I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a (positive) stalking problem. I follow tons of rescues and shelters and I constantly look at (and sometimes visit with the dogs they have). I have done this for years and years and years. It’s not that I was always looking, it’s just that you never know. Visit a shelter dog, you won’t be sorry! A lot of time I will see a dog that will be great for someone I know, and a campaign is started.
Before Melvin got sick, I was seriously considering a third dog. The parameters for that dog were that it would fit personality wise, and hopefully it would be a dog we could help (I was looking at elders). In the third dog scenario, it was easier, Melvin would be there to help me. I’d be responsible for training and controlled chaos, and Melvin could take the lead on showing them the dog routine. One key personality feature was always going to be, ‘don’t need/like to play’. 1. Because Melvin didn’t play. The only living creature he ever play-bowed to was me. And 2. Jake doesn’t play normal. His idea of playing is face and leg biting. Also, with all his spine issues, Jake’s not even supposed to hop off a low bench let alone roll around with another dog.
Now that I look to our future and know that eventually, the next dog will come. I have been thinking about the differences between that third dog search versus the now second dog search. It is different. It feels a little complicated.
In the now second dog scenario, there is no Melvin. Where Melvin was a born leader, Jake is a born follower, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if I bring a new dog into the house and a give a command, Jake is not going to take the lead. He’s going to wait for the new dog to pull up and then he’ll hop into the sidecar. So I need the driver of that sidecar to be a dog that can become a good lead. Also, from a behavior standpoint…Jake with Melvin, not an issue. Jake without Melvin, well that is a brand new world and it’s not always pretty when we are talking about other dogs. I have a good sense of dogs that would do well with Jake. I lived with one for seven years.
So obviously from this post you are sensing that I have been testing out the waters. It’s true. Jake actually had a meet and greet with an English Bulldog named Stanley last week. (I mean Stanley? How perfect can a name be?) And Stanley is an awesome dog. He was surrendered at 4 (he’s almost five) because he couldn’t keep food or water down (most people take their dogs to the vet but his family just tied him up outside and hoped for the best). He was taken in by a local rescue, he got palate surgery. He is healing nicely and coming into his new life of happiness. AWESOME DOG! Jake did great meeting him in our backyard (Jake did less great having Stanley in our house but that we could have worked with). There was a moment when I thought, maybe this is it. But here is the reason Stanley didn’t work for us. As Stanley is coming into joy, he is realizing how much fun playing can be. There was a moment when Stanley was the bowling ball and Jake was the pins (all in good fun) and I suddenly realized that one day with Stanley, and Jake would be a quadriplegic. The rescue ladies agreed that Stanley was a threat to Jake’s ability to remain upright. So we chatted and they said they would keep us in mind for any dogs that came in that might be older or less playful.
They left and I did two things. 1. I cried. I still face painful realities about Melvin being gone. I still want it to be Melvin and Jake and the fact is, eventually it’s going to be Jake and another dog. That cry was healing (tears come for a reason). Those tears turned into pride. We’d gotten back out there. We were trying. And that is a lot. We will find the right, next forever. And I have faith that dog will be a little reminder of Melvin (and that will be a good thing for everyone) and a lot of their own self. That dog will probably also be older than four.
Until then, we stalk!
This is Stanley. He is super cool and he is going to make somebody so happy! If you think that someone is you, he is available through On the Rebound Bulldog Rescue (VA, DC, MD).