Drum roll please… Bailey and I are formally introducing Olivia the Beagle. Nearly 3 weeks ago Bailey became the big sister (and I do mean BIG compared to Olivia) to the most endearing and petite Beagle. Both of us could not be happier. Olivia was part of a rescue transport of Beagles that came from Oklahoma. We agreed to foster her, but after a couple of weeks we officially made her part of the family.
Olivia is my first small dog after having Dobermans, Labs, German shepherds and a couple of Rottweiler mixes. I intentionally looked for a small dog because I wanted to be able to lift the pup when we both got old(er). I also needed a sturdy little dog with enough energy to keep up with Bailey.
When we met Olivia, Bailey and I both knew she fit the whole package. She is a young dog with just the right amount of pep and the sweetest (with a bit of stubborn tossed in) disposition. And as an added bonus she likes my two cats.
Bailey and I welcomed Olivia the Beagle with open paws and arms. We also welcomed the fact that life was about to change. After all, there are challenges in a household with a large gangly dog and a short-legged shrimp.
Our learning curve has been steep as we discovered:
- Tug-of-war games need modification: In the past I’ve handed one end of a rope to each of my large dogs and they had tons of fun pulling and tugging each other. When I gave Olivia her end of the rope Bailey pulled her all over the house. We have modified the game so that Olivia and I are teammates tugging together against Bailey.
- A walk for one dog is a jog for another: Bailey and I go for a walk every day with our neighbor and her 108lb Rottweiler named Diesel. All three dogs are getting along famously, but we noticed that while we are taking a leisurely morning stroll, Olivia’s little legs have to run to keep up with the pack. We have started to take a short break for her.
- Tiny quantities of food are eaten quickly: Bailey’s meals consist of 1 ½ cups of food for breakfast and for dinner. I was told to give Olivia no more than ½ cup of food at each meal. It is such a small quantity that I have to give Bailey a head start on her meals so Olivia doesn’t walk over and help herself to Bailey’s dinner.
- Portable steps are necessary: Olivia is a tiny bit overweight so jumping onto furniture like the couch and the bed are challenging. We now have portable steps for her.
- Treats should not be as big as a dog’s head: Bailey has a strong need to chew so I have a fully stocked cabinet of chewy and crunchy treats and digestible bones. Some of these chews and bones are larger than Olivia’s head. To help her I have started breaking them into little pieces. I also thought it would be a good idea to let Bailey try some tiny bite-sized treats that are great for Olivia. I discovered that Bailey needs to eat the whole bag in order to get just one mouthful. At this point we are going for separate, but equal treats.
- Extra-small harness and leash: Olivia came to us with a bright red leash that was only 4ft long. It was impossible to walk Bailey on her long, leather leash while walking Olivia on a lead that was several feet shorter. So we have now outfitted Olivia with a feminine pink and silver harness and the appropriate size leash.
During the next few weeks I plan to share more about Olivia’s new life. Like Bailey, I plan for Olivia to be a spokesdog for the products we love and review on this blog. That means learning some commands and how to pose for pictures.
I’ll also be sharing updates about Olivia’s health. Since arriving at our home we noticed that she walks slower than a 1 ½ year-old dog should and she practically sits on her knees to pee. At first I thought she must be older than the rescue group was told so I had her examined. She was given a clean bill of health. I continued to worry about the situation so yesterday Olivia went for a second opinion where they found some weakness in her lower back. She was put on medication and we return in ten days for a follow up exam. I will share an update when I get more information. Keep your fingers crossed!
In the meantime, I am very happy to be introducing Olivia the Beagle.