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Local Column

Duchnowski: He passed the dog test

My boyfriend was more nervous about our dogs meeting than meeting my parents.

By Rob’s way of thinking, both our parents live rather far away but dogs sometimes bite. And I’ve had my pooch for seven years, while I only met Rob about seven weeks ago.

His beagle, Benny, is a rescue and can get a little “street” around other dogs, while my cocker-spaniel poodle mix, BlackJack, can be snappy around toys and treats. The fur could fly. Or, more likely, we could both get protective of the pets we treat like family and have our first big fight.

So we consulted several websites and friends.

Essentially, we started off with stinky towels. We both had our dogs cuddle with old towels and then swapped them so our pets could get used to the other’s smell.

Then, we went for a walk together, giving Benny and BlackJack space to smell each other but tugging them apart if one seemed nervous or threatened. Everyone was a little uneasy when we got back to his house, so after about 30 minutes of separating the dogs when one seemed upset, Rob and I locked eyes. Enough was enough.

We ended up kennelling both dogs and going out for dinner. We said the kind of things adults say when they are sure things are going poorly. It will just take time. It’s not that big of a deal. It could be worse. We both ordered beer.

The next weekend, I agreed to watch the fur babies together while he went to work in the evening. True to his beagle character, Benny barked a lot. He barked hello, he barked when I walked into another room, he barked when Rob packed his stuff and then ... he sprawled out on the couch and didn’t make a peep after Rob’s car left the driveway.

Before long, the dogs were playfully chasing each other around the living room. By the time Rob got home, I had fallen asleep watching TV, remote in hand, and the two dog faces greeted him at the top of the steps. Tails were wagging.

Success.

But, in case you, dear readers, were contemplating a major dog introduction, let me suggest this great article from The Humane Society of the United States: www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/introducing_new_dog.html.

And, lest you think Rob and I had it too easy with our dog meet-up, never fear: He’s taking me home to his small town for Easter.

• Jillian Duchnowski is the Daily Chronicle’s news editor. Reach her at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, email her at jduchnowski@shawmedia.com, and follow her on Twitter @jillianduch.

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