Last month we introduced you to two very special pups who stole our hearts. Thelma and Louise were two feral dogs who went through an incredible recovery with the help our friends over at Saving Great Animals, but were in desperate need of a loving home. After some time, Thelma and Louise were finally adopted by the O'Brien family! We asked if Jenny O'Brien would give us an update, thinking maybe we would get a photo and a couple sentences - but the new fur-mom wrote us a full on love letter about Thelma and Louise, and we couldn't be happier to see her passion about these pups.
'Did you really need to adopt TWO dogs?”' That was the first thing my mother wanted to know when I told her of my plans to adopt Thelma and Louise.
YES - was the easy and quick answer. We had done our research and knew the girls were a bonded pair, and couldn't imagine separating them. And on another note, we are used to having much bigger dogs than Thelma and Louise! Do even though there are two of them, it's more like having one 80 pound dog with two heads.
As anyone who has read their story is aware - adopting these dogs is not like most other adoptions, because of their past trauma. But the adoption process over the last couple weeks has been remarkably smooth, thanks in large part to the love and training they received from Jacintha Sayed and the volunteers from Saving Great Animals, as well as the support of the Wagly Veterinary Hospital staff. The girls walk beautifully on lead, take treats gently and respond easily to slight corrections — a verbal "tcchhh" is more than enough to alter behavior. We can’t thank them enough for getting the girls to the point of being ready for adoption. If they hadn’t received a tremendous amount of love and care, they wouldn’t be ready to be in a home.
The girls seem to be settling in with us nicely. Thelma already signals when she needs to go out - and she also signals for the much quieter Louise, when she is the one who needs a quick walk. Louise remains a bit more reserved. She appreciates when we take care to ensure an equal distribution of treats (Thelma will swipe them all) and affection. While Thelma now demands attention, Louise needs to be coaxed into it. I will sit on the floor with them and back myself beside her and spend time just sitting or writing, pausing now and again to tell her we love her. Doing this over several days has earned me to the right to bend down and pet her at will. She especially enjoys deep neck rubs and while she won’t roll over and expose her belly, she’s fine with letting me rub it while she maintains control in a sit.
They function as a unit, except for the few moments of sibling rivalry which let everyone know that sooner or later, Louise is going to come fully out of her shell. The real saving grace is that we’re very familiar with living with a creature that’s part cattle dog — that intense intelligence could be daunting, but in Thelma and Louise’s case, we think it’s that wit and curiosity that helps them try a bit harder to understand the humans. As our 19-year-old son, Jack, says “Even though they might be scared of something, they always seem to be interested in whatever it is.”
While we can only imagine what life was like in the wild, it’s pretty clear that affection and play meant taking huge risks. Thelma’s the braver one, taking over the couches and attacking toys while learning that biting a stuffie is acceptable, but chomping on the couch, pillows or old router is not. She remains fond of gutting stuffies, but has developed an affection for rope toys and has learned how to play tug in the past two weeks. She’ll shake and wiggle and bat her paws like a much younger pup, leading us to think that she now feels it’s safe to try out a second puppyhood.
A huge part of our ability to take in the dogs has to do with schedules. If I worked full-time in an office, adopting the girls just wouldn’t work because they’re not ready to be home alone for large swathes of time. Fortunately, I work remotely for Auth0, a Bellevue-based tech company, with a boss and colleagues who are very understanding if I need to take the girls out for a quick walk. Big shoutout to Auth0!
Since joining the family, the girls have overcome their fear of buses, vans, trucks, sprinklers, chainsaws, mopeds and distant men. They’re still working on loud motorcycles and men up close.
Again, none of this would be remotely possible without Saving Great Animal’s efforts, especially Jacintha Sayed’s deep love and commitment to these girls, as well as the help of all the volunteers from Saving Great Animals and the Wagly Staff. We are beyond grateful to each and every person who has contributed to these efforts and will do our best to give the girls a life filled with comfort, curiosity and adventure.
Is it just us, or do the O'Briens seem like a perfect fit for Thelma and Louise! Our hearts can rest happy now that these ladies have a great home.