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5) Suddenly, Carter

Page and I were doing all right by ourselves, but she’d enjoyed Nitro so much, I thought maybe she’d like anew little brother. A few months after Nitro’s death, I contacted the cattle dog rescue again and applied to be matched with a neutered male. I specified that, after the stress and heartbreak of dealing with Nitro, I was looking for a dog that would be a bit easier, maybe an older dog.

After I had asked about several different dogs, and decided for one reason or another they weren’t right, I was offered Carter. I was reluctant at first; he was younger than I really wanted to deal with, only about 16 months. He’d only been in the rescue for a couple of weeks, having been flown in from another state, so his personality couldn’t have been all that clear. But I was assured that he was a nice, friendly dog. I finally agreed to go meet him.

I took Page and we drove about six hours to meet Carter and his foster in a park. I was pretty sure I’d take him at that point, unless something really stood out. After the usual tense first few minutes, Page allowed as how she’d meet him and we walked around the park. Eventually I bundled him into a crate in my car, and we headed off on the long drive home. Along the way, we stopped several times at rest stops, and I was able to handle both him and Page. That seemed to be a good sign.

At home there was the usual settling-in period: a few accidents in the house, some to-dos with Page, some destructive behavior, but it didn’t seem to be out of the ordinary. It was late fall by that time and he was about a year and a half old. Winter came soon after and we didn’t have a lot of guests or even see very many people during our walks, since I lived in a fairly isolated area. Using the estimate of his age, I decided to celebrate his second birthday on March 15 (“Beware the Ides of March”).

By that time a few other people had begun to move back into the area for the summer. And that’s when I began to realize that I might have a Problem – and I began to admit to myself that I might need professional help this time.

Picture of Carter in living room

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