This Family of Four

Hi friends. I have a special something to share with you today.

Our family has doubled and we are now a family of four <3 <3 <3 <3

Meet Piper and Paisley, our new (but not so new) fur-babies. 

We adopted these sweet girls mid-January and love them dearly. We had been planning on getting a dog for a while, and eventually planned to get a second dog. When we found these girls snuggled together in their kennel, we knew they were meant for us. They are a hound mix, about 9 months old when we adopted them, and were strays brought into the Pet Resource Center. They were super timid at the kennel and for days after we brought them home. It was obvious they needed a loving family.

I want to be honest and open with you guys, so here is the whole story.

These girls are litter mates. Prior to adopting them, that wouldn't have meant a thing to me. However, now, its a big deal. It turns out that raising sibling dogs together isn't a suggested thing to do. In fact, it is highly advised against. We found this out about, oh, five minutes after getting the girls home. :-/

We panicked. 

Litter mates commonly develop a dependency on each other which can lead to difficulty bonding with other dogs and humans, separation anxiety, and aggression (among other issues, but those are the highlights). 

Did we need to take one back? (Literally the most heartbreaking idea because we thought we were doing a good thing.) Were they doomed to be terrible dogs if we kept them together?

It was a rough first few days (mentally that is, the girls actually did very well adjusting to the house and us). But we researched and found that while sibling doggies can have issues, they can also be raised successfully together with the right training and dedication of time.

This we were not afraid of.

We knew that two *untrained* dogs would take up a significant portion our time from the get go, and we were more than willing to spend the extra time they needed to develop strong, independent personalities. This was an in-it-for-the-long-haul situation, so we didn't take our decision to keep both of them lightly. 

They didn't exhibit the aggression or difficulty bonding with humans that we had read about, but they did have separation anxiety. They were obviously stressed when separated and very worried about finding their sister.  We could also tell that they were bonding to us, and after a few weeks, we began to think they had developed some separation anxiety from us as well (as sweet as that may be, not really a good thing). 

We interviewed multiple dog trainers. We first wanted to hear their opinion about the situation - if every trainer we talked to across the board said this was a terrible idea - then we were going to have to reconsider our options. We then wanted to hear if they had worked with litter mates/were willing to work with ours. I was surprised that while most of them admitted that it would be a challenge, it was totally doable with the right training and time. 

I wanted to share this because we had no idea litter mate syndrome was a thing, and 99.9% of the people we talked to about it (outside of professional dog trainers) had no idea either. #themoreyouknow 

To top it off...they both had heart worms when we adopted them :( :(

The good news? The girls are doing great!

We have been working with a trainer and the girls have learned so much about being proper puppies :) I mean, they are still crazy maniac pups, but we've come a looong way! And they both sucessfully made it through heart worm treatment. 

The longer they are with us, the more their individual personalities shine through.

Paisley has a shorter snout and almost looks like a boxer. She is a SNUGGLE BUG and wants to be as close to you as possible. She loves chewing her toys (once she learned what those were) and is very curious about everything we do. She can barely sit still and is the detective of the duo. Her 'safe place' is with her paws on you, as high as she can get them.  

Piper is a little bigger and noticeably stronger, though when we brought her home her ribs and hip bones were sticking out (my heart breaks when I look back at pictures and see how skinny she was). She loves to prance around the house to show off her toys. She isn't quite the snuggle master that Paisley is, but she does want to take her naps wherever we are. 

They love to play fight and are always itching to run in the back yard. We love these two pups so much and they are so much fun! We've conquered a lot of challenges together. 

So that's the big (belated) news in our neck of the woods. It slowed some home projects down, especially in the first few weeks when they were scared of everything, we held of with any power tools as to not scare the living daylights out of them. We've slowly introduced them to the noises of the DIY house we live in and they are ok with it these days...which is good because a lot has been happening around here!