UPDATE: We officially adopted Bumble in July. This is an updated picture of the not-so-little guy, with his sister, Sadie:
Although I grew up in a family that always had a dog (and whom I always loved dearly), I’ve never really considered myself a “dog person”. Now, don’t get me wrong. Like I said, if one is part of my family, I love them with all my heart. And if you don’t ooo and ahh when you see a puppy, then I believe that you have no soul. But, unlike my husband, I don’t stop to ooo and ahh over every dog I pass.
Now my husband – HE is a dog lover. Jason will go right up to strange dogs, let them sniff him and within seconds he is covered in slobbery kisses. I’ve never met a dog who didn’t immediately love Jason and vice versa. He’s had our pup Sadie (who’s now 14), since she was one. When he was 18, he went to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society to get a dog. I love hearing his father tell the story. “Jason was down to two dogs. We took the first dog outside. He was so good on his leash, didn’t tug, and was obedient and calm. And theeeeennnn there was Sadie.” As I’ve written before – Sadie was a ball of energy then and, fourteen years later, is still feisty and playful.
As Sadie’s age is creeping towards two decades old, Jason’s anxiety is increasing. Because he’s never had another dog, he can’t imagine having a dog who doesn’t behave exactly like Sadie. He’s been itching to get a puppy so that in a Yoda-like fashion, Sade can bestow all of her wisdom and behavioral traits onto
a machine that will create her clone him or her.
I, on the other hand, think that the three (Yes. Three.) cats and Sadie is plenty of fur for one household. You all know by now how I hate change. Our family has a nice, steady routine going. For instance, they know that Mama likes her sleep, so nobody whines for me to let them outside at night. When I’m getting ready for work, they all do their own thing, careful not to step in the way of my always-frantic mornings. I get home in the evening, let Sadie outside and then we cuddle while we catch up on DVR. The cats come and go, never requiring too much maintenance, just some love. Sadie is just as content spending the day lounging around as she is playing fetch outside. I have been worried that a new puppy will disrupt our family harmony and, more importantly, all of the things I like to do.
Then we came across the Homeward Bound Dog Rescue of Albany. I stumbled across a post on Facebook that they made about puppies from Tennessee coming to the area in order to avoid euthanization. If they didn’t have a foster home to stay at, they wouldn’t be able to make the trip. One puppy, Duce, caught my eye. He was just a huge puffball of white fur. He is a 12-week-old Great Pyrenees/Irish Wolfhound mix.
I showed the organization to Jason. Maybe having a puppy wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it would be. If we fostered a puppy, we would be able to see how a new dog would fit into our family (and into my uninterrupted nightly visits to dreamland.) By fostering, we’d be saving a pup from the ultimate unfair death sentence. I thought it was a nice compromise of me to come up with, and Jason agreed.
We submitted an application and were approved to be foster parents. We went to the Homeward Bound storefront at 4:30 on Sunday and waited for the shipment of dogs to arrive from the south. At 4:45, two tiny shepherd pups came bounding into the room, followed by a timid 10-month-old shepherd-boxer mix. Then, in came Duce. He was three times the size of his little pup picture. At 28lbs, he is almost as large as 39lb Sadie. His paws were the size of my hand. (Great pyrs can get as large as 155lbs) He was petrified. He quickly found a table to hide under, his back up against the wall, his tall in between his legs. We knew we had to take him.
After a quick rename to Bumble (ala the Abominable Snow Monster in Rudolph, due to his fluffiness, colors and eventual size), we spent the next twenty minutes trying to get him outside. He was scared of everything – the hallway, the pavement, the grass. Slowly, we got him into the backseat of the car with me. He seemed comfortable with me petting him and soon laid down. We brought him home and, in typical Sadie fashion, she came barreling out of the house. He dropped his head and tail, quick to be submissive to anyone or thing around him. After a few sniffs, Sadie showed her disinterest and continued trying to get us to throw the Frisbee for her.
We brought Bumble inside and introduced him to his other foster sisters, one of which was very friendly while the other two played the scaredy cat card. He quickly warmed up to us, following us if we left the room or coming over for attention. We brought him to the back yard and saw his playful side as he hopped and sprinted around. His first overnight was rough, as we made the mistake of setting up his coop in the living room and not upstairs in our bedroom. We paid for that by listening to him bark and whine most of the night. (We quickly remedied our mistake, bringing him upstairs the next night, where he slept peacefully, waking up to whine only once, alerting us that he needed to go outside.)
When we turned a baseball game on tv that evening, he jumped up. How adorable, I thought! “Look, Jay! He loves baseball just like us!” And then, he put his tail between his legs and walked backwards into the corner. That’s when we realized that he probably had never seen or heard a tv before.
We were reminded that this poor baby has never been in a home when we tried to walk him up the stairs. He was so scared. The first time we tried to get him down, I ended up having to carry him because I was going to be late for work. Three days later and he’s got them down like a champ now.
He has had no accidents and is quickly becoming acclimated with his coop. Bumble and Sadie are becoming quick friends, as Sadie has realized that she now has someone to play chase and tag with her outside. He is really opening up, becoming so affectionate with both myself and Jason. My sister visited yesterday and we were interested to see how he would be with a stranger. He took his cues from Sadie, who charged over at her, excited to have a new person in the house to give her a few pats and ball tosses. He was licking and loving my sister up. I felt like a proud mama.
Bumble’s picture is up on the Homeward Bound Dog Rescue site (listed as Duce). We will also be bringing him to adoption clinics on Saturdays. He is turning into the sweetest little pup. I teared up last night, thinking about letting him go. But, as someone at the rescue said, I just have to remember that when he goes to his forever home, that leaves room in ours to save another dog in need. Along with Sadie, Jason and I are teaching him how to be the perfect dog.
If you or someone you know is interested in adopting our Bumble (he’s starting to learn his name, so don’t even think about changing it), please let me know (Or, not. Then we’ll just HAVE to keep him. Bummer.)