When we were putting together the photobook to send over for Odette we asked for the translation of dog. We had heard that often times kids from the Congo have fears of dogs and other animals because they aren’t kept as pets in that country, but we still were hoping to include a picture or two of our first baby. After being reminded of their common fear of animals by our agency we decided against including a picture of Briscoe.
Before Odette was home we speculated a lot about how the two of them might get along. Briscoe was our spoiled first love and his behavior reflects that. Sad, but true. We took him to puppy school, but just played around with the cute tricks and didn’t focus on any of the obedience. He jumps on people, begs for food, sleeps with us. Ya know, all that stuff they told us not to let him do.
How would Odette take to that? And, how would Briscoe take to no longer being the ruler of the house?
While we were in Congo we actually saw several dogs. There is a dog kept on the grounds of St. Anne’s and while we didn’t see it, we heard it when we were out and about. Odette didn’t seem to be afraid of the barks. We saw a cat on the grounds and always made sure to point it out to Odette. Driving through Kinshasa there were a number of dogs out and about and Odette never jumped into my arms and screamed in terror. She really didn’t seem to give them any attention.
One of things we took with us to Congo was a baby’s first words book. In it was a picture of a puppy. We called it puppy and gave our best bark to show her. When we heard the barks outside we again said puppy and barked. We had a couple pictures stored on our phone of Briscoe. Again puppy and bark.
Her first real interaction with a dog was in security at the Brussels Airport. We were going through security and what I assume was a bomb detecting dog came strolling over. Like always, we pointed it out. She looked at it cautiously, but didn’t show any real fear. We called it puppy and breathed a sigh of relief that she didn’t freak.
Our awesome friends (Thanks Jen and Erik!) watched Briscoe for us while we were gone, and they treated him like royalty. (We even got pictures of him out for ice cream!) We asked them to keep him a couple extra days after we were home so that we could get Odette adjusted to her new house before we sprung a dog on her. We showed her more pictures and even a video we took of us walking him. Our thought was that she might see that he obeyed us and our interaction with him.
The time arrived two days after she was home for the big meeting. Jeff greeted Briscoe in the backyard and after a few minutes I carried Odette out. She cried out a tiny bit when she saw him, but was fine in my arms. I pet Briscoe. Jeff pet Briscoe. We loved on Briscoe. Then we tried to take Odette hand and have her pet Briscoe. She pulled her hand back so fast! Briscoe was on a leash and we walked him around a bit while I held Odette. She did NOT want to get put down.
After some more playing and loving on Briscoe we were able to put Odette down. We handed her the leash and she reached to pet him. As we’ve learned, everything has to be on HER terms. Since then they have slowly gotten closer.
She feeds him food, especially her beloved popcorn. She gives him drinks of her bath water. She splashes him with kiddie pool water. She pets him. She talks to him. She runs with him in the backyard. She throws balls to him.
She doesn’t like when he chases her. She doesn’t like when he runs to door when we get home (thankfully, he doesn’t jump on her). She doesn’t like when he sits on our lap. She doesn’t like to share her blanket with him. They aren’t best friends. Yet.
Strangely enough, Briscoe listens to her when she yells sit at him. We could have used her years ago!