Picture it….December 17th, 2022, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After a two week wait we are finally able to pick up Luci, our new dog. A Cairn Terrier born September 22nd, 2022, Luci is a red/brown bundle of energy and joy in the body of a hedgehog sized fluff ball. It was windy and colder than we ever care to want it to be, but this was the day. We met Sherry, Luci’s breeder, who was dropping off her vehicle for repair. When we pulled up in the parking lot she was just getting out of her car with Luci’s head poking out of the top of her winter coat. She asked us for a ride to Humpty’s, where her husband was going to meet her…just about six blocks away. No problem. She got into the back seat, pulled Luci and her toy bunny out of her coat, and handed her to Rod for the ride. Of course, Luci was not sure what exactly was happening just yet, but she would soon discover that we were her new dads and she had two older brothers waiting for her at home.
When we got home, “the boys,” aka Freddy and Milo, were extremely curious as to what this fur baby was, exactly. Freddy suddenly registered that we had adopted her and became extremely pissed off. It took a few days for him to even look at her. The sulking commenced immediately. Milo, on the other hand, realized that she was full of energy and was going to be a lot of fun to play with, which he proceeded to do right away. The two of them absolutely exhausted each other, so by night time Milo was very ready for bed and sleep, as was Freddy from fretting over all of the activity, but Luci was WOUND UP. We put them all in their kennels for the night and Luci proceeded to scream and howl for about a half hour before finally settling in. It was quite the commotion!
That Monday morning we had a vet appointment set up for both Luci and Freddy; Luci for her booster shots and Freddy for his identification chip (which we realized had never been done). Luci sang the song of her people from within her travel kennel for most of the way to the vet’s office. Freddy rode shotgun and gave me a look of disgust every once in awhile. They both came through their appointments with flying colors and the ride home was much more peaceful.
Over the next few days the dogs would show us how integrated they were becoming as a pack. Milo would play with Luci, but if Luci became distressed, it was Freddy who would jump to the opportunity to try to help. The concern he was beginning to show her was a betrayal of the aloof nature he was trying to present. Our daughter came over with her two dogs (yes, that is five dogs in the house, count ’em, FIVE) and her new adoptee, Koda, who is a Husky, suddenly noticed Luci in his mama’s arms and became quite curious. But, being just a few months old himself, he did not take the signals from her that his size was overwhelming her. Suddenly Luci went into complete panic mode. Immediately, Freddy stepped in and herded Koda away from her. Each time she has had this happen with Koda, Freddy has been the one to gently but firmly declare the boundaries so that Koda will learn.
Luci on the left, Milo on the right, Freddy in the middle.
A few nights later, I was watching T.V. and cuddling with Luci on my chest so that she would settle down for the night. She was fussing and fidgeting and I finally picked her up, turned her to look her in the eye and said, “Listen here, little lady, it is night time and that means it is time for you to settle down.” I then placed her back on my chest, and she continued to fuss. Freddy came down off of the sofa, picked up one of her soft chew toys, brought it over, and and placed it on my chest. Luci immediately began chewing it and very soon fell asleep. I praised Freddy for being such a good big brother. His response was to look at me as if to say, “It was not rocket science, you moron.” He then went back up onto the sofa to sleep until bedtime.
Last night we were all in the kitchen/living room area, me watching a series I had recorded and Rod was searching Youtube on his iPad. Freddy was laying on the floor by Rod and Milo and Luci were tussling on the kitchen floor. Suddenly Luci began to screech. She obviously got hurt. Rod scooped her up and the other dogs were jumping up to get to her. I needed to get to Luci to check her out and swatted the dogs away. We found that she was bleeding and her face got scraped, obviously by accident, on one of Milo’s teeth. We cleaned her up and got her calmed down. Milo was showing signs of complete regret and just stayed away and cuddled with Rod. Freddy, on the other hand, came up onto the love seat with Luci and me and gently sniffed her up and down. He was very concerned for her well-being. So concerned that he was shaking and his teeth were chattering. The poor fella was in a panic of his own. All of them got calmed down and settled in for a night’s sleep. Fortunately the wound on Luci was superficial. And this morning Milo was very tentative about playing with her, not wanting to risk harming her again. When they did play a bit this afternoon, although Luci wanted to really get into it, Milo kept it all quite chill.
You can tell from how they respond to her and how they care for her and adapt their behaviors, that these two boys absolutely love Luci. Since last night, Freddy has not grumbled whenever Luci has sniffed around him. In fact, he allows it and just watches her attentively. She tried to get him to play, but he is not ready for that yet. But man are they cuddling when they are napping! It is like one big dog ball of three dogs and curled into one another. All in all, despite the disruption last night, I would say that our entire family has been enriched by the presence of this teeny tiny critter. And I can see how all of us are now willing to do anything…ANYTHING…for the love of Luci.
*Note: Luci did have another vet appointment recently and got checked out. Her face is fine. The vet said that this sort of thing often happens when dogs play, with no intended malice. This beautiful little girl has all four of us dudes completely wrapped around her little paw!