Whippet Adoption Story: Dolly's Forever Home
Dolly found her forever home with us as a two year old. She was rescued by WRAP and had been waiting a year in a foster home just for us. Her foster-mom wouldn't let this sweet girl go just anywhere, and told us she wouldn't make up her mind until she saw us with Dolly. We drove three states away, and within 10 minutes of meeting, Dolly was in my lap on the couch, and everyone knew she was going home with us.
The rest of the story is that Dolly had yet to meet our cat. But before we get there, you need to know that I'd trained, raised, bred, showed dogs for most of my life. Many breeds, many stories. All unique. Now at 60+ years and living in Florida, my dog companion needs are different. So I did a lot of research on breeds, narrowing it to a Whippet, and knowing that I was going to adopt a rescued dog. Dog, bitch, age, didn't make a lot of difference. Even some habits, since I'm a pretty positive trainer. Personality did make a difference. The whippets I met in my search convinced me.
But Whippets are sighthounds with a natural urge to chase. What about my cat, who was also a rescue, and had a tough two years before she joined our home. Now of course she ruled the house...strictly a house cat. And she was not declawed. Multiple potential problems...right?!?! So after much research and soul searching, and discussion with my Vet, we were prepared for the meeting of dog and cat, and prepared to take the step of having our cat de-clawed if necessary...but that is a major surgery amputation that none of us were looking forward to.
So......how do you successfully integrate a 3-year old cat, who had never been exposed to a dog, with a 2 year old Whippet that only had had exposure to outdoor cats that were a game to chase on the other side of the fence. Carefully and slowly. Each were given their own private space, food (and litter box) was kept completely separate from each.....we installed a door-gate with a small cat door in it so the cat could have her litter box & food area never contaminated by the dog.......those gates are the greatest invention----so worth the cost. When we weren't home both were crated & kept in separate rooms. The dog always wore a collar and leash in the house with us, while the cat walked around, until she proved in short order she could have cared less about the cat. The dogs interest was humans. But it was the cat's house first, which I believe is the most successful approach. We didn't let either one be threatened by the other.
Now days, Dolly will walk up to the cat and give her a lick......to which the cat shakes her head and looks at me like "ick---dog lips". Both want to be on my lap, on the couch, just depends who gets there first.
It's a happy forever home for all of us!