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Mya: The Journey of Adding a Fur-member

The long, anticipated post about our dog Mya is here! If you follow me Instagram, you would see that about 1.5 months ago we added a new fur-member to our household.

Now Bill and I have talked about having a dog since we started dating (almost 7 year ago…wahhhh??). We never really had a time frame or talked about when we would get one, just that we wanted a medium/large dog in the future.We talked about the kind of dog that we wanted too. We couldn’t really settle on one type of dog but we knew that we wanted one that would be smart, that would be trainable and one that didn’t have a long list of health issues. If you have followed the blog for some time you know that last year about this time, our Bruce was diagnosed with some urinary issues. Since we were able to get it under control, we have had no issues (knock on wood!).

Fast forward, my friend Amy (hi Amy!) send me a picture of a dog. She was brown and black with bits of blonde and white. She was also labeled as a German Shepherd mix. Now I have always wanted a GSD mix. I have always just felt a weird pull towards them. She was listed through a rescue called Happy Tails Rescue. I had never heard of this rescue, so I looked into them. I found that they had a Facebook group where fosters updated the group on dog’s progress and training. I had never found a group like this for any other rescue that I follow (and I follow quite a few ha). I knew that the one that Amy sent me was not going to be the one for us just by how many people were sharing her post and commenting on how they sent in an application for her. So I went back to their website and looked at their available dogs. That is when I found her…

She looked a little different than the original one but she seemed to have the same type of fur and ears. So I clicked on her and immediately felt like she was waiting for us. Around this same time, her foster mom posted in the group that she was doing great with the transition to human hood. Now I say this because of a few different things (which I will get to in a second). I reached out to her and talked with her about Mya (then named Jo). This is where I found out just what was going on and her background.

Mya’s Background:

Mya was found with her sister roaming with a pack of wild dogs on a reservation in South Dakota. The Happy Tails rescue rescues quite a few dogs from this reservation. They were able to catch Mya’s sister but it took a little longer for them to catch Mya. The foster and the Rescue called her “the wild one” since she had little to no human contact. You couldn’t really get close to her without her running and hiding with her tail between her legs. Mya was also a little older than most puppies since she was about 4 months old.

When we first met her, she wouldn’t even come near us. She was scared and had found a safe place on the foster’s couch. You could go up to her on there (as long as you did it slowly) and she would allow you to pet her. She is seriously one of the softest dogs I have ever pet. We also noticed some scarring on her face. We concluded that it must not have been easy on the reservation which could have led to fights. We also think she might have been picked on. I will be doing another post on training where I will talk more about this! We also were informed that she had a virus in her mouth that just needed to run its course and that once she got healthy, it would go away. Essentially it was like a cold for humans. Other than that though, she was healthy and up to date on shots and was already fixed!

After meeting her, I think both Bill and I feel in love. I know I did! I mean how could you not love this face?!

After getting home, we decided that we should jump on this opportunity and become fur-parents again. So we met her on Tuesday and picked her up that next Friday!

I felt so nervous on Friday going to pick her up! Trying to decide if we made the right decision or not or if it was too early. How could we handle a new puppy, buying a house, moving out of our old house and into the new one within a month?!

But guess what?! It has worked out just fine!

When we got home, we had things already set up. We knew that she was going to be scared so we had a little “den” that the foster suggested we set up. We had her crate with a blanket in it as well as covering half of it. That way she had a place that she felt like she could hide but not covered to the point where we couldn’t see her. After a little while, she started coming out of the kennel and exploring. At first she had no interest in Bruce and would just let him come over and sniff her…OH BOY has that changed 😉 Within the first week of getting her, we took her to the vet. We just wanted to make sure that she really did have a clean bill of health. Turns out, she did! It also turns out that the vet thought that she was a little older than 4 months when we got her. They figure her being born around the end of October. <—How perfect that we got married at the end of October 😀 She also said that Mya would probably be around 50 lbs and that she is probably a mix of a lot of different breeds. Although she stated that she looked like an Australian Shepherd. After looking at different variations of mixes, I think I have settled on one that really looks like her: Australian Shepherd Chow Mix. The pictures are of variety but a lot of them look similar to her! Anyway…the vet also said that she will probably be smart (since in the wild, dumb animals do not survive) and we have definitely made huge progress with training so I think she was right!

Potty Training:

At first, Bill and I were going to use puppy pads. The foster was having success so we thought that it might be easier for her transition if we used them as well. HA well we got some, laid them on the ground, showed her where they were and that did NOTHING. We ended up not using any and really just watching her. Watching for sniffing and walking in circles. Waiting for that moment of intense play and then the sudden look of “oh sh* I gotta go!”. Since she was a wild dog for quite a long time before we got her, we have had some incidents where she will be just walking and then pop a squat. Thankfully we have (hopefully) gotten her out of that. I will say though, the first week was ROUGH. We kept her in the kennel and Bill would come home for lunch. Then go back to work. Every day that first week, Bill would come home at lunch to a pup covered in feces. It was beyond frustrating to try and figure out the best routine for her. We thought about feeding her earlier to get her to go #2 but that was just not working. So a co-worker suggested waiting until you leave to feed them so then they aren’t rushed into having to go to the bathroom. Honestly, since the day after we started that she has not had an accident in her kennel. When she is out and about roaming, we are still watching her since we have had a couple of accidents in the house. Nothing major but just enough that we have to make sure she isn’t going somewhere to go to the bathroom. At the old town home, she would go and sit by the door and that usually meant that she had to go to the bathroom. We have also noticed that when she gets rough with us or WILL NOT settle down, its her telling us she needs to go to the bathroom. Last night, for example, she just kept running around and trying to bite us. I asked her if she needed to go outside and she went to the door. We barely made it to the grass before she started going!

Kennel Training:

The foster started this with Mya right away which I am so thankful for. Both Bill and I did not have dogs that were kenneled growing up. The first couple nights we had her, we put her in the kennel in our room. After that we moved her out to the hallway for one night. Then we moved her downstairs (where her kennel was at most of the day- we would move it upstairs at night). She has been out in the living room ever since. She has also been really good at keeping quiet – that we know of! When we are at home and she starts whining, we tell her no and that is the end of it. Usually when she is whining, she has to go to the bathroom. Not all the time, but I’d say about 70% of the time. Now we have gotten to the point that when we say kennel, she will go in it. Sometimes, she runs but eventually she will go into her kennel. We also feed her in her kennel. When doing research, we had found that you want to treat their kennel as a good area not a bad one. This is why we had it set up in the beginning as her hideout and it is also why we feed her in the kennel. That way when she goes in there, she doesn’t associate it with being in trouble or bad.

So there you have it! A little snapshot into our first couple months with our puppy.

Here’s a couple more pictures for your viewing pleasure 🙂


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