Throwback Thursday: Getting a New Routine: Morning Snuggles

When I brought Rugby home on December 1, 2007, I knew that he would need some adjustment time as all dogs do when they come to a new home.  Although he was my first rescue dog, I was a professional dog trainer, and had trained many rescues.  I knew that Rugby would need at least thirty to sixty days to settle in and learn a new routine and new rules for our pack.  At this point in time, I had no idea how many previous homes that he had had, so I really was unaware of his trust issues at this point in time.

He had met me at his foster home and seemed to be just fine with me.  He was more interested in his foster mom, but she had been his world for the previous six to eight weeks, so that seemed pretty normal to me.  He didn’t have any difficulty having me handle him, and was willing to come to me and play with me just fine.  But unlike many rescue puppies that I train, he wasn’t all over me to get attention from me.  He wanted attention from his foster mom, and made it clear to me that she was the one he cared about!

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Rugby’s first night. He looks so scared….

When I brought him home, I had a crate waiting for him in the living room where he would sleep at night.  We had a good sized living room, with a fairly open floor plan, so the first floor of the house was perfect for him as he settled into a new home.  The bedrooms were all upstairs, but so were our two kitties, and we wanted to keep the peace, so during the day, Rugby got the downstairs, and the kitties got the upstairs….until Rugby was crated for the night.  Then, the kitties got to roam the entire house, which I’m very sure that they loved.  They had staked out their places to sleep on the sofa and recliner before Rugby came to live with us, so despite having a new dog in the house, they still got to have their favorite places to sleep as much as we could arrange it for them.

Oreo loved to fold into a recliner
Oreo loved to fold into a recliner
Smudge loved the sofa...or the recliner if it was available!
Smudge loved the sofa…or the recliner if it was available!

To help Rugby settle in more easily and quickly, I knew I wanted to set up some simple, consistent patterns of fun and security for him.  I knew I wanted him to understand that he would get fed consistently, have access to water, have toys that were his alone, daily walks, play time in the yard and house both, and times when I would train him and, of course, snuggle him.

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He LOVED this little squeaky toy!!

Keep in mind that Rugby was an older puppy of eight to nine months when he came home with me on that mild December day in 2007.  I have no idea of his background, and I honestly don’t think that he was ever abused, but was likely neglected….based upon the behavior that I was to see as he settled into our home.  He truthfully made a pretty seamless transition into our home, and settled into the rhythm of my life so easily.  Sadly, I think he had learned that skill in order to survive well in so many different homes prior to ours.

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The only puppy photo I have of Rugby

One of my very favorite early memories of Rugby when he was new in our home was our morning routine together.  I always got up early, and came downstairs in my pjs and robe to get Rugby going for the day.  I leashed him up, took him outside to potty, and then brought him in and fed him breakfast, which he inhaled in mere seconds!

Because it was still early, and not really being a morning person, I wasn’t ready to really wake up…hence the pjs and bathrobe!  After Rugby’s breakfast, I would get a Nylabone for him, and he would lay on the sofa, his front half on my lap, his back half next to me, and he happily chewed and chewed. I petted him and loved on him while he gnawed away, and from time to time, he would look up at me with those gorgeous eyes of his, and I wondered if he was happy in his new home, and liked having me as his new mama.  After a few minutes,  we both got a bit sleepy, and I would lay on the sofa, and rather than sleep on the floor or at the far end of the sofa, Rugby always snuggled right behind my knees, chewing away for just a bit longer, or often propping his chin on my legs and taking a morning nap with me.

Rugby baby pic
I often held the Nylabone initially to get him interested in chewing…

 

I remember those special moments like they were yesterday.  It’s how we bonded together.  I was already crazy in love with him, but I think that all of those early morning snuggles helped him to fall in love with me.  I can’t honestly imagine just how scared he really had to feel with yet one more new home and new human to adjust to….all at such a tender age.

No one else in the house was awake, so there was no competition for either one of us.  We simply had each other….a girl and her dog, and a dog and his girl.  And for those moments in time….which seemed to last forever every morning….nothing else really mattered to either one of us.

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Comments

    • Sally says

      Awww....so glad my post was able to touch your heart, Lisa! These are the things I love to write about, because it's just the simple, everyday things that mean the most when it comes right down to it. These are the things that we miss when they're gone. <3

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    • Sally says

      Thanks so much, Ruth! You are absolutely correct that memories can't be erased, and memories like this one always make me smile....<3

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    • Sally says

      Thanks, Nichole! I struggle with photography, and putting the photos into a post is always the hardest part of the process for me!! I LOVE morning snuggles with Rugby to this day, but they look a bit different than in the extra special early days of our lives together! <3

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    • Sally says

      Thanks so much for reading and for your sweet comments! I have a hard time with photos, and struggle with choosing the right ones to include in a post. I love your quote and it is so very true, isn't it? <3

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  1. says

    Rugby is so cute and reminds me of my childhood dog, Brutus. Their personalities also sound very similar. I love your memories of bonding in the morning on the couch. I am a morning and one of the reasons I enjoy getting up early before the rest of my human family is up - is so I can some quiet time with my animals. It's a great way to start the day.

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    • Sally says

      I completely agree that there's something so very special about enjoying those quiet morning moments together....before the craziness and chaos of the day begins!! If Brutus was anything like my Rugby James, he was a remarkable dog!! But then....I think all dogs really are remarkable...just in different ways! 😀

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  2. says

    I love this story! It sounds like Rugby ended up in the perfect home. Reminds me a little of when we got our Eddie. He was an older puppy, possibly even a year old. We didn't know his history and it took him a little while to settle in. Rugby is absolutely adorable and I'm so glad she found you!

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    • Sally says

      So glad you enjoyed this post! I think in my heart, I love telling stories. They are the glue that just make up our lives, and getting those memories on paper for me to cherish really feeds my soul. Sharing those memories and moments with others feeds my heart! Eddie is such a cute name for a dog, and I'm so glad you were able to make things work to give him a great home! <3

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  3. says

    This is such a sweet story! I can just picture you and Rugby snuggled in each morning, learning to love each other....it is so heartwarming. ♥

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    • Sally says

      Thanks for reading, Jan! Glad you liked this post. I think at my very heart, I'm a story teller, and these are the things I really like to write about...everyday life with a little dog who has changed my world!! <3

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  4. Jane says

    Such a sweet story of Rugby's arrival and initial days in his forever home. It's always wonderful to here about happy endings! Might I add Rugby is quite the cutie ❤

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    • Sally says

      Hi Jane! Thanks so much for reading and for your kind comment! Glad you liked the post! Rugby definitely got his happy ending at my house, after many failed attempts in others. He really is a very cute dog who has such a big personality for being 23 pounds!!

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    • Sally says

      Rugby thrives on routine! He appreciates predictability in his life! I have no idea why he was recycled so many times. My guess is that it was because he is highly reactive and also high energy. People adopted him because he's so cute, but they couldn't live with his wacky behavior!! Glad Mr. N settled in so easily for you! He's just adorable!!

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    • Sally says

      Thanks, Mary! Rugby has been the hardest dog I've ever trained!! He's like an autistic child covered in fur! He thrives on routine and predictability, and I try hard to keep his world manageable for him. Snuggles are definitely his love language, and those early days really helped him transition well. So glad you liked the post! Thanks for reading and commenting! 😀

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