaved canine citizen. Well the opposite is happening. Kirby is just getting worse and worse and Franklin is looking to me more and more to help "save" him from Kirby. He very rarely will correct Kirby for his obnoxious behaviors and in the last several weeks when Frank finally does decide enough is enough Kirby will retaliate and a fight will start. Franklin isn't a fighter so will often either back down or run to me for protection. If I correct Kirby for the behaviors it just results in me being the mean scary human and Kirby's trust in me and our relationship is negatively affected. Franklin seems to spend more time either stuck to my side like glue, hiding behind me, or up on my bed where Kirby can't get, than he does interacting in a positive manner with Kirby. I was hoping they would figure this out but it seems as time goes on Franklin can't wait for the minute I lock Kirby in his crate for the day.
Last off, I feel like the medications are starting to help a little bit, yet I feel no closer connection to Kirby. I was thinking maybe his anxiety, destructiveness, and the behaviors that followed resulted in me being so frustrated with him all the time that it has made it so I can't really connect with him. Well for the past several weeks Kirby has been great about going in his crate, I can now safely leave a bed in there and he won't destroy it, and he is much less anxious in the house. Yeah we've been dealing with the not eating thing, but that is more annoying than causing any real frustration on my part. Yet with this improvement in behavior I'm not feeling any increase in bond with him. He's just kinda there in my house. I pet him and play with him because I know he is very affectionate and wants the love, but I don't do it because I truly WANT to shower him with my affection. I feel really bad about this too. He is a very sweet and loving dog and its not fair to him that I don't feel that connection at all. I have just been thinking more and more about how much happier he would be in a home where somebody is home more often, maybe as an only dog so he can be the center of the universe, or with a more dominant dog than Franklin who would be willing to teach him manners.
I have had a serious discussion with my family, with his vet, and with some other close friends and done some serious soul searching. I think my own stubbornness has been what has been keeping me from considering re-homing him. I just can't stand the thought that I couldn't make it work and keep thinking it'll get so much better with more time. Just more time, energy, effort, etc and it'll work out fine. But really will it? Or will I be spending the next several months/years experiencing daily guilt that I don't love my dog, frequent frustration towards him when he is just being his crazy, independent self? Wish I could see into the future and see if it does end up working out with him or if its just months and years of me just tolerating him because I can't stand the thought of re-homing a dog who was supposed to be a forever member of my family.
Thank you for those articles. I do agree that when you find that perfect dog you just "know". I had been searching for a corgi puppy for 8 months, spending hours daily searching and looking at puppies and contacting breeders. The minute I saw Franklin's picture I was absolutely head over heels in love with him and I didn't know a single thing about him. All I knew was I HAD to have him. I'd never BOUGHT a dog before, let alone spent a month's rent on a dog but with Franklin I didn't think twice about it. Franklin has some health problems and due to them his breeder generously offered me a free puppy from her next (and what was going to be her last ever) litter. I was so excited, she sent me pictures and updates weekly about the puppies. I had 2nd pick of the litter, in the end none of the puppies were really tugging at my heartstrings like Franklin did and with the breeder's permission I ended up letting my good friend pick a puppy and take her home. I didn't really feel that when I first saw Kirby either but the rescue's description of him was so spot-on I thought it was worth a try since it was so hard to find a corgi in rescue in California to begin with. I guess they call them your "heart dog" for a reason and I have definitely learned if I don't feel that tug and immediate connection I shouldn't spend another moment's thought on that dog.
The picture of Franklin that sealed the deal for me. It was love at first sight.
What a great pic Melissa:)
Melissa, I don't think you should feel terrible about giving Kirby up. I've said it before and it's worth repeating: I have no possible judgement towards you for not wanting to keep him because I would never want a "project" dog at this point in my life. It just would not work. Don't get me wrong, if one of mine developed a problem after all this time, I'd work on it. But it's just not for me, not now. We found a stray Pom (I posted about it here) and he was not truly housebroken (intact and marked), and would not stay confined (barked and barked). Between the two we had to let him out in the night so we could sleep and he peed on everything.
When I came down after a mostly sleepless night and saw him sitting just behind my own two, wagging his tail and waiting for me, my heart just leaped a little because he was so stinkin' cute... and I hauled him off to the pound. Don't get me wrong, it's a low-kill shelter and I knew if his owners did not show he would be placed in an hour. (His owners did show; I called and checked). But the point is I could not stand to have him in my house one more day. No bratty out of control dogs for me, thanks.
I do think that your mistake was taking a dog that you hadn't had a chance to meet from a shelter you did not know when you have such specific needs. But we all make mistakes and we should not have to live with them for 15 years. Please don't feel bad about sending him away. Do learn from this and realize how terribly tough it can be to match up an adult dog with your own. Next time you will know what questions to ask and what process to go through, and to trust no one's judgement but your own. Plus dogs are different with different people. I can move Jack around the house with a quiet word and a hand gesture. My husband can't get him to go outside to pee without bribing him with treats. And I guarantee if Jack were placed in a new home he'd be a neurotic mess; he is such a dog of routine and he does not like when things change. So I could give someone a lengthy description of Jack and they'd take him and find a totally different dog.
We took Jack to meet Becky, a retired show dog nearby. Becky was mellow and easy-going and super-submissive. Jack loves all dogs and all dogs love Jack, even fearful ones who don't usually like other dogs. Well, Becky hated Jack. Snarked whenever he'd come near her. After a walk together, we let them loose and he made two attempts to say hi, got told off for it, and then just totally ignored her for the next hour. Obviously not a good match and her owner said she'd never seen her that way with other dogs. We both agreed it would not work. Anyway the point is that how a dog is in one environment is not how that dog may be in another. Dogs from afar are good for people who are more than willing to take on any situation, but for the rest of us meeting and assessing are really necessary.
Don't beat yourself up. He'll make somebody a fabulous dog when he gets in the right place. Just remember this experience next time, and you will be a wonderful advocate for explaining to people why it's so important to find just the right dog.
thank you. I have definitely decided if/when I decide to get another dog it will have to be local. Since I was so hellbent on getting a corgi as my second dog it really limited my choices. Adult corgis just dont' end up in rescue or re-homing in Northern California. When one becomes available in my area you literally have about 3 hours to find the ad, call the owner, and pick up the dog or its gone. I tried to find out as much as I could about both Kirby and Truck before meeting them and having Franklin meet them. From the first meeting with Truck I had my reservations but the owners had such glowing reviews of him and they offered me the one month trial so I kept him and thought maybe as he adjusted those first meeting jitters would subside. With Kirby he was very sweet when I first met him, VERY anxious and nervous, and the thing I am kicking myself about is that I even told my mom that he looked like a nervous dog from his pictures the rescue sent me. Again her description was of this great well-rounded boy, so when I met him and figured he was so anxious because he had just been neutered the day before and had been through a lot recently (that was when I found out the rescue had only had him a week). Turns out that wasn't the case, the dog I met that day is the exact same dog I have right now. I have learned to follow my gut and no more long distance adoptions!
It's been very eye opening me for me to read your posts about your experiences with Kirby, and I appreciate the candor/honesty in what has to be a fairly difficult situation no matter how you look at it. It's definitely given me pause in thinking about adding another corgi to our household (assuming my other half would even go for it), especially since we are relatively newbie corgi owners compared to a lot of folks on this site!
I think, as other people have mentioned, that a dog is likely to be different with different people/situations. Our rescue definitely wasn't exactly as presented, although we were fortunate that his behavioral issues have been ones we've been able to work on (which have been more about our training than his ;->). To be fair to the rescue they didn't know his history either so they could only go based on how he had been in the few short weeks with them (his behavior also evolved as he matured and got more secure/comfortable). I realize now that we were very lucky in our experience... (pure dumb luck!) and that we need to think long and hard before we decide to add another one to the mix.
I'm sure the right owner for Kirby is out there ... I would have been tempted (since I'm relatively close) but I know we aren't setup to deal with those issues any more than you! Good luck.
Best of luck to you, Melissa. I think you gave it all you could and this is the right decision. Some dogs in our lives are soul mates and others aren't. Franklin is your soul mate and no other dog will ever meet up to his standards. My Dalmatian Sam was that for me. It's the reason I will never own another Dal, although they are one of my favorite breeds. I know it would be unfair to another one because I would put unrealistic expectations on it. It could never replace Sam in my heart. In some ways, our Boston Terrier is my Kirby. We got him as a pup when I knew Sam was literally on his last legs and I wanted his help training a pup. I never let myself bond with Kipper (something that was my fault and something I've never done before). Now Kipper is always the odd man out at our home. When we got the Newfie, Kipper bonded with him and now that the Newfie is gone, Kipper is 'alone' again. He's 9 years old now and I still don't have a strong bond with him. Fortunately my son and husband do have a fairly good bond with him, but Kipper can't be trusted in the upstairs portion of our house or left to run loose with the other dogs. He still pee's in the house if left upstairs and will instigate fights with the other dogs. He probably could have had a much better life with someone else, but now he's set in his ways. We all have 'live and learn' experiences in our life. Kipper was one of mine, Kirby is one of yours. Don't feel guilty, just remember that you were there when he needed you to help him through the initial health issues that probably would have taken his life had someone else gotten him, and now it's time for a new phase of his life where he can bond with a person who can be his and his alone.
Thank you. I still do feel bad about the decision, even though I know its probably best, I probably will never be fully comfortable with it. I do however feel good that I did take him in and at least work with him and make him a semi-managable dog. In the beginning there was no way I'd even CONSIDER re-homing him because I was afraid of what somebody would do to him because his behavior was sooooooooo AWFUL. Now I feel like he would do great in a dog saavy home. He is now very reliable with his crate, he will go in willingly, sleep quietly, and not destroy the bed that is now in there with him. I feel confident that he will be able to move up to an ex-pen someday and perhaps free run of a house, but until that time he seems more than happy to settle down in his crate. The crate issue was a big stepping stone and the crate games really did wonders to make him happy and comfortable in his crate. He has learned boundaries here as well, he will no longer climb on the table while I am sitting there watching, no longer tear the stuffing out of a chair or chew my table leg, all really HUGE improvements from is out of control Houdini behavior of when I first got him. I know he will probably regress when he goes to a new home, but at least now the crate is an option for him. I wish I could talk my parents into taking him because they would be the PERFECT home! Lol. No luck so far though :-)
Hey Melissa, I have been following your posts and just wanted to share with you my sister-in-law's story. She has a field lab that she adores and thought he needed a playmate. She searched for a while, had done research on Irish Setters, and although she had never owned one, thought she would be able to handle him. He was a very cute puppy, but gave her soooo much trouble. He & her lab did not bond like she had hoped and she had a heck of a time training him. She made the decision to rehome him and got in touch with an Irish Setter rescue. She was heartbroken, but I think she made the right decision for the dog. He ended up with a family who loves Irish Setters and actually drove from NC to FL to pick him up. My sister-in-law has even followed his progress on the blog that the family keeps and he has turned out to be a great addition to their family and I am sure he is getting much more positive attention than he got from my sister-in-law due to her high level of frustration with him. It sounds like you have made great strides with Kirby, and I know if you take your time, you will find someone who will welcome him with open arms and have the patience and the experience to help him continue with his growth and will love him.
The PWC Golden Gate Corgi is the one in Northern CA.
Yes thank you. They are the ones that are the breed rescue a few hours from me. The 3 dogs on their webpage have been there since at least January. Chester is the one I applied for, sent e-mails, and many phone calls because I desperately wanted him. No response, ever. We have also contacted them several times through facebook's Corgi Rescues of America to see if they would be willing to take some purebreds that were located in high kill shelters, no responses ever. I'll try again though. I just hope the 3 on their page now are in fact adopted, because I know there has been a lot of interest in them and I'd hate Kirby to go to a place like that where lots of people WANT him, but nobody at the rescue follows through so he just sits. I'm guessing (hoping) they just don't update their page often and all or some are adopted.
I"m starting to reconsider re-homing Kirby. I've been going back and forth pretty much since I got him. Yesterday he and Franklin were playing wonderfully, not a single fight and as I type this they are wrestling and playing happily. I began the move to the new place yesterday. The whole moving thing had Kirby more anxious than I have EVER seen him before. He was borderline out of control all day. He was climbing all over me and my friend, jumping, nipping, licking, pacing, whining, etc. The process of moving boxes from one place to another just had him panicked. When we would go out to get more boxes from the car, which he could see from the front window, he would go CRAZY and even started trying to destroy the new blinds. I ended up crating him while we were going back and forth and I could hear him whinning and barking from outside the house. If a simple move from one place to another, with all the people he knows, sends him into such an out of control panic, what is going to a completely different environment going to be like for him? Will he be 10 times worse than when he came to me? Starting a few weeks ago I began bringing the dogs to the new place for walks so they could get used to the neighborhood. We enver went IN the house since I didn't have the keys, but we walked around out front, by the backgate, through the park next door, etc. We've spent several hours over and around there in hopes of making the transition a little easier. Franklin was fine with it all but Kirby, oh Kirby.....I'd rather have a dog I'm not completely in love with, than possibly cause a breakdown in him that he may not recover from. I think at least for the time being until he settles into the new place I'm going to have to put thoughts of re-homing him on hold. My friend who helped me moved LOVES him and he adores her. I've never seen him act the way he does with her with anybody else. She currently has no dogs, she lives on a vineyard, her landlord (who lives next door) is home all the time and has offered to take her future dog during the day to let it play, etc. I think she needs Kirby lol. Then I could still see him and know he is in the best home. Her husband wants a dog SO BAD, so we will see if my powers of pursuasion work lol.