Monday, January 12, 2009
Opie is our new puppy, my first dog. I didn't think I was a dog person, but Mason convinced me otherwise.
Sometime after Mason left, we fostered a little pug, whom we called Betty. She was really sweet and funny and cute, and we really loved her, but I couldn't get my mind around having a dog full-time. But after 2 weeks the only reservation was that my neighbor and friend, Anne Marie, is highly allergic to animals. She can come into my house for short periods, but if we were to add a dog, she would not be able to come in at all. She was in a house with a dog and cat recently and her throat swelled up and she lost her voice for 2 weeks. Her allergist confirmed that it was allergy-related. So I was really torn about making a decision that would keep her out of my house permanently. I even had a talk with her about it on the day Betty went to meet a potential family, before I knew that was my last day with her. She just laughed and said, "of course you wouldn't base your decision on me" but that was really weighing heavily on me.
Once Betty was gone to her permanent home (with a new big sister, another pug named Emma, so that helped me to feel like it was the right thing), I missed her like crazy. I was literally pining for her for several weeks. During that time I was talking about her to another friend, who told me his mom had 2 pugs and, yes, they were all that sweet and cuddly. I think that's when the deal was sealed. I got online and started searching the rescue websites for a pug, and I found a pug-terrier cross. I emailed the foster mom and found out that he was calm and good with cats (which, I understand, most fostered dogs are), and she had me fill out a pre-adoption form. Then we went to meet him at a pet adoption event at the nearby PetCo. There were dozens of dogs and even more people crammed in their parkas and boots, filling up the joint. I found him immediately and we held him and walked around with him; he was quiet and still and didn't seem scared but probably was overwhelmed. And when Pat started crying at the sight of all those homeless dogs I knew I wasn't going to be leaving without Opie. Learning that Opie was found with another puppy in a recycling bin by the garbage of a "humane" didn't make it any easier to leave him behind.
There's some conflicting information about his age. We heard 8-10 months, 3-4 months and 9-12 months. He just lost a baby tooth, so I guess that makes him young yet. But he is already neutered, has had most of his vaccinations, and we are trying to get him into a potty-training routing. Some luck with that, but also some "accidents." We are pretty happy with him, although it's still scarey to think about having all that responsibility. Cat's are so easy by comparison! I'm hoping that, with the terrier blood, he can avoid some -- if not all -- of the ailments that pugs are prone to.
He sleeps a lot and is very cuddly, which from what I have read is a common pug trait. As he gets more comfortable with us he is getting more playful, too. He's already learned how to sit (for payment, of course). And when he was told repeatedly that he couldn't chew his rawhide on the couch he chose to leave it on the floor and chew on us instead. What a smart dog!
We've had him a little over a week now, and the rescue folks say they will be adjusting for up to 4 weeks. He hates being crated and cries and barks as I'm walking out the door in the morning, even though they also said that foster dogs are crated most of the day. I guess in a new home it all starts over for them.