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Humans like to assume that all dogs will get along because they are dogs. That is like saying that all humans will get along because they are humans. Crazy, right? Some dogs will "tolerate" others because they know they are family. Family, does not always have to consist of blood relatives, as we humans know. Family is group of individuals that make the decision to stay together and experience life's journey together. Each member has a particular value to this family. Each member has their own personality. Not everyone will get along all the time, but they all understand their role and purpose within the group.

In "Finding Joy: A Dog's Tale", we see how Little Bear felt about certain family members. We learn how he processed new additions, his initial reactions versus his reactions after some self-reflection! Everything in Life is an adjustment, even for our animal companions. It is important to allow them the time and right to feel whatever they feel, and process the whole thing. Generally, most dogs will find a way to live amicably- although not all will be besties for life.

"When we got to Brother's house, I saw Philip. I was awfully glad to see him. I ran up to him to say hello. He remembered me too. He was very happy to see all of us! We all hugged and sniffed and gave kisses. My pack was back together! That was the best feeling. I felt so happy! Then from behind Philip a little teeny dog came running our way. Who was this? What was going on here? Mommy and Sister made a high-pitched sound of excitement when they saw him. I hesitated. I wanted to find out about this creature who seemed to come out of nowhere."

In the passage above, we can see how time and distance does not fade familial ties for our companions, any more than it would for humans. They experience joy and happiness when reunited, just like humans do. I know for me, when meeting someone new and unexpected at a family gather, I am also hesitant. I don't embrace them immediately as I do my family. Animal companions have the same reactions.

Further along in the chapter, we read:

"Everyone slept on Mommy's bed: Philip, Milo, and sometimes me. When I got annoyed, I would go to Sister's bed." Here we see how there is an understanding of temporary visits. Everyone wanted to stay with Mommy, who was the oldest and the Matriarch of this family unit. It makes me think of visiting my family abroad. We would want to spend as much time as possible with our favorite human, or the human we felt was the leader. Everyone, including animal companions, work out their hierarchy and find their place. Thankfully, animal companions work things out pretty quickly!

"We all got along very well after that. It seemed I was their leader even though this was their home. I liked that idea. A leader. Our time at Brother's house was fun! It somehow made me feel more confident. . . and older."

You can pick up a copy on Amazon, or ask your local bookstore to carry it for you, to find out more about the adventures of this adorable, inquisitive, and thoughtful dog, Little Bear.

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