Moose and his Next Best Friend

We have started the search to find Moose his next best friend. Sadly and very unexpectedly, Willow passed away last week. We'd discussed getting a 3rd dog occasionally over the last year because we felt like Moose would do best when there is always someone home to keep him company but we never did it. So now we are looking for his next best friend.

Moose has separation anxiety. When we first adopted him 3 years ago, the transition from his foster home to ours was a little rough. We didn't realize how bad his anxiety was until we'd left him alone with the run of the house and he ruined two window blinds and he shut himself in the laundry room while trying to get to his food bin. Once he realized he was trapped, he tried to claw his way out. For several weeks after that, we didn't leave him alone. When we leave now, he stays in the front part of our house where he is able to see outside and this seems to work for him.

Willow and Moose got along fine but she was more independent. Moose is my shadow. He is always wherever I am. In his foster home, he slept on the same bed as one of the other dogs. We've always said he'd like a dog that would like to curl up with him. That wasn't Willow.

So, how do you go about finding that dog? We are trying to figure that out.

I've contacted several rescue groups in the area and filled out their online applications. Most rescues are made up of volunteers and since it is just a couple of days before Christmas, I've not heard back from several of them. However one of them, Mutts N' Mugz got back to me right away. 

I saw Finn, a 3-4 year old black lab and his face and his bio caught my attention. Their process is to have the dogs meet at a neutral location so we met outside of PetSmart in north Charlotte yesterday. 

Finn is adorable and a lover. Don and I loved him. He sat nicely and leaned up against our legs when we pet him. He watched every person who walked by to see if they were going to stop and pet him. He might like attention from people more than Moose and that's saying a lot.

Finn was great with Moose. They sniffed each other a lot. As we stood around talking though, Moose kept really sniffing Finn. He wouldn't stop and then he'd lick his back. Eventually he started posturing as if he might try to mount him. Finn's foster was great at redirecting Finn. I had a hard time trying to redirect Moose once he got this way. 

Moose has a couple of really bad habits. The worst is one that scares me. He can be territorial when it comes to his toys and his ball. If he has something he thinks is his (i.e. he finds an apple core while I'm walking him... which for some reason happens more often than it should), he WILL NOT drop it. If I try to grab it and take it from him, he clamps down harder. If my fingers are in his mouth, he will still clamp down. Most dogs will let go, he doesn't. He has never tried to bite me but if he has something in his mouth that he thinks is his, he will not give it up.

Because I know this about him, his posturing around Finn bothered me. This is where I don't have enough "dog knowledge" or experience to know what he is doing and why he is doing it. Finn growled at Moose a couple of times to let Moose know he'd had enough and Moose stopped. Moose didn't react by growling back or show any other negative behavior. I was also trying to redirect Moose though. Nothing ever escalated between them at all... Moose never growled but the foster mom and I were always redirecting the dogs. 

Finn had every right to growl and let Moose know he'd had enough. Moose was being obnoxious. I know dogs will be dogs and that they generally work things out but this is where I am not a great dog mom. I get anxious. I know the dogs can sense that. I need to work on staying calm.

Willow and Moose never scuffled. Ever. Even with toys out. Willow liked toys and Moose would steal hers occasionally and she always let him. She never tried to take his toys. That's what they'd worked out, like dogs do. They figure that stuff out.

Moose has never been aggressive towards other dogs we see when we are out walking. He's never been aggressive period. But the posturing bothered me. 

The foster suggested that we introduce Moose to a lot of new dogs. See if he does the same thing or if by chance it was just this situation. Maybe it's because Finn is a male. She also said he might actually be worse with females though. Maybe it's because we had them both leashed up and after 10-15 minutes of just standing around, Moose got bored. I don't know.

I think her advice was great and that's what I'm going to plan to do.

Moose may end up being an only dog... we shall see. I don't think he will really... I think he would love to have another dog to cuddle with, we just have to find that dog. Maybe it's Finn. Right now, I just don't know. Finn... are you supposed to be Moose's next best friend? Or is it supposed to be Poppy, Shadow or one of the other dog's I've seen online?

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