I'm wondering what the first date must be like from the dog's point of view.......
My person comes to get me. Leash to collar, are we going for a walk?! But no, this hall is unfamiliar. She leads me into a unfamiliar room. A barrage of unanticipated smells comes over me - people, other dogs, puppies that I have never met. I want to explore. Am I safe? Should I run? Why am I here? What should I do?
Strange people are calling...is that my name? It sounds like my name but the voices are unfamiliar. Confused, I take a step back. I see them tense up. They exchange looks; I know that I am in some kind of trouble. How can that be? I have never been here before. The man whispers, "What's wrong with him?" I feel a chill, I hang my head. Do they wonder why I'm not running over to greet them? But who are they? I have never seen these people before. I am afraid, uncertain, confused. I'm not at all shy with the people that I know. I live for their visits and the sight of a leash. I jump in joy at the sound their approach, but...who are these people? I stand behind the legs of the one who has led me to this place. I peek around her to get a better view. What should I do?
Irritation. The man begins to speak, he growls, just a low rumbling grrrrrr. "This ad said he's a very affectionate dog. But....."He tosses a look my way. The woman next to him reaches out to me. I want to go to her but...have I done something wrong? My person pats me on the head. She kneels down and talks to me. Sweet voice, kind touch, I kiss her face and put my paw on her leg in an attempt to get closer. I lean against her just to feel her warmth, just to be with her for one more minute. "I guess it's just not your day," she says. I wonder if there will ever be a day that is my day. Will someone come one day, and kneel down and wait for me?
We are not asking you to ignore chemistry. There is a magical connection between a person and a dog that happens when you find the right companion. But at your first meeting, take a moment. Dogs have feelings too. You're a stranger. Have a conversation before you expect a kiss. Let the dog smell you, talk to her, take him for a walk, ask her caregivers who he is. Relationships develop - they don't come ready-made, not with people and not with dogs. You might have fifteen years together ahead of you, so go ahead and give the introduction an hour.
If you are adopting a shy dog, give her three days to get settled, you will see her change every day. She may be exuberant, or she may be shy, and either way, you won't really know your new dog until she has been at your house for those three days. The next big change is at two weeks. Then at three months. Just plan to bring kindness, respect and compassion to your first meeting, to give that magic a chance to happen. Plan to give an hour...after all, how long is that dog in minutes?