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.
I can't deny that them playing so well right now is making me smile :) I hope that he starts to settle in and go back to his normal neurotic self for you!
I love the video!! I hope that Franklin being calm will do like you said and help Kirby settle in! I know this has to be a heart-wrenching time for you...I really hope that you all can find peace in whatever decision you make!