What’s one more?
After we got through house training and kennel training with Mylo, things quieted down…for about a week. As the fat slowly melted away from his ever-increasing bone structure, we noticed that he had about a thousand times more energy than we had anticipated. Mylo wanted to play, 24/7. Since we didn’t have anyone to babysit him, we also had to take him everywhere with us. Whether it was an overnight trip to the in-laws’, or a weekend trip to Banff, Mylo was there, perched above the backseat pressing right against the window. He was generally content with the drives, and because most of the places we visited were surrounded by trees, he got the opportunity to run. And attempt to jump off of cliffs. The thing with Mylo was that he really did not (and does not) like walks. Ever since we brought him home, he has preferred to lay on the sidewalk like a lump instead of walking prettily on his leash. He will move after awhile, but not if you try to make him.
When he was a puppy, he developed a strange obsession with feet. Whenever one of us would walk down a hallway, he would try to bite our toes or remove our socks. To combat this behavior, we would tap his toes with our own. It took Mylo about a day and a half of this to figure out that if he just tucked his front paws under his chest and pushed himself along with his back legs, he would be able to bite our toes without any harm coming to his own. I gained a new respect for him as I watched him, ass in air, tongue lolling, scooting down the hallway on his chest with his paws tucked far enough underneath that they weren’t even visible.
It was at this time that Mylo’s “play” started to become too rough for us. He was a 6 month old boy, and mom and dad just weren’t enough for him. We tried to match his play for awhile, took him for walks (drags), participated in all his games, upped his activity levels, but he was still hyper. I am not exaggerating, he was hyper even by Golden Retriever standards. At this point, my husband and I started an ongoing discussion. We thought that Mylo might need a brother. Someone to play with, eat with, sleep with—a buddy. We had taken him to the dog park a number of times, and he was always so happy when there were other dogs there.
It was decided. We would adopt this time, from the local shelter. We wanted a small dog, short-haired, a couple years old so that he would hopefully already be trained, and we promised that the first time we were just going to look. So, one fateful day we popped into the shelter to take a look around. There were so many dogs there, but none seemed to fit. That was, until I stumbled upon a 12 week old puppy. This boy was all alone, and looked exactly like a baby panda. Nonsensically placed black spots spread over long white fuzz. Poofy like a seeding dandelion. He ran over the the gate and immediately put his mouth around my finger and chomped down. Not hard, just enough to say “I want to play”. I knelt down there for awhile, contemplating. He was not going to be small (the sign said Husky cross), he was not short-haired, and he probably wasn’t trained to do anything at such a young age. I gave him a parting scratch and made to leave. He let out one tiny, high-pitched, almost heartbreaking bark and that was it. I found my husband and told him that we were going to take home the baby panda dog.
We filled out about a thousand forms, talked to about a thousand people, and then they plopped him in my arms. He was stinky and dirty and squirmy. On the way home, he sat quietly on my lap, peering out the window. We named him Koda after a bear in a movie, and then started to worry about how Mylo and him would get along. At the time, you did not need to bring in your other animals to the shelter, so we had just vouched for Mylo and tossed Koda in the car. We were also a little bit afraid because the “Behavior Specialist” at the shelter told us that Koda was going to be a handful. We were told to be prepared for disobedience, dominance issues, and aggression. After we had picked him up and held him and “booped” his nose. Great.
The ride home was long and stressful. Koda acted like the little sir that he was, and we exchanged concerns about the immediately eminent meeting of Mylo and Koda and whether or not we had just agreed to raise a monster. Thankfully, we needn’t have worried about Mylo and Koda at all. We brought them into the kitchen and cautiously watched as they walked towards each other. I wasn’t overly concerned as Mylo’s giant tongue was already hanging out of his smiling face. They gave each other a sniff and that was it. Somehow, in that moment they became best friends for life. That’s all it took.