It’s been about six months since I adopted my dog Janey, and there’s been a lot of upheaval in her short time with me. But we are really starting to settle into a routine, so I thought I would share some updates.

When we first adopted her, she spent 90 percent of her time under the coffee table. I can only assume it made her feel safe and protected. Now I am happy to report that she is underneath tables or chairs only about 15 percent of the time, and that’s usually when new people come over.

When Janey, Juno the Cat and I moved back in with my mother about six weeks ago, I was worried about how she would make the shift from small apartment to large old farmhouse. Turns out she loves it and finds it perfectly suited to her interests of sniffing nooks and crannies, lying in patches of sunlight, napping on armchairs, running around frantically in circles and sniffing more corners.

She spends her evenings (and sometimes her afternoons) snoozing on an extra-large doggie bed in front of the fireplace. Usually, her best pal, Juno, is next to her, snoozing on her personal 2-foot-tall plastic replica of the Arc de Triomphe with a folded baby blanket on top of it. (What, your cat doesn’t have a 2-foot-tall replica of a French landmark to nap on?) Recently she saw her very first black-capped chickadee while on a walk, and she was practically paralyzed with excitement. (And probably hunger.) Janey also saw her first horse (she made an immediate U-turn and did not stop running until it was out of sight) and heard her first rooster crowing (her ears took about 15 minutes to de-perk).

There have been a few interpersonal issues to work through. She gets a little protective of the home, which isn’t a bad thing (it’s what dogs are for, after all), but she doesn’t like men, and she particularly dislikes men with beards. Unfortunately for her, she lives in Maine. You can see how this is a problem. Add that Janey sees putting on a hat or a large, puffy jacket as a threatening act, and you start to understand her stress levels.

When it comes to some things, Janey is worryingly smart, and a quick learner. Mom and I successfully taught her the command “wait,” mostly by accident. She knows if I grab the blue puffy, we’re going for a walk, but if I grab the brown leather coat, it means I’m going to the wood room.


But for all her intelligence, she hasn’t figured out that my mother’s cat Neko doesn’t want to be friends with her. Juno and Janey are friends. They like to hang out together, usually in the vicinity of my body heat; Juno loves to rub her heat against Janey (I think to mark her territory). But as soon as she gets within a 3-foot radius of Neko, Neko flees. And because Janey speaks Dog Language, not Cat Language, she thinks they are playing a fun game of chase! A lot of furniture has been knocked over as they work on their relationship.

I very much wanted Janey to be an office dog and go to work with me every day, but unfortunately I had to fire her after she wouldn’t stop barking at my boss. He’s a great boss and all, but he kept coming into my cubicle to hand me work to do, and Janey felt that was a highly dangerous and suspicious act, and reacted accordingly. So now she goes to doggy day care at a kennel four days a week. (On Wednesdays she stays home with my mom, who, despite her insistence that she was done being responsible for animals, can’t seem to stop doting on Janey. I think it’s whatever the grandmother version of “maternal instinct” is.)

The kennel is great — I can’t recommend them enough — but I was nervous when I first dropped her off. What if she thought I was taking her back to a shelter? What if she thought I was never coming back?

But the only way out is through it, so I picked her up eight hours later, and she greeted me like I had been gone at sea for seven years. And she greeted me with the same intensity the next day, and the next. It’s been a few weeks since we got into this daily drop-off schedule, and every day she is still exactly as happy to see me in the evening as she has always been. The difference is that in the morning, she’s much more excited to go into the day care door than she was on day one.

So I think we’re making progress, she and I, together.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemillennial

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