Our dog, Mandy, has a questionable past. Four years ago I found her wandering along a busy downtown street in the rain. She had obviously been nursing puppies but my attempts at finding where she belonged were useless. After two weeks of searching for her owner, placing posters, and canvassing homes and businesses, I took her to the vet and asked for an evaluation. I'd seen some aggression in her and didn't know what to do. In a nutshell, our vet told me to stop looking for her owner. He said Mandy had not been treated well by them and that she was much better off with us. He said, "She's not vicious at all. She just doesn't know who she can trust".
I'd been sure I could find her owner. Surely someone was looking for her. Who allows a mama dog to run loose while her puppies need her? My heart broke for her, but we didn't want another dog, especially not one who might nip, or worse. The "worse" turned out to be that she is aggresive toward cats - and here we are with a whole houseful of felines.
When our daughter was little we had rescued two dogs who lived to ripe old ages and after 20 years - yes, one lived that long - we were ready to be "out of the dog business" as Spouse put it. What's the saying...."Life happens while we're making other plans"....or something like that? So we kept Mandy and fell in love with her, flaws and all.
To say she's been unpredictable would be putting it mildly, but she had lived a very rough life before I found her. She has some nasty scars to prove it, so we knew she needed us. Over the years she has mellowed, though she's still unpredictable around people she doesn't know. To us she's loving and loyal. She trusts us. She also trusts Granddaughter. Those two get along well and are a joy to watch. Mandy follows my grandaughter wherever she goes and seems to love being her best friend.
As for the cats and Mandy....we learned (the hard way) they needed to be separated at all times. That makes for a complicated routine where Mandy either goes into her huge crate, stays in this room with Spouse, or is outside playing when the cats are up here. Later, the cats go to the lower level and Mandy is free to roam. The cats are very fond of walking around on top of Mandy's crate when she's in it. They love to stick their paws inside it and swipe at her head. She's very patient with them while she's incarcerated, but I often wonder if she's thinking she'd like just one chance to chase them. Our routine may seem strange to some, but it's second nature to us now and it works. Every pet receives love and attention, just not all at the same time.