Benson Is Finally Home
The title might be a little confusing. He's lived with me for 2 years, so how is he finally home? Did something happen? Is he still with me?
Well, yes, he's still with me. And he's not going anywhere.
Retired racing greyhounds are known to take a while to fully feel at home. However, this is generally noted as taking some number of months, not years.
It took a couple of months for Benson to trust me enough to pick him up. It took a few more months for him to feel comfortable in the living room. It took even more months for him to figure out the furniture is okay. In total, it took about 10 months for him to get cuddly with me. You might think that's when he had fully relaxed and opened up.
He befriended a local great dane that he would play with every now and then. When they moved away, he got a little depressed. I brought home Leeloo to keep him company. We moved to a bigger apartment in the same building, and there was a period where he got really depressed. But then he shook out of it, shrugging it off very suddenly. He was back to being cuddly and needy, and most importantly, relaxing and interacting with his environment.
He still wasn't quite "home" though.
It wasn't until the past couple of months that some behavior changes told me he finally felt home.
At night, he sleeps anywhere he's comfortable in the apartment. No longer is night time sleeping just in the bedroom on his dog bed or in a crate. His sleeping places are pretty much anywhere now. Living room floor, bedroom floor, couch, some other bed outside the bedroom, etc. So long as he's comfortable, the whole place is his den.
Additionally, he now feels he has a place to protect. I keep one of the three blinds look out back partially up so they can see out when the blinds are otherwise closed. I've woken up to him seeing something outside he didn't like and growling, or even barking. Yeah, quiet Benson barking at something outside while he's inside.
It took him a couple of years, but I think he finally feels like this is home. He's much more comfortable in the space, much more confident, and he feels a duty to protect it.