In the first video, Roo greets Tallulah, in the second you see how they were together the whole time they knew each other, while Donna's Lab Wrinkles indulges them patiently.
Roo has only once in her life been in love with another dog. It’s not that she doesn’t like dogs. She’s as interested in them as the next dog. On rare occasions she’ll play with one, as long as it’s a chasing game where one of them can play mouse and the other one play Roo chasing the mouse. But even in the cases of dogs she’s been around for extended periods, apart from the girl in this video, she’s never met one who she out-and-out loved. I know, in the video I say something about Roo loving other dogs, but I didn’t know her too well yet, and that was my impression from the way she liked hanging out that dog park.
Indi Labs, the rescue I was fostering for in Los Angeles, concentrated on Labradors, but once in a while would take on another dog if no one else could. That’s what happened with Roo. The Golden retriever rescue in LA had had to leave her behind at the kill shelter where she would be euthanized because their rescue was at capacity and they could only pull two dogs that day. Roo was so panicked, so frenzied, terrorized by everything and in the worst place for a frightened dog — caged and surrounded by hundreds of other stressed dogs — either jumping up and down in fear behind the bars as she sought a way out or flattening herself on the ground, every muscle in her body rigid. Dog rescues are all overburdened and have to make triage decisions. It wasn’t a decision to leave Roo behind, it was a decision to take on two dogs. A shelter worker took the chance on a call to Indi Labs before just before Roo was to be killed, and Donna told them Indi would take the Golden.
Though she wasn’t fearful, this Anatolian shepherd mix had some sort of similar story. Somehow she wound up in a shelter and Victoria Diaz from Indi sprang her and brought her over. She needed a place to stay for her first night out, and she came home with Roo and me. Her name was Tallulah.
In the video Tallulah seems reticent, but that didn’t last. Imagine how you would feel your first hour out of an LA shelter. Confinement, fear, strange smells (including death) and noises, food and handling, dogs barking their heads off all day and night. And, you’ve just been spayed.
Roo didn’t think Tallulah was entitled to the same kind of decompression she went through when she got out of the shelter. She expected her new friend to hop to it. She wanted to play with her from the second she saw her. Maybe Roo had a point. She was welcoming her to success, letting her know she had made it out of the trenches alive and was now time to party. And it worked. Within minutes Tallulah brightened up and for the 24 hours they were together, they played non-stop. Tallulah didn’t seem to feel the effects of her surgery at all. If either one of them walked somewhere, the other would trot up beside her. They were constantly poking each other or batting each other around and wrestling.
They were getting along so well that I made the mistake of feeding them in different spots, but at the same time in the same room. Roo inhaled her dinner and went after Tallulah’s. Tallulah, meanwhile, had had the same idea and was coming after Roo’s. They snarled at each other for a few seconds before I broke them up and they went back to being best friends instantly.
Later, I took them both for a walk. Roo was wearing an old leather collar that used to belong to my dog Orville and Tallulah was in the collar my first Indi Labs rescue was wearing (and which Roo wears to this day). Luckily we were on a side street when they both lunged at something like the couple of puppies they were and both of them got away at the same time. The ring broke out of Roo’s leather collar and the leash clip on Tallulah’s broke. As far as they were concerned, this was great news. A chance to enjoy themselves a little. I got their attention and ran playfully in the other direction, encouraging a chase. That’s often a better idea than taking off after a dog. If you’re chasing them you’ll never catch up, but if you can get them to chase you, they’re sure to catch up. The ploy worked. I snagged Roo which brought Tallulah over.