Introducing Belle Chanza
Updated: May 27, 2022
The Chanza family is growing! We have welcomed a nine-week-old Siberian husky named Belle!
The path to getting Belle was met with lots of resistance. We haven't welcomed a new family member for at least three years. Our ferret Ellie was the last animal to join our family, and she didn't cause nearly as much commotion as Belle has.
It has been a week with Belle now. Belle loves biting shoes and chewing toys. She's very vocal, which is different from what we've experienced with our dogs, Susu and Oreo. We grew up with Susu and Oreo. When they were young, we had the energy to chase after them and play with them for hours. Now, we're all adults with busy schedules and not nearly as much stamina to control a fast-growing puppy who makes so much noise and warrants constant attention.
Still, through my dad's relentless will, Belle joined our tribe of animals.
So how did week one with Belle go?
Our biggest fear in bringing Belle home was how Susu and Oreo would react to her. They are not known for being very friendly to other animals. After three years, Susu is just now tolerating Ellie's existence, so introducing Belle was concerning. Oreo also likes to start unnecessary fights with Susu to compensate for her jealousy. Adding another dog to the situation, let alone a dog that will outgrow my vertically impaired family, had the potential for great danger.
However, Belle nervously walked into the house. While trapped at the bottom of two steps – Belle lived on a farm and had never experienced stairs before – Susu and Oreo hesitantly sniffed her. Susu was indifferent and quickly walked away. Oreo watched as I tried to get Belle up the stairs and ran away in fear once she made it up. All the dogs were suspicious of each other, but for the first night, everything went fine.
The rest of the week was not so great.
There is so much barking. The three bark at each other until they tire out and fall asleep for hours. Belle likes to play with Susu, but Susu would like not to be bothered. Susu is a partially blind 12-year-old Yorkie mutt with anxiety who likes to take leisurely walks around the house. Belle takes these walks as a sign for playtime. As a result, barking ensues as Susu tries to assert dominance over this puppy that's larger and more energetic than she is.
On the other hand, Oreo fears Belle. Oreo is a 12-year-old Shih Tzu known for invading personal space and requiring lots of attention. Oreo is notorious for being the aggressor when it comes to fights between the animals, and yet she hides behind the nearest human or on chairs Belle can't jump on yet. Undoubtedly a new puppy took some attention away from Oreo, and she takes the frustration out on an unsuspecting Susu.
Even with bark battles and the occasional fight, Susu and Oreo are adjusting much faster than anticipated. It'll take some time, but I'm sure they'll learn to live with one another.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Belle and Ellie. A soft introduction of the animals went awry when Belle attempted to use Ellie as a chew toy. In her defense, Ellie does look like a fox/rope toy we have. However, Belle has proven to lack the self-control needed to be around Ellie, making it too dangerous for them to coexist.
How has Belle affected the humans in the Chanza family?
Shoes and furniture are not safe from hurricane Belle thus far, and neither are toes and fingers. A spray bottle filled with water and a strong change in tone of voice are working to fix that. It's been a lot of work taking care of a puppy versus two senior dogs who like to lounge around all day.
It takes much more effort and commitment not just to train Belle but have her get accustomed to our lifestyle. In some ways, she's training us as well. We're learning much more from her than we could have ever predicted.
Belle has brought a new beginning into our home that didn't even feel like it was missing. As hesitantly as this journey began, the entire family is excited to see Belle grow up.