This week we feature Amanda and her sweet little Pug mix Millie in Doggiedom’s new segment The Dogs of our Lives.
How did Millie come into your life?
We found Millie (formerly Munchkin) on the Pet Rescue website. I had been looking for a dog for about a month and had missed out on a couple of other dogs via online applications. We think she is a Pug/Staffy (Puffy) or Pug/Cavalier (Pugalier) cross of around 3 years.
She was being fostered out at Geelong Animal Rescue so after completing the required paperwork we were invited to meet her. She was pretty shy at first but after a while she quietly sat next to me, leaned on me (if she was a person she’d be a ‘close talker’) and looked directly into my eyes. I was sold.
As we were going away the following weekend we paid for her and asked if her foster family could keep her until we returned as we wanted to ensure we would be around as much as possible for the first few weeks. That gave us time to buy some required paraphenalia – bed, bowls, collar, toys – and prepare for her arrival like expecting parents.
She was pretty shy at first but after a while she quietly sat next to me, leaned on me (if she was a person she’d be a ‘close talker’) and looked directly into my eyes. I was sold.
How did you know Millie was the dog for you?
We were looking for a small to medium sized female dog up to about three years of age to be a friend for Spot, my partner’s parents 8 year old Jack Russell, who lived next door to us. We thought Spot would find a female less threatening and we could walk them together. Once I saw the photo of her on the website sitting happily between the children of her foster family I thought she was the one. Her blurb said that she was gentle and loved cuddles. That was enough for me.
How have you helped Millie to adjust to her new life?
Millie didn’t have any abnormal behavioural issues but she had not received much training in life, so we had to attend to toilet training and lead training, and I took her along to classes at dog school. This was all a bit overwhelming at first (I was expecting to adopt the perfectly trained dog, of course) and a bit more than I initially expected. But each day got easier and, in hindsight, this period was only for a couple of months, at most.
She makes me smile, laugh and overall my day is better with her in it.
As we understood she had been an outside dog we shut her in the bathroom in her new bed for the first night (as her foster family had done). After about 15 minutes of making it clear that this was not acceptable via barking and door scratching) we succumbed and brought her bed upstairs next to ours. She has slept next to us from that day on.
She’s a smart girl (don’t all dog owners say that!) and was very eager to please (especially in response to treats) so it didn’t take more than a month or so for her to ‘get’ her routine and realise that we are her pack. She is rather timid and it has taken a year or so to build her confidence, especially around other dogs, and that is an ongoing thing. Having a structured routine for walks and eating times each day seemed to help her build confidence about her place in our world. We recently moved house and that threw her for a couple of months but now she is completely settled into her new home.
What are Millie’s two best qualities?
It’s hard to articulate really. She makes me smile, laugh and overall my day is better with her in it. I look forward to seeing Millie when I walk in the door and know she feels the same way about me. Simply, I love her.
Recently I was upset about something and she sensed this and came from another room, sat quietly beside me and nuzzled my hand to pat her. It’s like having a live teddy bear for support!
What advice would you give to someone looking to adopt a dog?
But I now can’t bear to imagine life without Millie in it. The joy certainly outweighs any effort.
A friend recently debated the merits of getting a dog and was hesitating because he didn’t want one to ruin his lovely furniture. I asked him if his home décor would be what he remembered at the end of his life, or if it would be the love from his dog. He has since adopted a dog.
Having a dog is quite a commitment. You need to factor their needs into your life – daily walk(s), food, play time, rules/boundary setting – and that takes time and energy. It’s not easy to just go away at a whim, or leave them for lengthy periods of time. But I now can’t bear to imagine life without Millie in it. The joy certainly outweighs any effort.