This week, we thought we’d kick off the new year with a story about our bonded pair, Breelee and Meadow. Their relationship is adorable, but it complicates their adoption. They need to find a home together, and that’s no easy task. Nevertheless, it would be a shame to separate them; they would each grieve terribly. Will these bonded dogs be adopted together as Rescue Ranch hopes?
The term “bonded pair” is often used willy-nilly to describe dogs that are good friends, littermates and/or have been raised together. Those conditions favor bonding, but they don’t automatically lead to it.
Puppies, for example, are close for the first few weeks of their lives. They find security and comfort in each other, but they aren’t bonded. As they grow, it’s good for them to start spending time apart, socializing with other dogs. This helps them learn good manners and build self-confidence.
Puppies sometimes also develop a relationship with a best friend. The two may appear inseparable, but they aren’t bonded either. Their separation won’t be traumatic.
My own pack of four adult dogs have lived together most of their lives. Apart from the occasional spat over food or bed sharing, they get along fine. They‘re friends, but none of them are bonded to each other and they’d do fine on their own.
Dogs can have codependent relationships with unhealthy power dynamics just like humans. But a healthy bonded relationship provides support and balance.
What makes Breelee and Meadow a bonded pair?
Breelee, a shepherd mix, and Meadow, a husky, are both six and a half years old. They may have been raised together. They’ve certainly been companions for many years. When they were surrendered to a kill shelter, and given six days to live, their bond probably helped get them through the ordeal.
Rescue Ranch has kept the pair together. It would be cruel to separate them now. Their relationship has been the one constant in their lives.
So, how are they “bonded” rather than just good friends? It’s all in their behavior.
Breelee and Meadow share food, beds and toys without a second thought or growl. They eat in the same bowl and then move on to the other bowl together. They’re not territorial with each other and exhibit zero resource guarding behavior. They follow each other everywhere. If they’re separated for any amount of time, they greet each other like long lost friends. Together, their world is complete.
Breelee is the leader. When they meet other dogs or people, she takes point. There’s no real power imbalance though, it’s more a question of breed and personality than dominance. Meadow is happy to go along most of the time, unless she’s doing the aloof, husky, thing. On her own, she’s slightly more cautious, but both are friendly and eager to please.
Bonded dogs, like Breelee and Meadow, don’t do well alone. There’s little doubt that these gals need to be adopted together. Any takers?