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ISO: Advice on adopting after recent losses

5040 Views 62 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  PatriciafromCO
So, I realize this is an intensely personal question and only my husband and myself can make the best decision we can for us, but I could really use some advice or stories or anything helpful regarding adopting a new dog after yours dies.

Sebastian, the dog my husband and I adopted when we first moved in together, died on January 3rd, just a few months after my family dog from childhood died as well. Obviously, it's been a lot of loss in a short period of time. I have not lived in a house without a dog since I was 13 and I will be 30 next year. I hate being in a house without a dog even more than I thought I would (and it is a "house" without a dog, not a "home"). I hate it so much. I am so lonely without both of them. Further, I have serious and chronic health problems of my own... neither Bailey nor Sebastian were service animals, but I did not realize how much my health relied on them until they were gone. Or maybe the stress of their passing has thrown my system out of whack, which is also entirely possible.

Basically, I feel like I'm ready to start looking for our next family member. The idea that a new dog could in any way replace Bailey or Sebastian is absolutely unthinkable to me, so believe me that is not what this is. Or, that's certainly not what we want it to be, but I am also well aware that my husband and I are still very early in the grieving process for Sebastian and that we need to be cautious in our decision making. I think we are, though. We are keeping the lines of communication open with each other and when we browsed on Petfinder we sent an enquiry about ONE dog that looked like he'd fit our lives... not 100 questions about 100 animals that who knows if they'd work for us.

Anyway, I guess I'm just looking for stories about when you adopted after losing another pet. Did you do so quickly? Did it take years? Have you reached your last dog? I would also be extremely curious to hear from those who have fallen in love with specific breeds. Sebastian was Pyr mix and we are hoping for another mix or full bred Pyr, but want to be congnisant about not comparing him to Sebastian. At the same time, we know lots of people who will get the same breed over and over again. Bailey was my first dog from childhood and Sebastian was my first dog I adopted myself as an adult so this is the "first second dog" for everyone and we are all feeling a bit lost about it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, while recognizing (again) that no one else can make this decision for us.

Thanks in advance.
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Thanks to everyone who has responded so far, this is extremely helpful and exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you. A couple of things...

I forgot to mention that even though Sebastian had a lot of health concerns throughout his life, we had been hoping to get a second dog at some point in the not-too-distant future. That became less realistic and then impossible as Sebastian (very quickly) went downhill, but for a long time, we had very much planned to have two. Based on talking with husband I'm pretty certain we would not/could not adopt a bonded pair or anything at this juncture, but when I used to think about what our lives would be like around this time, it was with two dogs. So to have zero dogs instead of two, or even one had we adopted again while Sebastian was still alive is just... not what I expected. That's life, of course, but it's just more background info.

Patricia, thank you for sharing and I definitely understand how that would be devastating. I'm not sure if I'd be able to adopt another of the same breed if I had been in your shoes, either. What you say about the right individual at the right time is pretty much how we both feel about it, too. The dog we enquired about recently was the only one we looked at that gave me the same feeling I had when I looked at Sebastian (and a number of other dogs I was confident were a good fit but ended up with other families) and I know husband really liked him too, so that's why we messaged, and we both think that if it really works out that we'll get to meet him, we'll just follow our guts. If it doesn't work out, then nothing was lost and there isn't any pressure. We've also both agreed that if one of us feels ready and the other doesn't, that's basically a trump card. No dog yet in that case, though we do tend to be pretty in-sync on this kind of stuff.

Sydney, I recognize a lot in your reply. I really appreciate you taking the time. I so wanted another dog while Sebastian was still with us for so many reasons, and Sebastian was a great comfort after Bailey died. The story in your post about Elmer is the precise thing we want to be very, very mindful of. I hope that just being aware of that is a step in the right direction, and the truth is we're not married to a particular breed. Sebastian just brought us so much joy, but we both really want to make sure that if we adopt another Pyrenees that we love and appreciate him or her for the dog s/he is and not as a stand-in for Sebastian. I don't really know how to be 100% certain of this point in time, but I think and hope that being aware of that is a good thing and that when we go for a meeting with any potential adoptee, we will feel if it will just be too hard to separate. If you have any other tips for not letting this happen, I'm all ears. We have definitely thought about fostering but it might be difficult right now since we rent and we're not sure how our landlord would feel about a more rotating cast of dogs versus one we were adopting. Sebastian was epileptic and we are also looking into any "forever foster" programs in the area, which I'm not that familiar with but I guess typically pay expenses for an older or infirm dog to have a home when they might not have otherwise been adopted. We'd love to do it and have experience with certain things that might come up in those dogs (mostly the epilepsy, senior dogs from helping to take care of Bailey, and mobility issues as Sebastian had a lot of back leg problems during his last 7 months), but not sure yet if there are any in the area.

Francl, thank you. And yes, I feel the same. I just so intensely dislike being without any pets right now, and indeed I have spent MUCH less time in my life having no pets at all than the time I have had pets, if we're including fish and hampsters, too. But even Bailey we got when I was 13; it's been more than half my life. Logically, this is how I see all pets too, and husband has been around more dogs and cats than me-- he grew up on a farm. They are all different and they all have their own personalities. Just like any family member who dies, you can't replace them, but many people do add to their families again after losses. We are no less Sebastian's dads now than a month ago, and any new dog we adopt would be a new family member with his or her own unique traits. We just had such a strong and special bond with Sebastian that I want to make sure we are able to put into practice what we believe in theory, but I mostly feel that we can and that we will just have to try and insist on a meeting before adoption if possible so we have a sense at that time. Thanks for sharing your story and as an aside, I love Newfoundlands, too. Someday I very much hope to have one myself!

Canyx, it's interesting to hear a situation where something like that was more of a positive. Not that we're endeavoring to do it ourselves, but I'm sure I'd never have forgotten that, either. So far, I haven't felt too guilty just browsing without high takes... I don't think husband has, either. We had no choice with poor Sebastian, at least on the point of his dying. It's more a desire not to put unfair pressure on a new dog to live up to the dog Sebastian was, but at the same time we so much don't want to do that, I might be making myself crazy about the likelihood of it happening. Your story with Soro and Brae is basically what happened with Sebastian and Bailey, too. Bailey was 10 when we adopted Sebastian as a puppy, and he lived with Bailey his first two years, just the way things worked out (I was there, too). It did wonders for Bailey, and Sebastian did wonders for me when Bailey passed in October. The intention was always to adopt another dog, both for us and for Sebastian to have company... earlier than we did with Bailey because of Sebastian's epilepsy. We just never got a chance to before he died :( I was so sorry to hear about Soro. Thank you for your reply.

All the replies have basically confirmed what I think we are both feeling right now, and as I said we did have a long talk to get on the same page. There's no pressure right now but there's nothing stopping us if we really come across the right dog sooner than later. There's no harm in looking and there's no real harm in waiting, but we both detest not being a pet owner right now and both want to give another dog a loving home. I think we will know when we really find the dog that we should adopt, and if it happens to be sooner than later, I hope a new dog will help us grieve some though we have no expectations on that either. Just really want another dog to love and to help; having pets has always given the two of us so much happiness, as it does with so many people.
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One reason that I like to adopt as soon as possible is because a dog fills a gap. He doesn't replace other dogs, b/c he fills the gap in a distinct way for each dog. Getting used to a dog helped us to speed through the grieving process. There was still grief but there was also a dog to support the grief. And, there was 'down time' to 'wallow' in the grief, especially when you have a 'puppy' licking you in the face.
Thank you, hanks. It's funny you say this, because we were really just having the exact same conversation today when talking about the adoption in general. Our time was so structured around Sebastian that it is completely unsurprising that he has left such a gaping void. As you say, a new dog is a not a replacement, but instead helps to fill some of that gap in our lives, gives us another living creature to give our attention to, and will undoubtedly be a comfort in our grief. I am sure you are right that comparisons will be unavoidable. I didn't mean to make it sound like we wouldn't make them or even necessarily purposely avoid them, only that we want to be sure to appreciate another dog for who s/he is and not just for how much s/he does or does not remind us of Sebastian.

All that said.... we are generally not looking for two at once but each had a total love-at-first-sight moment with a bonded pair of small Pyrenees mixes, one male and one female. As of right now the likelihood of someone else getting them before us is very, very high, but our application is in. They are definitely the dogs we are aiming for as of this moment in time, but if someone else adopts them, I do not think we would otherwise look for a bonded pair and our second and third preferences are single dogs. The pair was just screaming our names, though; they sound absolutely perfect but for the fact we are trying to figure out the expenses and whether or not we could do two. I think we can, and they are easily our first choice but there are many wonderful dogs who need a home and we'll see what happens. :) Gosh, they look amazing, though.

Tomorrow is two weeks since Sebastian's passing and I really am starting to feel a little better. The grief comes in waves but I am really feeling the appreciation for the time we had together. We also were able to get his remains back today and it gave me some comfort having him "back at home." I will miss him for the rest of my life but the sad reality is that I can no longer actively help him, only honor him and think of him, and there are more dogs we can help now. But I'm thinking of him often.

100% agreed that our goal is for a healthy dog this time if at all possible, as much as I would never have given up the chance to be Sebastian's dad even if I had known what his life would be like. If the pair falls through we are aiming for a bit older than puppy right now largely out of concern for potential health issues down the road. Not impossible with an older dog by any stretch but for example we adopted Sebastian at 16 weeks and the epilepsy started right around two years old, which is closer to the age the pair is at now too... we will also be insuring if at all possible.

Parker, thank you for sharing. Those are all beautiful pictures! I am honestly glad we are starting the process now, too. I am hoping everything will be set within a couple of weeks, and I know husband is finally getting excited, too.
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I will definitely keep you all posted! Not getting our hopes up too much yet until we see what's really going on, but the pair of Pyrenees just looks too good. They were rescued from a hoarding situation. They're our first choice and if someone doesn't snatch them up first, we'll be taking them home. We'll see. Clearly we won't be the only people interested in them, but they've been up online for a little while and aren't pending or adopted just yet. So, fingers crossed. If it doesn't work out there are, of course, many dogs in need. The right dog for us is the one we end up with... but I sure hope we end up with these two. There are a couple other wonderful looking dogs from the same rescue now, though, and more all the time. It will all work out one way or the other, but here's to hoping for the bonded pair.

Thank you all again.
Thank you, Jen!

We certainly didn't think we'd be going through this with Sebastian at 5 1/2, although sadly I think we both knew it was unlikely he would live to be very old given his health struggles. We both hoped he would and we tried so hard, and I don't think either of us ever really thought he'd die so young, but here we are.

My dad was like your husband with Bailey, before Bailey died. Dad couldn't possibly imagine getting another dog and always said Bailey would be our one and only. Now that Bailey is gone, dad's really missing him and I think they'll get another, eventually. Case in point, though, it has been 3.5 months and they haven't even begun to look, which is the right choice for them. For you, as noted, you'll have the added factor of having to see how the remaining doggo is doing when the other's time comes. His need for a buddy may outweigh the feelings your husband is having now. One step at a time though, just like you said.

I didn't think I'd feel ready so soon but I'm trying not to feel guilty about it. Given Sebastian's relatively young age and how quickly things happened, we very much did not expect to be without a dog in our lives right now. Even towards the end, when we first learned he was terminal, we had really hoped he would still be around now, probably nearing the end, but of course that's not what happened. I think that is part of it, but whatever the reason, I'm trying not to beat myself up for my desire to add to our family. I said this in my last post but what I can do for Sebastian now is to think of him fondly, keep him in my heart, and ultimately give another dog or dogs a home. Sebastian LOVED other dogs (so much more than he liked most people!) and if he had his way, I think we would have had a herd. I keep reminding myself as we are looking.

Please everyone keep your fingers crossed that things work out with the pair...
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I don't want to jinx it but we have at least received a preliminary e-mail confirming our application for the bonded pair is in and they are not gone yet. One step closer...
Just had a very good phone call with the adoption coordinator for the bonded pair. If everything goes smoothly, it sounds like we are it, pending a home visit. They did not have a ton of applications for two adult dogs and the shelter themselves disqualified everyone but us for now. It will still take a few weeks, and that's just fine, and we are going to ask their foster mother to do a meeting before a final decision is made. It doesn't really sound like they ever say no to a request to meet. One of the benefits is the fact that they are close enough to do that.

Now that we have had a good call, I'm feeling a tad less superstitious about it: their names are Bear and Sally, and I'm not sure I can bear to change them, as they BOTH share a first initial with each of my late dogs-- Bailey and Sebastian.

If everything goes as well as possible, a little less than three weeks and they'll be home.
Thank you! We are getting excited now, although there is guilt too. As Canyx said, it is our own, and it's not enough to stop us because it's not really real. There's no reason to feel guilty. If anything-- not to toot our own horns-- I think we should feel proud we are able to consider giving two dogs in need a home quite so soon. There isn't exactly an off-switch for the guilty feeling, though, although I'm sure as we move forward it will lessen.

Really I think most of the emotional discomfort is from being in a bit of a weird limbo. We know the rescue likes us, we know right now we're preferred, but the pooches are not ours yet. I wonder if some of my own trepidation is not wanting to get fully invested in getting these two until we KNOW we will be taking them home. It's hard to identify everything I'm feeling, but mostly I feel like I want to adopt those dogs who I'm so sure we can help.

The home visit was a bit of a surprise which isn't a PROBLEM, our home is fine, but we both feel anxious about all the tidying we have to do. It's not fit for a dog right this second because there's no dog here, but it will probably be less work than it seems. Better to clean a large apartment than a large house...

I put him a whole spray of photos of Sebastian on the wall in our room and that has helped us both to feel a little better, being able to look at his face whenever we want. I still miss him terribly and always will, but mostly I am grateful for what time we had together. He was such a good boy.
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I'm keeping this thread fully updated for myself as much as anyone else, as I was very grateful to have a detailed record of Bailey's last few years with us, and it is already fun to see where we were in the adoption process a week ago versus today.

We are very busy tidying as we have finally gotten actual confirmation for the home visit. I have to take a trip to NJ (from Maine) next weekend and we will pass through Massachusetts both ways, where Bear and Sally's foster home is, so we are hoping to meet them on the way back up. If we are recommended to adopt them, should be all set for the 9th...

I am still anxious about the home visit but feeling better already as we make progress.

Also had a good talk with another rescue we were looking at so if these two fall through, there's another very sweet looking pup who has our names all over him. But so far so good, and we are both very much starting to see the possibility of being the proud owners of two beautiful Pyr mixes in just a bit more than two weeks time. Fingers and toes crossed.
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Small snag and I'm totally freaking myself out about it. I already put in a call to our coordinator and hopefully he can reassure me it's OK and/or provide some help.

The male dog in the pair is a real jumper, as are a lot of Great Pyrs. We have a fenced in yard with tall wooden fences on two sides, a slightly-shorter chain link on one side, and the house making up the fourth side. The male dog especially needs at least 5 feet of fence.

We knew the wooden fences are about 5.5ft and the chain link isn't much shorter than that, but I was looking at in from the window and I said... jeez... you know, I better measure that.

We weren't too far off, but it's basically a crooked 5ft. fence so in actuality, it's like 4'10" off the ground.

I've already found a solution that was specifically from a site dealing with a canine escape artist, but I don't know if it will be good enough for the rescue and for the dog's safety. I am fairly confident about it; it's basically adding an additional foot in very stiff wire meshing to the top of the fence, to make it closer to 5ft. 10", and it isn't chicken wire. It's only one side of the fence. But will he be able to launch himself against it hard enough to go over? I don't know. It also doesn't sound like he's as much of an "escape artist" as "typical Pyrenees with wandering instinct." Frankly, the height is too close for comfort anyway. I would want to add something protective to the sharp tops of the links, and this solution does that, too.

Can anyone advise/console while I am waiting to hear back from their coordinator?
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Thank you! I'm honestly not 100% certain how most Pyrenees tend to jump but it does look like Bear has some good vertical height from a standing position. Still, it's a 5' minimum and that's what we have besides the crookedness.

The only reason I wanted to bring it up with them is because I might have accidentally listed specifically the chain link as 5 and a half feet on the application (the wooden parts are that tall), and I just don't want the home visit person to say "there's no way that's a 5.5 foot fence" and make it look like we were being dishonest in order to be considered. However, as you say, I also would really hope that common sense prevails here, especially as the fence otherwise meets the minimum height and is the only thing I am concerned about with the house, for a pair of adult dogs.

I already sent the e-mail asking for a quick call but I can always just say I wanted to check in before the home visit and prefer phone calls to e-mail, which I do. The e-mail itself had no details, it just said I had no problems but wanted his guidance on something, so alternatively, I could say that I wanted to double check the fence height as we're getting ready and since it's right at the minimum, I just wanted to ask if he had any advice on whether further safety measures would be necessary, and if so, what the most effective method would be apropos how Pyrenees tend to approach jumping.

Unless you think I shouldn't even say that much, which is exactly why I am asking! Again, my main concern is that I listed the chain link as 5.5 feet and the woman coming to check will be able to tell, and whether that could reflect poorly on us...
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Thanks again. I'm not going to raise the issue on the home visit. The way it's working in our case is that someone from a rescue up here is coming to do the home check on their behalf, which she does whenever someone from the area is adopting, but otherwise she's basically coming to relay information about the house to the coordinator, who won't be here himself, but who we are otherwise working with. I think if/when he calls me tonight I'm just going to tell him I double checked the fence, I may have accidentally said it was 5.5 ft, and wanted to make sure that's fixed on the application if it needs to be fixed ahead of the home visit, then leave it at that for now.

I know I'm way overthinking this but I am literally, actually obsessive compulsive and it's this kind of situation it really shows.
Thanks Fracl. We are familiar with Pyrs but our last either was not a big jumper or was not physically capable of such large jumps. These Pyrs are not that large, at least for Pyrs... they are mixes, 55-60lbs, not 110lb purebred Pyrs or even a larger mix. Most of the fencing is fine; it's one side of the fence that is chain-link and right at the 5 foot min, but from phone call with coordinator does not sound like it will be an issue, especially as we are open to and able to do some adjustments. The other three sides of the fence are a complete non-problem. Really other 2 sides; the fourth side is the wall of the house.

ed: Home visit is today so it sounds like we'll just ask what the woman visiting suggests, or if she thinks it's not a particular problem, but there do seem to be a small handful of options for us to alter the fencing on that one side.
the home visit went great! We'll be recommended. We mostly just sat at the kitchen table and talked. Seems like all will work out. They are leaving it to us to deal with the fence as necessary; they're not concerned about it and are comfortable about our ability to handle it. Again, it's not like the fence is actually under the minimum suggested height, just kind of wonky. The woman who came by actually said it looks like a lovely yard for a dog or dogs. We will have them on leads to start anyway, so they can learn the perimeter, and if extension is required we'll do it but it may not be. She also particularly loved the room we have basically set aside for them... we have a large spare room right now where we intend to put their crates and beds. Thanks everyone for the advice and support, I'll continue to keep posted on the process since the next step is meeting Bear and Sally.
Awesome news!
Thank you! Yes, hopefully everything goes smoothly from this point. The only weird thing is that according to the coordinator, once the home visit is finished and we're recommended (which again, hopefully is the case based on what we were told), he'll send the complete recommendation to the board for final approval. It sounds like they almost always approve and when they don't it's for weird reasons that shouldn't apply to us, but that's the last real hurdle other than our own decision-making, which we are pretty set on.

Thank you all again, I'll be sure to update as we know more.
The adoption process can be so frustrating sometimes.

Hopefully this is really nothing, but the woman who did the home visit was very complimentary and swore up and down on her own volition that she'd send in her part of our application on Saturday night to say the visit was fine, we're set, and she'd be recommending us. The reason she promised to do it Saturday night was because she was leaving for a vacation on Sunday (I don't know for how long.) We would have totally understood if she said "well, with my trip I'll get to this as soon as I can," but she really went out of her way to promise she'd do it that night so we could keep moving.

Imagine my surprise when the adoption coordinator e-mailed to ask how the home visit went, since he's heard absolutely nothing from her thus far!

I really don't think she would have told us that she was recommending us if she wasn't, especially since I know the rescue wants to find a place for the pair particularly, but it's frustrating nonetheless. We've still got time for things to happen but it really screws up our schedule if we can't do a meeting this weekend as we intended, and we only intended to do that because it sounded like we'd be far enough along by then.

So... really just venting, hopefully it's just a tiny little snafu and/or the visitor ran out of time before her vacation, but it would have been really nice if she could have told the adoption coordinator that it went well, at least. It doesn't sound like he's heard a word from her as of yet, although it's unclear if the material she had to fill out gets sent directly to him or if it goes elsewhere and he was just trying to check in with her to see how the visit went. I guess there's a tiny possibility she filled out the necessary forms and it went right to the board, but it sounded like the coordinator would be putting all the recommendations together.

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Thank you, Patricia!

What can I say, I'm a worrier, but it was as I hoped: for whatever reason, the woman who visited couldn't do the paperwork yet but she did get in touch with the coordinator and raved and raved about us, so we are all set to move forward with a meeting.

Onward and upward!
We had a really lovely meeting with Bear and Sally. Both of us were worried it might be too painful being with dogs who look so much like Sebastian, but neither of us really felt that at all. They were just so clearly different dogs, and knowing they are in need really erased any hesitations we had about the comparisons. We will have to talk a bit more, but I literally cannot envision us saying no. I cannot bring to mind a situation that causes us to say "no thanks, someone else will come along to give these two a home." We didn't really learn anything super new, just things that reinforced what we were already told in multiple VERY accurate descriptions.

Bear is friendly, outgoing, a people pleaser, excitable. He will be happy the moment he walks in the door.


Sally is beautiful and gentle and soft and lovely, but her shyness is painful and will be a true challenge. She is not aggressive in the slightest, just terrified of everything. She has been in the foster home for two months and still will not take treats directly from her foster mom's hand, though she will eat a treat left in her crate.

We mostly knew this, though, and feel up for the challenge. I know it will take her a good deal of time just to become comfortable with us, but it will also be different with just the two of them-- the foster mom also has two dogs of her own, it's well-controlled chaos there right now.

I will continue to post updates but I really can't imagine us saying no to these two. We know they've already been there a while because they're a pair, we feel confident we can help Sally with her issues as we have experience with very shy dogs, and we have long wanted two. I think we'd be fools not to.
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Next weekend-- Feb 9-10-- was the date they gave us as soonest possible date of adoption if everything went smoothly, which until now it has been. It still mostly is, I mean, there aren't really any problems on the rescue's side or anything like that.

I'll try to keep a long story short but in all seriousness, the real hold up at the moment is that we had an important trip to take this weekend that got canceled short notice and out of our control, but we probably still have to do the trip anyway and try to work everything out here in the meantime so whereas before we had everything planned well and nicely and would have been completely ready to pick up the dogs next weekend, now it's a total nightmare scheduling-wise. The long story is why we probably can't cancel the trip altogether but might be able to postpone, it's just a stupid health-related thing for me.

We don't know for sure they'll be ready to release them next weekend and might be able to squeeze our trip in before then regardless, it's just going to be a lot if both things are true. Not necessarily impossible. It does sound like they've been waiting for a good home for these two for a while, there's a chance they either won't be ready until after or the rescue will work with us on this since they're in foster, or we may still be able to pick them up as planned while getting that trip in, we've just got a lot of details to figure out now.

Anyway, on the point, yes, time and patience! :) Sebastian was incredibly shy too so we have some experience with the personality type, but it was evident from one meeting that they are not exactly the same kind of shyness and of course they are different dogs. Thank you for the advice, hanksimon! I wish we had known some of this stuff with Sebastian...

Patricia-- yes, no question, if Bear likes it, Sally will come look :) To a point anyway! She will get there, and for sure it will be different when it's just us. She can have whatever time she needs, we've got a whole room set up for the two of them to have a safe place... though I can't wait to see which spots she decides that she likes on her own.

Speaking of her timidity, we take relatively routine but not super frequent trips to see my parents and we drive and would always take Sebastian. Clearly we can't and wouldn't take new dogs on this trip too soon, and we have some options including J staying here with them and me going down sometimes, or before they're ready or whatever. But eventually we'll take them to New Jersey, do you have any tips on helping a dog as timid as Sally is being as comfortable as possible on a trip like that? For that matter, Bear will have to get used to the new location in his own ways, but he is so easygoing. Sebastian spent his first couple of years with Mom and Dad so he was already familiar with the house. The good news is that foster mom says they're great in the car.

So, clearly there are some things to figure out but we always find a way. Hopefully the shelter can be a little flexible on the exact pickup day (as can we, to an extent), tomorrow we will figure out what the deal is with the trip and if we even have to ask for much flexibility, and we'll keep on moving one way or the other.
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a good fitting non slip harness :)

There are people who own Pry's from pups and can't even get them to the vet. :) I am sure you will learn what your wondering about when you take them home and see how they behave. Bear is going to be Sally's rock not a breed that leaves what they are bonded to, having someone that will keep the dogs secure at the house is a good option,, Lots of Pyrs get transfered to new farms along with their flock and do just fine.

already having experience in the breed that is very aloof you should be fine.
Thank you!

Yes, definitely clear that Bear will be Sally's rock. They are precious together.

edited to add: so yeah, for the first while J will probably stay with them here if I need to go down to NJ, and eventually when Sally seems like she's comfortable with us anyway, we'll have to try to take them down and have a contingency plan if she is an absolute mess. It's one of those things that doesn't happen often enough to prevent us from getting two dogs, including a shy one, but just often enough that we'll have to at least see if they can manage those trips sometimes, while keeping in mind the answer may be NO and then we have to figure out what to do from there. But we are confident in our ability to be flexible and therefore figure out the right thing to do for everyone's safety, sanity, and comfort-- most certainly dogs included.
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