Little Momo has had a rough (or more appropriately, RUFF) day. Her best buddy, her companion in play, her alley in merriment, went to his forever home. While we always celebrate the delight of one of our animal friends getting their much deserved forever homes, saying goodbye is hard. So I know how Momo feels. I too will miss seeing little Nolan’s sweet Shih Tzu face. His big soulful eyes and quirky mannerisms will be remembered fondly. For Momo, her favorite part of friendship with Nolan was the way he would romp around the playroom with her. These two sweet, smooshed face pooches just got each other! It was an instant friend connection.
These sort of friend connections are not uncommon in the playroom. Little friendship cliques happen. Often, it is easy to understand why certain animals end up in friend groups together. When we had a lot of puppies, they all understandably gravitated to each other and created a wild posse of playful puppies. Now, we only have one puppy left. All of her sisters, brothers and puppy friends found their forever home, but little Harper is still searching. Luckily, she has got the companionship of Oswald. Oswald really is still a puppy himself. He is only around ten months old. These two friends vary greatly in size, but their outlook on life is the same. To sum it up, their joint motto seems to be: Life is meant to be fun, so let’s play!
Other friend groups happen because the members have all been here at ECPR longer than the rest of the crew. Josephine, Madonna, Santos and Knight Rider are in their own clique. These four dogs have been part of the Emerald City Pet Rescue group longer than most of the other dogs. So of course a bond will be formed. As much love as they get from everyone at ECPR, it is probably hard to watch the other dogs find homes while they remain. But they find solace in each other’s friendship. It is so darling to watch these four tumble around and frolic with each other. Below are the four members of the old timers crew. Madonna is the beautiful scruffy terrier. Santos is the copper red chihuahua. Josephine is the one with the big, open mouthed grin and Knight Rider is the shiny black dog with a contemplative expression on his face.
Pixie is also an informal member of the old timers dog clique. Pixie was a long time resident of ECPR before charming the heart of kennel attendant Jayme, who is now Pixie’s forever mom. But lucky Pixie still gets to visit all her friends when she goes to work with Jayme. When Pixie was a resident of ECPR, she would always be my go-to dog when introducing new dogs to the crew. She has such an ingratiating personality. She wants to be friends with everyone! Sometimes it seemed like she understood the new dogs didn’t feel comfortable yet and she would go out of her way to invite them to play with her. She is a little lady with manners! Pixie was here before Josephine, Madonna, Santos and Knight Rider. Maybe they all remember her welcoming them to ECPR and this is why she so flawlessly blends back into their tight knit group during the couple of days she is at the building.
Despite the groups that form, the dogs don’t abide strictly to their own clique. There is plenty of group intermingling that happens. Dogs are so full of love and eagerness to play, they find little need for stringent social restrictions. Little Santos and Oswald had a blast chasing each other around today.
Although dogs are known for their sociability, some of our dogs prefer solitude. Sweet little Starr would much prefer bask in the glory of the passing sunshine then tussle around with other dogs in the playroom.
But other dogs haven’t yet found their group. Bardot is a more timid little lady, and she needs to feel confident before she approaches the other dogs in hopes to play. Bardot has only been her for a short while so it is understandable that she is not yet fully at ease. For now, she likes to find a comfortable spot in the playroom to observe the others.
Some dogs, however, are just bad at choosing their playmates. Graceful Chuco (who is as cute as a little lamb) is absolutely smitten with Monterey. Monterey the inquisitive Schnauzer does not feel the same about Chuco. Monterey is a good sport, so he will put up with Chuco’s constant attention, but often I find myself redirecting Chcuo’s attention away from tolerant Monterey.
Chuco has shown such amazing growth since joining ECPR. When he first got here, he was incredibly shy and nervous. But now he runs around with head held high as he parades around the playroom. He may be choosing the wrong playmates, but the fact he is attempting to make friends is wonderful. Soon enough, he will learn to befriend someone who is just as excited to be friends with him. When this happens, sweet and patient Monterey will let out a doggy sigh of relief and go back to spending his time comfortably day dreaming.
Other dogs would much prefer to be the play-police then actually join a play group. Fluffy Foxman loves prancing around the playroom while ordering the other dogs to cease their incessant play! He runs after them and lets out a burst of raspy barks. The dogs ignore him and the kennel attendants correct him, but Foxman is determined in his mission to properly police all this play! I think Foxman’s fancy bow tie has gone to his head.
The intricate social structures of the playroom are interesting to observe. The playroom is really a great learning opportunity for the dogs. They learn to let loose and play, they learn how to read other dog’s body language and they learn appropriate ways to interact with other dogs. Oswald is a shining example of growth due to his time in the playroom. When he first got here, he was really bad and understanding the other dogs. He would be rough and tumbly with dogs who had zero interest in engaging with him. Driven by his eagerness to play, he would get in other dogs faces, much to their annoyance. He would bound around the playroom bumping into dogs left and right. But, in the short time he has been here, Oswald has made friends. He has learned how to understand if a dog wants to play with him or not. He has learned to reign in his boisterous energy in a productive way. Way to go, little Ozzie!
As for Momo, she may still have a heavy heart now that her buddy Nolan has gone home, but she has the distraction of many playful dogs to take her mind of her loss. And with a face as cute as hers, her forever home must be just around the corner.