I said long before Luce passed away, no more pit bulls.
They’re too much trouble, they’re too much of a crap-shoot health-wise, they’re not worth the social aggravation, they’re not worth the dog/dog issues.
I said before Luce died, no more dogs.
Three is plenty. Maybe when Steve is old and gray I’ll see about getting a puppy out of Bean. But for now, no. Three is a good number.
And then Luce was gone, and I found myself at the shelter looking at a pit bull. I didn’t go there looking for any dog in particular. I just went to look.
Because my heart was aching. Because there was a hole in my belly.
It’s so uncommon to find nice, moderate pit bulls in our shelters. They’re generally huge and overdone. I don’t want a 70 pound bulldog.
This one’s not. He’s 46.
A stray with no history, a year old, give or take, and nice.
So I went up front and I asked if they adopt to people with intact dogs at home. They said all of their animals are spayed or neutered before they leave so no, that’s not a problem.
I said I know one of my dogs will absolutely hate him when I bring him for a meet and greet, will you still consider adopting him to me? As long as the two dogs aren’t going at each other, if your dog warns the new dog and the new dog respects that, and everybody feels comfortable with it, yes.
I said can I meet him?
They said we’ll bring him right up.
He plays ball. He plays tug. He lets me lean over him. He lets me touch all his parts, look in his ears, look at his teeth. We go for a walk and he gets distracted but comes right back to me when I call him puppy puppy puppy!! He loves people. He loves dogs. He is sweet.
What am I doing? I said no more dogs. I said no more pit bulls.
Damn you Luce, you put him there, didn’t you?
You know how this ends, but I’ll tell you anyway.
I put him on hold. 24 hours. Think about it. Take my dogs in to meet him.
There was no love at first sight, even Hambone and Bean who are generally very dog-friendly are jerks on leash, but the shelter people, they knew how to handle it. (They would not let me handle my dogs, which I understand.) They walked together until my dog calmed down. They tried again. Appropriate sniffing. Next.
Steve was, predictably, a jerk. Snapping teeth and hard eyes. And this shelter dog– McLovin they called him– just looked at him like “ok dude”. We walked. Once Steve got the idea that McLovin wasn’t going to get in his face, he didn’t care anymore. He just wanted me.
Final test, bring Ham and Bean out together. Don’t bother with Steve again because Steve is just going to be Steve.
Awkward boy social confusion but no violence.
Do you feel comfortable? Yes. Do I feel comfortable? Yes.
Ok. Let’s do the paperwork.
It was approximately 900 degrees out, so we brought my dogs inside and put them in a getting acquainted room. They were right by the front door, the first dogs that anybody saw, walking in. The Border Collies did a lot of OMG STRANGER DANGER. Nobody wanted to adopt them. Everybody wanted to adopt the little brown dog who looked so sad.
I promise you truly, Ham is not as abused as he sometimes pretends to be.
We had instant drama the moment I put everybody in the car, McLovin in a crate, Steve up front, the young boys in the back. Bean learned at camp that fence fighting is really fun, and Ham just enjoys excitement. So there was a lot of yelling and snarling and I did a lot of grabbing leashes until their brains could turn back on. The rest of the ride home was peaceful.
This dog, now Trek (Siren’s Improbable Journey), moved in like he has been here his whole life.
Steve has accepted that he’s stuck with him.
Bean and Hambone enjoy wrassling with him. I had to tell them multiple times last night that it was time for SLEEPING, not full-body-contact wrestling. He is snuggly. He is goofy. He is sweet.
He had his first few minutes of training today, just introducing the clicker and the beginnings of attention. We were at the training club, not at home, so it was extra distracting, but he did great. He’s just so affable. Steady.
Not at all like Luce.
And he fills that pit-bull-shaped hole in his own unique way.
I am glad he is here.
I am glad the universe let me have another one.