Clive’s little visitor this weekend was Bugsy, a three year-old rescued Boston Terrier. We noticed him on the local no-kill shelter’s Facebook page and when we inquired about him, found out several people had recommended they call us. I think that’s a credit to Clive being awesome more so than a compliment to our parenting skills.
We’ve been considering a second dog for some time. It’s not like we don’t have enough pets around here, but a friend for Clive to pal around with during the day while we’re gone would be nice, and might help him feel less lonely. The cats don’t like to pal around. They just like to throw punches and run away.
The shelter said we could bring Bugsy home for the weekend to see how he and Clive got along. We picked him up on Friday and from the moment we got home, it was a roller coaster of up-all-night no-fun.
Bugsy was given away by someone who “didn’t want him,” and then his new owners just kind of, oh you know, forgot to feed him. He could be Clive’s twin, only he’s about 7-8 pounds lighter. In addition to skeletal, it was obvious that he had been neglected in other ways because he was riddled with anxiety. His coping mechanism? Humping.
Humping can mean a lot of things in the dog world. Dominance, being newly neutered/spayed, or just part of playing around. However, humping can also be a sign of a more serious social disorder. Bugsy would not stop humping Clive, and when he did, it was because we were pulling him off of him. It almost seemed involuntary, like he just couldn’t help himself. When Neil took Clive out, Bugsy would pace and look for him, and when he finally give up, he became a totally different dog.
He played and chased me around the house, licked my face and cuddled up next to me. He was a great dog — just not the right dog for Clive/us. Clive was distressed and clearly miserable the whole time, and when he did try to play, Bugsy would just hump him. Clive would sometimes growl, but it wasn’t enough to make Bugsy stop. Clive is just too passive.
We knew to make it work, it would take nearly as much work as it took both Clive and us to overcome his anxiety issues. And then additional work to make sure Clive suffered no setbacks. There’s that feeling of selflessness and wanting to adopt this poor dog and make it work, no matter what, followed by the realization that we’d shortchange Clive. That’s not fair to him, he deserves the best of life.
I cried as I drove Bugsy back to his foster mom only a day after bringing him home. It didn’t help that the terrible Sarah Mclachlan commercial was playing on TV as I was packing up his stuff. Neil and I both felt guilty and terrible. We’re not quitters, and we don’t give up on people, especially our animal “people.” How do you reconcile that value with knowing that while you could have possibly helped, you just didn’t … want to? What makes Bugsy so different from Clive?
I’m thrilled to say that after dropping him off, Bugsy was adopted later that day (yay!). We’re excited for him and his new family, and wish them all the happiness we’ve experienced with our Boston Terrier.
As for us, we will continue to keep our eyes open for another new friend for Clive. If we keep having puppies, can I further postpone the inevitable having babies reality?