Mary Lynn Cristiano never thought her rescue dog, Sasha, would ever befriend another pup.
The 9-year-old pittie has always had a lot of anxiety when it comes to other dogs, and she’s never been interested in toys or playing. It was like Sasha just didn’t know how to “dog.”
“She is the most awkward dog,” Cristiano told The Dodo. “She sits awkwardly, she eats awkwardly. She’s adorable, but she’s so clingy.”
That all changed when Cristiano brought home two puppies, Biagio and Donatella. Cristiano hoped that by introducing them slowly, Sasha would learn to tolerate the puppies. She never expected that after two short weeks, Sasha would form a deep bond with the pups — especially with Donatella.
“I knew it would be challenging, but I didn’t think it would be impossible, and I didn’t think they’d be as close as they are,” Cristiano said. “The girls are a lot closer. They lay on top of each other all the time — they’re inseparable.”
Before Sasha met the puppies, she would comfort herself by licking her mom constantly. “She’s a compulsive licker,” Cristiano said. “Before the puppies, she was always licking our feet, and it’s adorable, but then it’s like, ‘We’re 20 minutes in, and I don’t want to be licked anymore.’”
Donatella is a Xoloitzcuintli and almost entirely hairless, and something about her or the texture of her skin made Sasha want to lick her constantly.
But unlike Cristiano, Donatella doesn’t mind Sasha’s tongue baths.
“They’re both happy now because Sasha has someone to lick and the puppy is falling asleep to it,” Cristiano said.
Every day, the two sisters settle down for their luxurious spa session. Sasha gets to relieve her anxiety by licking Donatella, and Donatella gets a long bath and massage. And all that licking keeps Donatella’s skin clear and moisturized.
“They take up the entire couch when they do their spa treatment,” Cristiano said. “They both have to lay out, and no one else can have the couch.”
Cristiano never expected that Sasha would open her heart to two little playmates later in life. And now, the rescue dog’s awkward personality has completely changed.
“Both of the puppies breathe a lot of life into her,” Cristiano said. “I don’t think she was very satisfied before — she never played with toys or got to play with other dogs, and with these two puppies, all of a sudden she loves chew toys, she loves tennis balls, she loves to wrestle with them. It’s so funny.”
Every day is a new adventure for Sasha now, and it just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
“We’ve brought in two monstrous puppies who chew her face, pull her tail and jump all over her, and she adores it,” Cristiano said. “It’s the strangest thing, but she really likes them.”
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