I have been missing Otis a lot the past three weeks. His new dad stays in touch with happy updates, questions, silly pictures, etc. – which I absolutely love. One day in between pictures of Otis stealing pillows and stories of his other silly antics, R brought up that I should come visit.
Of course I wanted to visit Otis. I’ve been wanting to see him since ten minutes after he got adopted. But I know he’s in a sensitive transition time, and I don’t want to confuse him or mess up his progress. R continually assured me that he thought Otis would be fine because he had adjusted so well and seemed pretty settled in. I agreed to stop by exactly three weeks after Otis went to this new home.
I was still torn on how I wanted the visit to go. Selfishly, I wanted Otis to be as excited to see me as he always has been – but a more sensible side of me wanted the opposite. You see, when Otis was with me last summer I watched him interact with his previous owner after I’d had him for about two weeks. He acted like he had never met that person in his life; he was totally indifferent towards him. I took this to mean that Otis could only be attached to one person at a time. Therefore, if he was very happy to see me when I visited him, I was worried it would mean he wasn’t attached to R yet. So I was ready for anything.
When I stopped by, R and Otie were in the garage working on cars. As I walked up, Otis started to act like he would if I was a stranger: backing up, some barking – I’d seen it all before. I crouched down and said, “Hi you big scary guard dog,” and that is when he recognized me – and totally lost it. He went ballistic and was so excited to see me, just like before. In that moment, I was the happiest foster mom of all time. Here was my foster dog, who I have been missing so much, acting like he’s missed me just the same. It was amazing. Then, my fears about Otie’s adjustment were extinguished as Otis ran up to R as if he were saying, “Look who came to visit!” It was the cutest thing of all time.
The reunion explosion continued for about five minutes and ended with Otis running back and forth between me and R in excitement. We took the party into R’s place and posted up on the couch. Otis immediately plopped himself in between us, doing his usual overbearing face-kissing routine alternatively to me and R. R and I caught up and talked about all things Otis, while Otie finally settled down and snuggled up between us.
If I could have written up the best outcome for a post-adoption visit with Otis, this would have been it. I got to see for myself just how happy he is with R. They are such a great pair, going everywhere and doing everything together. R seems to have become just as attached as I was (yay! yay! yay!).
In fact, there were a few things that stood out, showing just how secure Otis now feels around R. He’s doing zoomies and he’s being brave enough to meet (and play with!) the shy little dog next door.
One of the best indications of progress is how much obedience training he and R have been working on together – and they haven’t even gone to a class yet. R has gotten Otis very good at focusing on him, and they’re mastering many of the basics. R has even taught Otis how to catch treats in his mouth. This may seem like a no brainer for a dog, but let me tell you – Otis really struggled with this when he was with me. It just didn’t occur to him to catch the treat, and would let it hit him in the head every single time. Look at how well he and R work together (disclaimer: the usual squealing occurs in this video):
I’m beyond glad that I listened to R and went to visit Otis. I got to experience the best of both worlds: Otis recognized me, and yet he very clearly loves his new life.
Reason #7038334 to foster!