I adopted Quinn just after Thanksgiving 2010, and have been her human for the 6 months since. From day 1, she has been energetic, excited, and highly inquisitive. She can frequently be found exploring (with her mouth) and has occasionally outsmarted me with her extraordinary focus and problem-solving skills. Once Quinn targeted the kitchen trashcan as a source of entertainment, she quickly learned to force open the concave push-top, effectively inserting her head and pulling the bin over. Determined to thwart her efforts, I replaced it with a lock-top trashcan and weighted the bottom. She promptly figured out that if she could jump high enough, she could scramble onto the top and use it as a step stool and make her way onto the kitchen counter! Needless to say, I have since relocated the trashcan and it has lost its entertainment value.
Subsequently, Quinn has taken up playing tug-o-war over her frisbee and rope toys and also loves wrestling with her dog pals at the dog park and at Sunny Acres doggy day camp. Additionally, Quinn is working on overcoming her anxiety and developing impulse control with the brilliant help of her trainer Jane Marshall. Quinn and I have also started an agility fundamentals class and she accompanies me on my morning jog. On top of that, she tags along on outings to the pet store, office supply store, pharmacy, assorted drive-thrus, and even has permission to come into the Indian restaurant we frequent for take-out. While we are fairly active, it is such a joy to settle down with Quinn in the evenings and snuggle together while reading or watching television. I absolutely adore Quinn and feel that she is the perfect dog for me.
However, that was most certainly not always the case during our first few weeks together. When I brought Quinn home, she was completely unskilled, unable to settle, and in general a little terror. She is my first dog, so I was relatively unsure how to proceed and was frequently reduced to labeling her as unmanageable and nearly returning her to the shelter. With some support, training, and time, Quinn and I have developed a strong bond and now, at 6 months post-adoption, I have trouble imagining life without her (especially since she is angelically dozing on the couch next to me as I am writing : ). Therefore, while this is a story of Quinn’s happy ending, I would also like to highlight that it was a very rocky beginning. I urge anyone who has recently adopted and is experiencing similar struggles to persevere because their relationship with their dog can absolutely evolve into an incredibly rewarding bond like the one shared between Quinn and me.
Thank you to all of the Durham APS staff, volunteers, and especially Jane for the great effort and empathy they invest in all of the animals that pass through the shelter. Quinn and I both applaud their selfless work and great accomplishments.