Sunday, April 24, 2011


I suppose it's time to introduce Norman.


Norman came to me as a foster from Cairn Rescue USA. He was described as a "border collie in a cairn terrier suit". He was dog aggressive, loud, and obnoxious, but would melt like butter with people. I remember the day I met him; his first foster mom brought him to the dog training facility I worked at. We wanted to do intros with my dogs on neutral turf. Norman came screaming and shrieking out of the car, ready to eat my dogs that were behind the fence.

Somehow, we worked it out and Jack, Wolfie, and Norman reached a state of tolerance that was acceptable to all. I fostered him for over a year; he was a demo dog in my classes and became a little shining star. He even made several doggy friends, including a Maltese named BeeJay who also hated other dogs. However, his involvement in off-leash playtimes with my group classes ended when he attached himself to a poor mastiff's face.

Still, he came a long way, and my mother adopted him to be a companion for her, my alzheimer's-stricken father, and our older Cairn Mugsy. Cairns tend to prefer the company of other Cairns, and despite Mugsy's reluctance, they became friends. She made her first canine friend shortly before she succumbed to various organ failures.

Fast forward to about 4 years later. Dad's disease has progressed rapidly in recent years and he was barely aware of Norman's existence. Norman still liked to sit by him and follow him, but when Dad would have a temper tantrum, Norman would often be in the way... and he got stomped. Norman's stress response is aggression... a bite occurred.

That was enough for everyone. We always knew it was a possibility that Norman would come to live at my house again, and the time had arrived. It's very sad for many reasons, not the least of which is that my mom has become very attached to him; he ended up being much more for her than my dad after all.

Someday, when it is safe for him to return, Norman can go back home. Until then, he's staying here with us. He and Wolfie have never been fully comfortable with one another, but after a couple of weeks, the posturing settled down. He has always liked Scorch, which is shocking considering how long Scorch was intact, so they're fine. He has an unhealthy love for the cat.

He did get snappy last night with Bryan and Wolfie. Again, his response to stress is aggression; yesterday, I took him to work for 2 obedience classes and then we had people over playing Kinect (lots of stomping). He snarled silently at Wolfie while sitting on the couch, and then later snapped at Bryan when Bryan told him off for sniffing a bag of Doritos. It's always an adventure in this house... but Norman will always have a home here if he needs it and overall I do think he's happy.

Awful picture, but I do have evidence of actual SNUGGLING... Scorch isn't too sure about the whole thing, but Norman wanted nothing more than to sleep next to him.

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