I assume that all the internationals are probably like Xavier when they arrive- petrified! His journey to America began in Seville. His traveling party flew into Dulles in DC on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and he stayed with a temp foster from then until Saturday. On Saturday, he and and another came south.
As soon as we got him home, Xavi immediately bonded with my adult son. Xavi was in Robbie’s lap being petted and when Robbie stopped he reached up with one paw and gently patted Robbie on the side of the face. It was as if he was saying ” Is this what it is like to feel safe, secure and loved?” He continues to softly pat everything he loves- toys, me, food bowl etc and that is one of his most endearing traits. I have 2 females and Gabrielle is alpha- very alpha- she usually puts fosters in their place within the first hour. Yet she shared the sofa and her beloved (to the point of obsession) human brother with Xavi within the first hour.
Xavi was very timid during transport and continues to be timid when outside of his yard. When we walk he stops every few steps to check his surroundings and is on high alert. He gets startled at strange sounds, loud noises, sudden motions. So I think he must be suffering from some sort of ptsd. Thankfully I live in a small town so there isn’t lots of traffic on my street.
Whether it came from maybe being in a home at some point in his life or just watching Gabrielle and Gracie Allen, Xavi was completed house trained and could use the doggie door in 2 days. He also learned basic commands quickly. Interestingly, he would not respond to verbal Spanish commands- I assumed this was due to my southern accent. A month after he arrived, a friend from France came to spend Christmas with us. One of his grandmothers was Spanish so he tried commands in Spanish with no result. He switched and said he couldn’t understand why Xavi wouldn’t sit. As soon as he heard sit in French, Xavi sat his little butt right down. I know basic French and gave the sit, down, stay and come commands in French and he obeyed every time. From that we assume he lived in France or with French speakers. For anyone afraid to adopt because of the language barrier, it isn’t a problem. Adopters with other dogs can count on the new one learning from them. They all understand the language of love and that will be the key.
Xavier is cute because… he’s small, his tail is beautiful, his eyes are soulful, he’s polite and gentle.
Xavier LOVES… toys, cuddling, food, treats- especially frozen blueberries and Old Mother Hubbard dog cookies, his yard, people petting him, praise, sleeping as close as he can get to me at night under the covers, walks on a quiet street or path, bird watching, lizard chasing, squirrel intimidation, his human brother, anyone that visits but most of all his sisters- especially my liver/tri Gracie Allen. He is her shadow. Since the first morning he woke up here, he has washed the inside of Gracie Allen’s ears with his tongue. He doesn’t miss a day and he truly idolizes her.
Thanks for writing about Xavier (which we pronounce ZHA V A instead of the Spanish HA V A).
Kay Crandall, North Carolina