A week ago yesterday, I woke up and prayed for one of two things: either for my dogs to start getting along or for Nia to find a new home. A couple hours later I was leaving Nia in the care of a kind twenty-something young man and his mom. They said they’d give it a week. Yesterday he confirmed: Nia is his dog.
She lives in a home with no other dogs and is doted on. If I could have chosen a perfect home for Nia, this is what this home would look like. Granted, there have been hiccups over the past week and I wasn’t sure if they would want to keep her and I think he was afraid that I would take Nia back.
Here’s how the whole story happened.
I thought keeping Nia and Clara separate would help things, but it only escalated. Nia got to the point that if she was inside and Clara outside (or vice versa), her only objective was to find Clara and attack. Out of defense (and later I realized fear) Clara would attack first in order to keep Nia from attacking her from behind. Sometimes blood was shed. Most of the time it was just a lot of noise. All of the time there was stress.
Why this started, I don’t know. Nia and Clara used to be friends, cuddling together when it was cold, playing together, etc. Then we hit the week where it was constantly 9 degrees and sometime during that week Nia decided she hated Clara. At first it was just to get attention (i.e. they only squabbled when I was around), then it turned to full-blown war. Luna, having experienced Nia’s wrath in the past, sided with Nia and the two of them would gang up on Clara every chance they got. Buddy, my blessed baby boy, often helped me separate the girls, sometimes grabbing Nia by the tail and dragging her outside for a timeout while I put Clara in a timeout.
I employed every tactic I knew how and even researched on how to stop this. All the while tension simmer just below the surface. Oddly enough, the times that should have been most stressful–dinner time–was the most relaxed time of the day. For ten blissful minutes, the girls forgot about their war and ate. I was hopeful. I mean, if mealtime is peaceful, then this could be fixed.
One day–I don’t recall how long ago–after Nia couldn’t get to Clara, she tried to pick a fight with Molly. I realized that there was something wrong with Nia.
I wanted to fix her. I wanted to fix her; I wanted to fix this…no one else. I wasn’t giving up MY dog. She was mine. I spent the last year getting her to the point where people could pet her and she wouldn’t pee on the floor. I spent the last year teaching her how to share her toys. I had put in all that work. I wasn’t getting rid of my dog.
But no one was happy, least of all Clara and Nia. The tension did something to them. It changed them. These were not my dogs and I realized that something had to give. So that’s what led me to pray that day. My dogs weren’t happy and that made me sad.