Meeting Ava and managing unease

On Saturday, we had a visit from my long-time friend, her husband, and their shepherd–lab mix, Ava.

Ava and her dad

Water break

Ava is a beautiful 2-year-old and her look and build remind me so much of Pyrrha; there is definitely some heavy German shepherd somewhere in her lineage. She was rescued as a young puppy from a shelter in Florida and she has thrived under the care and dutiful attention of her human parents.

Checking it out

Unfortunately, Ava was a little nervous about Pyrrha. And Pyrrha isn’t the best at reading behavior sometimes; Ava would growl and snap at Pyrrha, and Pyr would throw her a play bow and then charge for the chase. Not exactly the best tactic, stupid.

Danger lurks

Eventually, however, the two were able to coexist in the house, so long as we kept them from starting a staring contest.

Look at us coexisting

I’m glad they got to meet, even though it was sad that they didn’t become instant besties, as it was with myself and Ava’s “mom.” Sometimes you just can’t win them all. But Ava did get to have a lavish weekend with her humans in the countryside, so I don’t think she was too disappointed.

A weekend with Ava

Yes?
This is Ava. She is darling. Source: Me

This weekend, I had a mini college reunion with friends in Virginia Beach. I went to visit my dear friend Catherine and we were joined by Jonathan. Catherine has a one-year old lab/German shepherd* mix named Ava. (*I posit she’s got GSD in her somewhere. She looks mostly lab, but look at those ears! Adolescent GSD if I ever saw one.) Catherine and her husband, Russ, adopted Ava from a shelter in Pensacola, Florida, when Ava was 7 weeks old.

As you can see, Catherine and Ava are very devoted to one another.

Cuddles
Catherine and Ava. Source: Me

Russ is in the Navy and is frequently deployed, so Catherine and “Ava-rice” are constant companions in their apartment (aka Balboa Towers) in downtown Virginia Beach. This pair makes having a big dog in a high-rise apartment look like a piece of cake. I know it’s not, but they manage it well. On Sunday morning, we took a leisurely and enjoyable walk around town with Ava and saw many other dogs and their people.

Ava's perch
Watching over the city. Source: Me

Catherine, Ava, and I all shared a (seemingly small) double bed over the weekend. I think this was the first time I had shared a bed with a dog for a night and let me tell you: It is no easy task. They are reluctant to yield their ground. Ava, however, was very responsive to Catherine’s requests to move up, roll over, turn to the side. To my surprise, I actually slept very soundly. And Ava looked like she did, too.

She’s an extremely affectionate dog. She wants to be sitting in your lap, licking your face, or leaning against your knees all the time. Most people would find this annoying, but it was delightful to me. She does jump and beg for table food constantly, but apart from that, she seems pretty near perfect. (I also feel like Ava and Bo would be best friends.) I had a great time with her and wished we could have taken her with us everywhere.

As is expected by now, I left the weekend with my longing for a dog ratcheted up to another level.