THE STORY OF BELLA AND CHLOE
Basset hound owner Mary is one of those special dog owners who will do anything for her dogs. Her beloved Bassets all come through assorted rescue organizations. Any dog would be fortunate to spend their life with Mary. The walls of her living room are adorned with photos of her dogs from the past and present. Her home and life is full of the love that she gives to her dogs and that they give to her. This was an idyllic scene to the casual onlooker. But trouble was brewing inside this loving home.
Mary’s most recent addition to her little pack of Bassets arrived full of energy, exuberance and attitude. Chloe came into Mary’s home with her own ideas of how things should be. These ideas were not conducive to peaceful living in her new family. Chloe had a particular dislike for the other female Basset in the home named Bella who was the reigning queen. It is not uncommon for females that are close in heir-achy rank to take a major dislike to each other. They became competitors with each other in nearly all aspects of life. After the battles between them became more and more frequent and violent, it became clear to Mary that something must be done.
When I arrived at Mary’s home, I was interested to see how loving this home was. I was also interested to see how lenient this home was. Although not very tall, Basset Hounds are very large, heavy dogs. They can make an entire house rattle when launching themselves against a sliding glass door. These dogs were used to demanding from Mary when they wanted attention, when they wanted to come inside, when they wanted to eat, when they wanted to do what ever else a Basset Hound wants to do. Mary would happily comply.
But Mary was hungry for new information. She hung on my every word and understood how her role in her canine family needed to change. She embraced new ideas and soaked them up like a sponge. We worked with her dogs and saw immediate changes in their behavior. Since Chloe and Bella had developed issues with each other that were serious enough for Mary to keep them separated and Chloe was the one doing most of the damage in scrimmages with Bella, Chloe wore a muzzle while working with them together to keep everyone safe from injury. The “girls” started to chill with each other almost right away. We let them know that with Mary’s growing leadership skills, things were now going to be different. The Basset girls embraced that idea too.
(Above) Chloe showing off that cute Basset face!
(Above) Bella poses for her close-up. Her life is a much more peaceful one these days…
Mary has worked very hard with all four of her dogs, embracing a new way of relating with them. Her love and affection for them has not faded, but she now owns her home again and rules the roost. The dogs all share the same space with her again and Bella and Chloe are playing and enjoying each others company. They get daily exercise and structure with lots of love mixed in. Mary has found a peaceful way of balancing her love with leadership.
(Below) A peaceful group poses for a family portrait. This is all possible because of Mary’s devotion and willingness to make the necessary changes needed to create balance in her household.