Creating an everlasting bond
Interview by Melanie Dziengo
The relationship between a dog and its human is a strong, everlasting bond. In fact, one dog parent, Jennifer Chambers, considers the bond between her and her dog, Casper, whom she adopted in 2014, to be a “soul contract,” saying Casper chose her. Read on to find out more about the bond between the two, and see what makes Casper special.
Did you know right away upon seeing Casper at an adoption pet fair, that you wanted to adopt him? How did you know that he was the right one for you?
I adopted him from SPCA Montérégie who were at an adoption fair in Hudson, Que. on June 14, 2014. He was the first dog I encountered at the fair, but he was a little nonchalant and walked away from me while I was trying to pet him, so I thought “okay, he’s not really interested!”
It was when they started to introduce the dogs during a fashion runway show style - he was the only one who was small and used to cats, which was important as I live in an apartment, and had a cat at the time. So, I went to the desk, and asked if I could foster to adopt to see if he and the cat could coexist. I think I called the next day to say that I was keeping him.
How did you introduce your cat and Casper? Did it take long for them to get used to each other?
She was quite aloof, and Casper was fascinated and chased her all the time, so she would hide under the pillows. She was always under the pillows anyway.
We got a fence to separate half the apartment, and we would switch sides where they stayed so they could smell the other. Slowly we removed the fence and they tolerated each other.
How would you describe Casper's personality and temperament?
He is calm and affectionate, very receptive to me, and he is quite smart too! I have a slight issue with separation anxiety in that he howls and barks when I leave, but only for about 5 to 10 minutes. I'm a homebody so I didn't really address it other than giving him a Kong filled with treats when I leave. It’s a love hate thing I guess; he loves the liver but hates that it means I'm leaving!
Is there anything that makes Casper special or different from other dogs?
Well, all dog moms think their dogs are special! He’s just the best companion. I think all dogs are special, and they develop a bond that is unique with their owner(s). I believe it's a soul contract, and that he chose me in a way.
Is he used to his surroundings now? How long did it take him to get used to his environment?
Yes, he is used to his surroundings. There is a learning curve, but it wasn't very long. If you are consistent with routine, it makes it easier to adapt. Casper was pretty good with the adaptation, but I would say that his personality really started showing after a year or so. It was a very gradual thing. Casper’s personality emerged slowly (I think it's from the routine and repetition of words, they start to understand you and your tone). I was very stable in my routine, which I would think instills a sense of security, and that is very important as his whole life up to now had changed.
What’s your favourite story about Casper that you can share?
He lets us know when his water bowl is empty by standing in front of the shower or looking or jumping into the bathtub, and then looking back at us and stares at us intently. It’s so funny, and I love it!
What lessons have you learned about adopting a dog that you want others to know before they adopt?
People are scared to adopt, thinking that the dog will have problems. I don't think it's the case in the majority of times. Dogs need structure, routine, and gentle discipline, just like kids. A lot of dogs are surrendered because they have too much energy, or are a handful, and people are not educated enough in “dog." They all need exercise, love and structure. With that, they can become model dogs! People get dogs not according to their lifestyle and, sometimes, that creates a clash.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in adopting a pet from a rescue?
DO IT! People think that dogs in shelters are “broken," but, with structure and good exercise you will see the dog transform. They need a solid routine. Repetition is key.