This post has very little to do with home repairs and might be an introduction to the wholesale destruction of both property and mental health.
Everybody loves their dog. Everybody thinks their dog is the world’s greatest. Heck, everyone has iron-clad proof their dog is the Best Dog Ever. So let’s accept that you have the greatest dog and we’ll spend a few minutes talking about the world’s Second Best Dog, the world’s Worst Dog, and the uphill battle to find a puppy.
Cutter John is twelve and, if you ignore the cancer, is in spectacular health for a dog not expected to live past eleven. He is slightly gray on the muzzle and his brown markings have faded to a light tan, but he eats like a horse and loves to play. I’m not delusional, though, and there’s no mistaking that he sleeps more than he used to and isn’t quite as eager to take long walks.
So after a lot of thought, we’ve decided to get a puppy. Which led to the following conversation with my father:
ME: Hi Dad, I think we’re getting a puppy.
DAD: Are you sure you don’t want to take a couple of years off after the old dog dies?
Admittedly, this sounds slightly callous unless you’ve met their dog:
Their dog was our dog for a couple of years. My father got a job in London and Brown and I fostered their eighty-pound goldendoodle while they were overseas. I literally cannot describe some of the shenanigans that monster pulled while in our care because I don’t know the names of those particular fluids.
Not only was their dog a filthspigot of legendary stature, he had a vicious streak and fought Cutter John for dominance every chance he got for three months straight. At first, the fighting worried me: one dog was eighty pounds, the other was a hundred and five, and I’m got a twenty pound advantage over Cutter John but that means very little when nearly two hundred pounds of teeth and claws are whirling around the living room. I was breaking them up using furniture. Eventually I decided I was interfering with the natural process of dogs establishing pecking order and stepped aside to let the goldendoodle get his tail handed to him over and over again. Once I backed off, they had the matter settled within a week.
(And I could go off on another full paragraph on the differences between a dominance display and a human–orchestrated dog fight, but I’m going to assume that everyone knows LOUD SNARLY GROWL WHAM WHAM GRRR OKAY WHATEVER DUDE is over in sixty seconds with little actual injury while the other ends in a burial and, ideally, criminal charges.)
All of this took place four years ago, when Cutter John was eight. Now that he’s twelve, it would be positively cruel to bring another adult dog with dominance issues into the house. Brown and I are Rottie lovers through and through… these are sturdy, loyal, intelligent dogs whose personalities mesh with our lifestyle (long walk, eight-hour nap, long walk, twelve-hour nap, etc.), but Rotties have an innate tendency towards assertiveness.
So, puppy. Meet Nameless:
I might post the process of finding Nameless at a later date, as I very much hate certain types of animal people right now. But for this post, let’s say we finally found a baby Rottie-mix young enough to grow up knowing Cutter John is the dominant dog. The pup is too young, actually, so he’s staying with mom-dog and siblings for another week. He’s a little rolly-poly male, mostly Rottweiler but with a hint of something else. We had planned to get a female to avoid that hellish adolescent male stage when the testosterone starts flowing and before the ‘nads come off, but when we went to see the litter, Nameless waddled out of the pack and sat down right in the middle of the communal food dish.
“That’s him,” Brown said.
*Thanks to Ursula for keeping this copy of The Filthspigot in Mud, as I couldn’t find it anywhere.