Monday, September 26, 2011

Update on Charlie boy

We've had our sweet little Charlie for about 6 weeks or so and he is doing so well in his new family. Introducing him to his brothers and sister was a slow process, one in which we had to practice much patience. For about 2 weeks Charlie stayed in our guest bathroom. You may think this seems cruel but we wanted him to adjust to a small space before we let him loose in our entire house. Several times a day we would go in his room and play with him but he never came out of his room. After we played with him we would go sit down on our couch and let our other animals smell Charlie on us. They were very curious of the new smells coming from the bathroom and the new "meows" they heard.

This intro period is very important not to overload Charlie but also not to overload the other three animals. We made sure we give our pets lots of love and extra attention and treats so they would know we were not neglecting them. We would let each one of our pets sniff under the door to Charlie's room to check out their new brother. After about a week of smelling under the door, we would crack the bathroom door and let their paws and noses touch. There was some initial hissing on Hazel's part but it became less and less over time. Several nights we would put Charlie in his kennel and sit in out in the middle of our living room. All three of the animals would smell, sniff and yes, hiss at the Charlie and the kennel. But this stage of introduction is very important. It is crucial to let the pets already in the home get to know the new pet with some sort of barrier between them. Do not just throw them in a room together! I repeat do NOT!

After two weeks of this process, I would take Charlie out, holding him in my arms and let each of the dogs and Hazel sniff Charlie. The would rub noses, lick and do a little more sniffing all while I am holding Charlie. We did this process for several days, several times a day until they all became less anxious and there was a lot less hissing going on from Hazel.

Finally the day came when we put Charlie on the ground and let him go in our house with NO other animals around. He explored and climbed and sniffed. It was glorious! He was in heaven. Then we let one animal out at a time in the house to explore and play with him so he was not overwhelmed. Because the other animals had been introduced to Charlie at such a gradual pace, this last phase of introduction was not traumatic for them in the least bit. Actually we were shocked at how well everyone got along, especially Conner.
I mean seriously have you seen anything cuter? I think the introduction period went pretty well, don't you think? :)