Can’t We All Just Get Along?

In the garden, opposites attract, like the purple aster against the yellow bush marigold –


and things that are alike complement each other: two different varieties of Gaillardia:


Dogs: not necessarily so. Dogs that don’t want to live with other dogs take a little longer to get home. Like our beloved, Barnaby here.


But dogs that react negatively to other dogs, require dog-savvy humans committed to their training. Their journey can take longer still.

Some dogs have had very troubled pasts, with understandable reactivity to all other dogs. But some, just pick and choose. What is it about a dog that makes it holler at another dog: “Hey, Dude! I really don’t like you!”? (These two are just playing!)

Pup Class_DSC_5752

We have four of them right now: the fearless foursome. Dogs that are okay with some dogs…but really don’t like selective dogs.


Finn hates Bear.


Bear hates Jackson.


Jackson hates Finn.


And sweet Gunther isn’t sure he likes any of them.


Because reactivity can seriously limit their adoption chances, we also have devoted dog walkers and trainers who are working with them to help them learn how to co-exist.


They don’t have to like each other…


but take a lesson from the garden, boys:


can’t we all just get along?


Thanks to Rob Kessel, of, for use of the Bear and Finn photos.

UPDATE: All four of our fussy friends have been adopted to loving homes. Happy life, Finn, Bear, Jackson and Gunther. BE GOOD BOYS!

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

11 thoughts on “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

  1. When we got Sashi, who was about 9 weeks at the time, we already had an adult dog in the home. Unfortunately, Lucy hated Sashi and it took about 6 months of attacks on Sashi and general crappy behavior despite our best attempts to make them be friends. Now they are inseperable- they adore each other- but at the beginning there were vet visits, emergency separations, and a lot of tears shed by me and blood from Sashi. I’m honestly not sure what changed- maybe Lucy realized that we weren;t replacing her with the new puppy, or maybe she just realized Sashi’s pretty cool. But all the issues we had and they’re so close now. Pretty soon though the dynamic will change again because Lucy is 12 and aging badly. Then we’ll get a new dog and teach that dog and Sashi to be friends too.

      1. We first introduced them on neutral ground away from home and it was bad from the start. Lucy barked aggressively, Sashi peed all over, and we had the added bonus of sick dogs giving Sashi parvo midway through her puppy shots right through our screen door. I bet if they could have had longer introductory meetings away from home and later at home it would have gone smoother but it wasn’t possible. After all that though I think we got the best darn dog we could have. Love her so much!

  2. When we first adopted Ducky – three years ago – it sometimes seemed like all hell had broken loose, especially between her and Shadow. But now that Callie has been in Heaven for a couple of months, things are much calmer. They may never be best friends, but at least they don’t fuss and growl at each other 16 hours a day. 🙂

  3. Our Monty is reactive. We know the situations we can’t put him in but we can still take him on walks with our local rescue club (AZGRC) and have even watched other folks dogs overnight. It’s all in how you introduce him and it’s our job to keep him safe and secure. …and of course, he loves our little girl, Harlow!

    Monty and Harlow

    1. Smart cookie! Exactly so. There are few that can’t enjoy a happy, normal life with someone aware enough of the situation they might be entering into. Hugs to both. 🙂

  4. Our rescue is such a sweetie–unless there’s another dog around! That rarely goes well! I am glad your precious dogs have patient volunteers working with them! They’re very special!

  5. Love the dogs…I had a wonderful Golden Retriever (Dylan – after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas), we loved him…it’s fabulous to hear about these magnificent dogs being rescued and then finding new homes.

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