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18. When your dog breaks up with you :(

As a pup in Carolina Beach, North Carolina

I am the proud owner of a 14 year old dog. I know though, true love can never be possession, so in reality I am only his caretaker in life. My wife and I found him and his nine siblings on a walk one day in Wilmington, North Carolina. We were in the market for a boxer but what can I say, it was love at first sight. Lucky for us, we were the first people to get there and got the pick of the litter. Based on temperance tests my wife researched we picked our little guy. Or maybe he picked us.

What’s in a name? Big pawed with sweet brown eyes, the name Anthony came to mind, The Sopranos still a show popular show in its second season off the air. So Tony joined our little family of two. Aside to a few bathroom accidents, and eating one of my flash drives, he was a dream for a first timer like me.

Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Tony likes beds. More specifically, he likes having beds to himself. This was kind of the beginning of the end for me. At first a loyal bed mate, Tony started ‘crowding me’. That is, he would used his muscular American Bulldog body to lightly, and sometimes imperceptibly, nudge me into a corner of my own bed. On discovering this Tony would lay out and become suddenly difficult to re-position. It was as if he had the property of sticking to a bed, and becoming more heavy than his 80 pound frame.

After a while, he just stopped coming to visit me. He began with spending a few minutes in bed, then getting out and going downstairs, Then he would spend a minute with me. Sooner or later Tony was not coming upstairs to visit me at all. Although he was entirely cordial, it was clear something within his doggy soul had changed. He had broken up a ten year bed mate relationship.

First some background. I’m from New York City, and as exciting as it was to live there we suffered some drawbacks. That is instead of dogs us city folks had, you guessed it, cats. Cat’s are smart, we all know that, and the only thing worse than living with a cat is when you can not have a dog. See, the cat itself knows they are the only thing available on some hind brain level. I like to think of the movie A Beautiful Mind, and a version of the John Nash equilibrium but with cats. So the cat learns they can do almost anything it wants, including becoming a fascist dictator in the home, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Because where I grew up you could not replace a wonton cat with a loving dog.

To further clarify, the co-operative apartment complex I was raised in had a dog ban. This might sicken some reading this blog, for obvious reasons. Fortunately saner heads prevailed and now with a letter from a doctor an ESA (emotional support animal) waiver can be obtained, and this archaic nonsense rule can easily be bypassed.

Tony in the backyard, looking at home amongst the greenery.

Still an excellent pet for his care of our young daughter, athleticism, and Buddha vibe, Tony had become old, somewhat distant, but soulful. This was about the time Mel and I thought about another dog. At the Pound Buddies Rescue Mission we found a potential adoptee names Klaus. He was a part pit bull rescue with a handsome face, and both Kate and Maya (my daughters) did not threaten him. All went well in the rescue process until Klaus met Tony and growled at him. A bit heart breaking, we learned later that another loving family came along and adopted Klaus, who now has a home and owners with which he is happy.

What do to here? Enter Google. serendipity had brought us Tony but a smart search would produce our next canine buddy. First I searched top dog breeds. Naturally Mel and I were not going to go with the number one breed unless we wanted it, but it turned out we did. A next door neighbor of ours has two Labrador retrievers. Not stellar athletes like Tony, they were sweet to kids, of sound temperament, and affordable so we were told. We’d try this route.

The results of a local search for breeders yielded a few local Lab breeders. The problem was, we had to find a breeder who was collecting deposits on a pregnant mamma dog. After a very short time of doing my home work, I came across a gem; Mother Pupper Labradours. Mel made the initial visit once the pups were born and insisted that I come along to choose our next dog after the initial time period of maternal separation was completed.

A litter of white Labs at breeder

Our whole family making the trip to Zeeland, we were instructed to sit on the floor and let the baby pups find us. Find us they did, because in just a few minutes a little pup named Babo was nipping at my socked foot. He was not biting hard, but in a playful, social way. So we had our dog.

I guess it can be surmised from this story that searching for a second dog name is not super hard if you know what you’re looking for. Weeks before we watched Monty Python’s comedy classic Holy Grail, and for some reason we kept replaying the Tim the Enchanter clip on you tube. What specifically cracked us up, wife kids, everybody was how he said his name. “There are some who call me…Tim?” Phrased like a question, John Cleese’ reply to Arthur King of the Britains’ question is simply outrageous.

At first, things were not peaceful in the home. For the first few weeks Tony had the upper hand. Yet Timmy grew a bit and came back at Tony strong. But the brother hood of canines is a marvelous thing, and sooner or later they came together.

One thing about dogs which is unique, is they are the earth species most likely to help out other species (boo to felines). So of course, they will help each other out. This is what eventually happened between these two guys, they kept each other company. Hardly inseparable, there have been some sweet moments. They also both look out for strangers walking up our driveway, and keep us thoroughly entertained.

My advice if a dog breaks up with you? Get them a friend. It helps the entire household out, if you can stand having two, that is.

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