Juno – June, 2013

One week ago today we added a member to our family. We are still so excited and this is how it happened…

After losing the last of our two dogs about three years ago we recently decided to begin the search for our new dog. We always knew we would ‘know’ our dog when we found him or her and timing would just lead us together. Because our Australian friends have a boxer we love when we visit we decided to look at boxers. And because we know there are many dogs looking for homes we decided to adopt a boxer who needed us.

We found Nor Cal Boxer Rescue on-line and searched the photos and descriptions for a dog that would fit into our family nicely. Jaye found two fantastic boxers she really liked but they weren’t available. I noticed Juno, read her foster mommy’s description, and sensed she might be the one for us.

After working our way through the application process and expressing interest in Juno we met with her at her foster home with her foster parents, Jill and David. Everything Jill wrote about Juno was true and, as expected, we ‘knew’ when we saw her Juno was the dog who was just waiting for us to find her. She took to Jaye and me, as well as our youngest son, immediately. She gave us all a ton of kisses which surprised Jill because, after a month in the house, she had never given out kisses. We spent an hour getting to know Juno, watch her, pet her, and (of course) falling in love with her.

We couldn’t wait to get through the final steps of the application process and bring Juno home. Even though it took less than a week each day seemed like forever and we couldn’t wait to get the word we could pick up Juno. When we got the OK we arranged to meet with Jill and pick up Juno as soon as we could.

Juno was very happy to see us again and we imagined she was wondering, ‘Where did you people go last week’ After a short stay and the foster family good-byes we got Juno on the road. She traveled wonderfully and settled right in for us. She was really excited to explore her new house and she loved doing some business on her new, recently mowed lawn. Do you think dogs smile? They do… well boxers do, for sure!

It wasn’t long before it was bedtime so we took Juno and her treats to her new crate. As Jill described, Juno climbed right in and we didn’t hear a peep out of her all night. We got her up about 7am the next morning and she got to see her new yard in the daylight. We played on the lawn and in the backyard for awhile and got to know each other throughout the day. She also got to meet our oldest son for the first time and, as expected, they fell in love with each other. She was fully part of the family!

I took a little time to introduce Juno to our doggie doors which allow her free access to the inside and outside of the house. On the first day she let herself outside when she needed to visit the lawn! Yes…. we have the smartest dog in the world!

We learned from Jill that Juno had a little trouble on-leash with other dogs so we started watching for that. Jill was kind enough to purchase a book called ‘Feisty Fido’ so she could learn some tips for handling Juno’s issue. Jill generously passed the book along to us when we picked up Juno. I noticed Juno did pull on her leash when we walked and we wrestled a bit to control her when other dogs were present. The book recommended using a harness, rather than a collar, to attach the leash (a harness attaches at the front of the chest, which seems weird) so we went shopping and found the harness the book recommended. We put it on her in the store and like the snap of a finger, Juno completely changed and became 90% easier to manage – no more pulling, no more lunging at other dogs; she was calm and cooperative on her leash. We were sold on the harness, rather than neck collars of any kind, for leashing from now on.

As an example, we took her into the grooming area of the store to get her toenails trimmed and she had to walk among other dogs. She ignored them and walked right past. After the grooming, the groomer said she was calm, ‘with the program’ and he totally wants to be her regular groomer because she’s so well behaved!

Her second full day was much the same as Juno followed us, checked on us, napped, got used to our lifestyle, and settled in. Her third bedtime was interesting though… we learned Juno can be stubborn and adorable at the same time. Juno decided she no longer wanted to sleep in her crate although she’d done so for two nights without complaint. She simply sat and stared at us with those pleading eyes boxer owners know. She didn’t want to go in, and she wasn’t going to go into her crate. Since it was only a matter of time that we planned to let her be free in our bedroom at night anyway, we pulled her bed out of the crate, gave her her treats and went to bed. She climbed onto her bed and slept there all night. She’s done the same every night since.

As a contract instructor I had to travel to San Diego for an assignment three days after picking up Juno, sadly leaving her home. Although she looked for me every day, she enjoyed following Jaye and working in the garage with her during the day. Jaye raised the garage door a little bit to let in some air and tethered Juno nearby so she could watch life going on in front of our house. Juno never lunged, barked, whined, or startled – she simply watched (and slept).

When I returned home last evening Juno was very happy to see me, and I was very happy to see her too.

Juno has assimilated into our family better than any of us could have hoped. Jaye and I have asked ourselves more than once this past week how we could have gotten so lucky. We don’t have an explanation, except that we knew ‘our dog’ would find us in the right time. We don’t know much about where Juno came from but we know where she will stay – with us, in her forever home.

Thanks to all of you who kept her healthy and happy until we could finally find her.

Roger, Jaye, Matthias, McAuley, and Juno