Betty White loved animals so it seemed fitting on her 100th birthday, to tell the story of Daisy.
We adopted Daisy, previously named Mello, from the Fort Worth Animal Shelter because most shelters in the area were not allowing in-person visits but FW was. Nathan immediately bonded with her; she was playful and engaging and didn't seem too much mind the other dogs in the yard.
We brought her home in April and gave her a few days to decompress before we introduced her to Arlo, my mastiff mix. "Arlo seems to be a pretty laid back guy," we thought, it will be better than the girl - girl action with Gretchen who is well, bitchy. More on that in a bit.
We walked Arlo in on a leash and let them sniff each other and that lasted about 7.8 seconds before they were at each other's throats. Literally. We were bleeding. Lolo was bleeding. It was a mess. We tried taking them on walks together. No Dice. We worked with a trainer that came to us. Nope. In fact she told us it may take 6 months to get them to be able to be together. (Thankfully, full cohabitation wasn't a requirement.)
Fast forward to later this summer, when we made the decision that we'd have to rehome her. Having our dogs go back and forth was just to important to us. The problem was there was literally no place for her to go. The shelters and rescues were packed, web sites were flooded with dogs that had been adopted during the sequester phase were being returned at an alarming rate.
This is where the credit goes to Nathan, he just wasn't ready to give up on her. He researched obedience schools and found one that would work with Daisy and slowly integrate her with other dogs. And with Arlo too, if necessary, since he was definitely not an innocent bystander. For two weeks, Daisy went every day to school at Part Cities Obedience School where she learned and practiced basic commands, but more importantly had supervised playtime. Nathan researched and watched videos about German Shepherds (losing a TV in the process when Daisy attacked on-screen barking dog. whoopsie Daisy as they say!) and their tendency to have a "fear period."
This is called Adolescent Fear or Fear Reactivity and it's really common in working breeds aged 12-18 months. Daisy was right on track at about 1 year old. DiamondintheRuff.com describes it as
Living in an adult body with a puppy brain. Your dog experiences emerging territoriality and responsibility for the pack combined with conflicting feelings of puppy insecurity.
This is likely what landed Daisy in the shelter to begin with as it can seemingly come out of the blue.
Some might read this and say "This is why you don't adopt shelter dogs -- you just don't know what you're getting." None of this was Daisy's fault.
In hindsight, we needed to do more research and ask more questions, and because Mellow (which she is not) was likely still on pain meds when we visited with her, we didn't get a true sense of her personality. I've adopted pure bred dogs and you don't always know what you're getting there either.
Now, back to Gretchen, she's a heeler mix and for the most part is pretty easy to get along with. Do not confuse that with laid back. Gretchen is definitely a cautious dog and really could take or leave most other dogs. She will play from time to time, but the heeler has very specific rules on how the games are played and she will let you know that you're doing it wrong.
Now everyone gets along pretty well. We gauge success by being able to have them all together for 3-4 hours at time most weekend nights while we cook and have dinner. Daisy and Arlo wrestle and play together now and Daisy, while definitely younger and faster, adapts to Arlo's mood of play (rough and tumble chasing vs. lay around and playing bitey face.) Gretchen referees or puts herself to bed.
So I'm writing this blog on what would have been Betty White's 100th birthday as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge. I encourage you to make a donation to the shelter of your choosing today and tag Betty. You never know when you'll be saving the life of a Daisy or an Arlo. I'll list my favorite local rescues below.
Oil of the Month
I've been getting a lot of questions about essential oils in these "unprecedented times." (are you as tired of that as I am? I want some precedented times, please.
So I thought I'd start covering an oil each month starting with Rosemary. Rose would have admittedly been better to keep with my Betty White theme.
Rosemary essential oil supports healthy digestion and internal organ function when ingested. Long revered by experts, Rosemary was considered sacred by the ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Hebrew cultures. Rosemary oil's herbaceous and energizing scent is frequently used in aromatherapy. Taken internally it helps to reduce nervous tension and occasional fatigue.
I like it best for it's emotional support. Research shows that simply inhaling the aroma of rosemary essential oil can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood. High cortisol levels are caused by stress, anxiety or any thought or event that puts your body in "fight-or-flight" mode
Looking to expand your EO collection? Check out Rosemary for sure! Learn more here and be sure to check out the doTerra monthly specials!