Friday, August 13, 2010

Long-Lost Furry Sisters

We had Bunni for about 2.5 years before we got Rikki.  There were many reasons for adding another pug to our family, and high on the list was getting Bunni a companion so they could play with each other and not miss us too much when we weren't home (not that we leave the apartment that much). 

Bunni and Rikki are actually littermates, but the breeder held onto Rikki for a while.  When she became available last December, we snatched her up.

Any visions I had of Rikki and Bunni greeting each other with joy and recognition of a long-lost sibling were quickly smothered when I first met Rikki at the airport (I went to pick her up by myself).  She was beyond scared and nervous, visibly shaking (we're talking petit mal seizure), and continued for a few hours until she basically passed out from exhaustion.  This was not going to be an outgoing pug ready to embrace her new home and a reunion with her sister.  I would have given her back to the breeder out of pity for Rikki except that I had already forked over the moolah so Little Miss Nervous was coming home with me no matter what.  

On the bright side, she was scared so shitless that she didn't make a fuss at all in the carrier or on the plane. She was paralyzed with terror. Nice. That's just what I wanted for her first memory of me. 

When I brought her into the apartment, she completely ignored Bunni and darted around the apartment, trying to get familiar with her new surroundings--totally understandable. When she did finally take notice of Bunni, it was to growl at her.  That did not go over well with me. (Bunni, on the other hand, didn't seem to care much.)

That first night we had her, I'll admit, I cried.  I felt like we had made a mistake.  The main reason we brought her home was that they could be friends and companions, and here Rikki was snarling at her sister. Her own flesh and blood.  Plus, at that time, my first loyalty was to Bunni, my "first-born", and so my heart just broke for her. I felt like I had ruined things for her.

One time during the first few weeks of Rikki joining us, she snapped/snarled at Bunni when Bunni tried to join me on the couch.  I immediately threw Rikki on her back (there are differing opinions as to whether putting the dog in this submissive pose works) and said "Don't you growl at my dog."  Kevin looked at me with his eyes all wide, pointed at Rikki, and said in the most shocked and indignant voice, "Rikki's your dog, too". God that little runt had Kevin wrapped around her pinky toe the second she walked through the front door.  But yes, I was definitely loyal to Bunni.

Things got slowly better, but it was definitely an adjustment, and kind of tough.  I'm not talking about training and walking and cleaning up poop, but rather the emotional aspect.  I almost felt like Rikki was an interloper, encroaching on our space.  I would look at her and think "Who are you? And why don't you get how this family works?" 

Nonetheless, after time, we all started acclimating to each other, and to my heart's joy, the pugs started playing with each other.  The first time they played with each other, again, I practically cried, because it was all I ever wanted for them two.

Now it's a solid family unit.  They're a little pair--they play with each other, follow each other's leads, and with increasing frequency I see moments like this, where Rikki will voluntarily go up to wherever Bunni is and plunk herself right up next to Bunni:

Rikki says: Bunni, you make such a good pillow

Bunni says: You make a good pillow too, little sister

United in their desire for treats

Together in surrender at not receiving treats

Then I saw the cutest thing the other day:

Rikki: I'm sleepy, aren't you sleepy?
Bunni: Yes, I'm sleepy, too. I'm always sleepy. Aren't you?
Rikki: Yes, me too.

You hold paws with me so I can fall asleep, okay?


Oh, my heart.


  1. This was just the sweetest post ever! Rikki and Bunni are such cuties. :)

  2. Oh my goodness! I feel like you're writing my life right now. We just adopted our second dog a few weeks ago, and I felt the SAME WAY! When they first met at the shelter they were fine, but the minute we signed the adoption papers our first dog decided she HATED the new one, and they fought the whole first day. I too went to bed crying thinking I'd made a horrible mistake. I felt like we'd betrayed our sweet dog, and maybe made a huge mistake and lost our bond with her when a major reason for adopting the 2nd dog was so she'd have a friend and not be lonely. Thankfully after the initial stress wore off they started getting along much better, and now they're quite the pair (though they are teaching each other bad habits). Hubby and I both felt weird bringing a new dog in and were afraid of losing our relationship with the first. I will admit too that we do sometimes give her more love and attention because the new dog is often quite naughty. Oh well! LOVED this post! Sent it to hubby! LOL

  3. oh my little girls. I'll hold you both.

  4. Rikki is just lucky Bunni didn't eat her the first time you left them alone. She is such a hungry pug.

  5. Ohmigosh I die! Thank you for cheering up my morning!

    A question for you: have you found getting a second dog to be a lot more work and money? I have been dying to get a playmate for my dog for the same reasons you listed above, but my husband is against it because he thinks it'll mean a lot more work for us and end up costing twice as much as our current dog. I always thought that if you have one already, the work and expenses will not automatically double, but only maybe go up by half as much. What do you think?

  6. hey geekinheels,

    it's a good question. i think probably the biggest transition is the "start-up" cost of getting the first dog, because everything is completely new. with the second dog, at least you know how to do most things, although of course incorporating the second dog is new.

    you're right, it definitely doesn't feel like *twice* the work. like i said, we're already working from a baseline of a dog being a lot of work from our first dogs. don't get me wrong, it definitely takes more time and effort--when walking them, we need to make sure both of them do their business, not just one; and some things, but not everything, do cost double (like food, heartworm medicine, and vet bills).

    but it's kind of like after you get your first dog--you know that it's going to be a lot of work and you're concerned about the cost and how it's going to change your life, but after you have your dog you don't question at all that it was the right decision. it's all worth it.

    i am definitely happy that they are together. before i felt badly about leaving bunni alone, but now i have no problem because i know they're together. for us it's been totally worth it, but of course it's a personal decision. and of course i think you should totally get a second one, but i'm completely biased.

  7. I'm personally a proponent of 3. but then again I'm beaten down I MEAN I'm biased. just do it. three is the new two!

  8. Thank you for the thoughtful response! I'll def show my husband what you wrote!

  9. I was reading "The Loved Dog" the other night, and when you get a second dog, it doesn't necessarily mean that your first dog will be the "alpha." It's something that dogs have to work out between themselves. But, I can understand you taking it personally.

  10. haha stephanie i was definitely rooting for bunni (the first one) to be the alpha, but they've definitely worked things out and rikki is the clear alpha. alpha or not, though, she will get a smackdown if there's growling. she's quite feisty.

  11. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. Hahaha. I love your commentary... those pugs are to die for. <3

  12. This is the most adorable post ever. I'm so jealous that we don't have two dogs.

  13. Awwww I love the cuddly pictures of them. I wish I could get my dog a friend. I think she hates all other dogs!

  14. Aww, that is the sweetest ever. Holding paws. I'm seriously dying. It is so precious!! Also, I know exactly how you feel. I felt the exact same way when we brought Belle home. I was terrified that we made a mistake, but now they love each other. And, your girls clearly love each other, too!

  15. I love them!! They are so cute and look so happy together :) I always have hopes of finding Charlie and our cat Basil curled up together, but sadly there are too many cat & dog differences to let them be good buddies.