On this New Moon I’m kicking off my new blog, announcing the beginning of my new business branding, (from KIC Coaching & Healing to The Dream Hatchery, more on that later) and officially starting my new challenge … to turn my recently adopted six-month old Heeler / Australian Shepherd / “who-knows-what-else” mix into a well-behaved member of my family. (I will also be learning WordPress, so you will see my formatting improve along with my “alpha leadership” …)
I’ll start by introducing the puppy.
Three weeks ago, as I was returning from my walk on the nearby beach, I saw a sign posted at Angel Crest Farms, “Farm Puppies”.
“Farm puppies?!” I flipped a U-ey and went back to investigate.
The owner of the puppies informed me that the pups were now six months old. “Wha? How long has that sign been up?” “Six months,” she replied. Hmmm. I wondered how I could drive past the place nearly everyday for six months and not see a sign for puppies. I could miss a sign for fresh dirt maybe, or fresh cut flowers perhaps, but puppies??? I guess I am more ready now than I was six months ago, even though I have been threatening to get a new puppy this year. Anyway, she arranged to bring two of the male puppies to meet me the following day, also informing me that one of the puppies, (the one she felt was best for me considering I needed him to fit in with our 14 year old Labradoodle mix and our cat) had the markings of a butterfly on his back. Hmmmm. Universe? Are you conspiring on my behalf?
Long story short, I couldn’t take the pup right away because I had to be out of town for a full day later in the week, so I took her number and said I’d think about it. Meanwhile, I did some research on Australian Cattle Dogs, and asked around. You need to be prepared to step into the role of the Alpha completely, said all the research. Fear and doubt came crowding in … am I ready for this? Do I have what it takes? I’ve raised well-behaved, wonderful dogs in the past, but it has been ten years since I last had a puppy and none of them required a lot of work to train. Also, my partner is fishing in Alaska, and I wanted to make sure he approved as well. “Uh oh,” was his first response when I texted him a photo of the two pups. His biggest concern was for Hank, as was mine. Our original plan was to wait until Hank was gone, but Hank continues to be quite healthy, he’s just deaf and can no longer accompany me on trail runs or walks.
Finally after hemming and hawing for a couple more days, I decided to give the puppy a trial. If Hank hated him, I just couldn’t do it. And if he passed the Hank test, but harassed the cat, I still couldn’t. Ironically, stepping into the Alpha role and stretching out of my leadership comfort zone (I prefer collaborative partnerships so I can stay under the radar) is aligned with the other growth edges in my life this year, so I knew that was another “sign from the Universe” to help me stretch and grow.
Hank accepted him right away.
The cat wouldn’t even deign to come out of her hidey-hole for four days. Finally I had a conversation with her. (I do this. All the time.) “Katniss,” I said. “That puppy is just a baby. If you tell him you’re the boss, you get to be the boss. But if you hide out down here and don’t even show your face, you’ll never even know.”
I did some introductions while the pup was in his crate and completely under my control, and by the end of the 5th day, Katniss strolled out the front door past him with her tail in the air. I breathed a sigh of relief. (And replayed The Stray Cat Strut in my head that entire day with a smile on my face.) We’ll get there. All of us. It’s just a matter of time.
Welcome to the family, Blue!