Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kita and his Protege, Pearl

Kita and Pearl are opposites in almost every way.  Pearl has short hair, skinny legs and tiny feet, while Kita has humongous paws and a huge furry coat.  Despite being less than half his size, Pearl is very confident that she can take all of Kita's toys, rawhides, and anything else as her own.   Kita is very gentle with her, but does sometimes try to get his items back as you can see in the video above.

Kita's a purebred male Siberian Husky; the largest of his litter, and was very well socialized as a puppy.   Pearl is a mixed breed little dog, likely the runt of her litter, and was either abandoned by or taken from her birth mom at a very young age.  She was lucky enough to have a wonderful family with six young children and an older female puppy, and her human mom bottle-fed her until she was old enough to be adopted by us, but she is terrified of being left alone in any capacity.

Kita is a gentle giant; incapable of hurting even bunnies or our pet tortoise.  Every breathing creature is a potential new best friend for him to jump on, kiss and play with.  Even our cranky cat, Seph, has learned to love him, often spending time with him alone and confident that Kita will never try to steal his food or anything else that he has claimed for himself.  The only time Kita has ever demonstrated even slight fear is from getting tackled by an aggressive dog and for whatever reason, walking up or down a flight of stairs (indoors only).

Pearl is cautious and self-aware; protecting everything she has as if she can lose everything at any moment. If you catch her on a bad day and Kita tries to share a toy she has in her possession, she will growl and snap, but these days are thankfully getting to be more far and few between.  Strangers are potential enemies, and will run and hide behind Kita, Chris or myself, if she meets someone knew that intimidates her.  She growled at a snowman that the children behind us built for weeks on end since it took so long to melt, and growls at her own reflection when she glances it in the window.  Her last visit to Petsmart went sour when she spotted a Great Dane and pulled me across the store at full speed; she was afraid for the rest of the night and wouldn't even tolerate attention from Kita, whom had worried about her the entire time she was gone, whining and pacing until she returned.

I know we made the right decision with her though; Kita has grown extraordinarily attached to Pearl. Waking up with the knowledge that he gets to play with his kid sister never tires, and he is always thrilled to see her.  In return, she loves to play and wrestle with him, knowing that if she yelps, he'll immediately retreat and cover her in kisses.  He has taken it upon himself to be a father figure to her recently.  He must have sensed our stress levels, and has apparently decided that disciplining her on his own is easier than having us go and get her and losing some of his playtime with her.  We hardly have to start to say "No Pearl!" anymore before Kita runs to her and drags her back to a safe spot, pushing her gently to the ground and holding her with his paw until she relaxes a little so she knows she did something wrong.  He won't allow her to leave a room without him until she goes to bed, makes sure that she doesn't bother the cats, and if she has a "timeout" due to growling, he will try his best to sneak away and check on her or annoy the heck out of us until she can come back out and play.

And so, Kita is the social butterfly that doesn't look back when he goes off to daycare or to meet a new friend while Pearl hangs back with us, loyal at every step.  I think we got the best of both worlds with this unlikely pair.

Learn more about Kita on his Blog.  Learn all about Pearl on her own puppy page!

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