In October 2011, I adopted a 6-year old Mini Rex rabbit named Chloe. Chloe was already litter box trained and free roaming, and essentially the perfect pet for a college student with no space. There was just one problem; While rabbits tend to thrive in pairs, Chloe’s bossy nature kept shelter staff from successfully matching her to anyone else. Just one year later, I was able to find the perfect, but quite unlikely, match for my little furball– a Doberman Pinscher.
I found Rooney (then named Ivy) at the Western PA Humane Society last November at about 8 months old. I’d always adored dobermans, but upon my first interaction with the awkward pup, I knew she had to be mine! Within a week or so, this dog (surrendered for being “untrainable”) had settled into our home perfectly. She was already fantastic with potty and leash manners and had mastered about 10 commands. Most important to me, however, was Rooney’s total lack of reaction to cats, birds or small animals we encountered on walks and pet store trips.
I eventually felt comfortable enough to introduce my girls, first through a gate, then with Rooney on leash. From the day they were allowed free roam together, Rooney and Chloe were great pals. Although I was surprised at how quickly Rooney gained Chloe’s trust, I was not at all shocked to see all 6 lbs. of Chloe bossing around her new friend with grunts and nudges. Luckily for us, Rooney responds well to Chloe’s “herding” and respects that the bunny is boss!!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have such success introducing a dog to my Chloe, especially so quickly! I certainly don’t believe that there is a more perfect canine match for me and my family. Rooney and I are starting our first round of obedience classes at WPHS in order to earn a therapy dog certification. We hope to not only touch the lives of others through our therapy visits, but also to change negative misconceptions about shelter dogs and the doberman breed as a whole.
Thank you WPHS!
Author: Jamie Rempel