I have an affinity for mutant pets. All the pets I have ever owned have had something horribly wrong with them. I currently own two cats. Puddy is an old orange cat with emotional eating problems and a serious addiction to catnip and tissue paper. Soda Fish is a Bengal mix cat with a gimpy paw, head injury and missing tooth. He likes to gum the couch when he thinks no one is looking.
I went to the Vancouver SPCA with the intent of breaking this pattern. I wanted a small young, healthy, well adjusted dog to add to my menagerie of Chrysalides pets at home. When I got there, the SPCA adoption gal Anne-Marie said, “Oh no….you don’t want that type of dog. I have the dog for you.”
She led me to his cage. Inside, was not my dog. This dog was old, sad, and huge. His name was Brutus and he was a Rottweiler/ lab mix. Unfortunately for Brutus, all the cute parts of both breeds missed his gene pool. Think big, black drooling devil dog and you have Brutus. Anne-Marie suggested I take him for a walk. At 85 pounds of pull power, he more or less took me for a walk. The entire time, Brutus did not look at me or wag his tail. This was not my dog. I retuned Brutus to the shelter and lied to Anne-Marie that I liked him but felt we didn’t connect so he would be best in another home.
The following week, I continued to think of Brutus. I kept checking the SPCA website to see if he was still there and every day I was met with his sad, drooling picture. The next Saturday, with the image of this big, devil dog haunting me, I drove back to the SPCA to take him for another walk. By then, Anne-Marie had more information on him. Brutus had been chained outside by previous owners and neglected. He also had a list of other problems: infected teeth, hypothyroidism, social anxiety, stubbornness, fear of noises and dog acne. This was seriously not my dog!
I took him out for a walk anyway and, for about 20 minutes, he pulled me around the area. Then we sat on the lawn near the shelter and I looked at him closely. He avoided eye contact for the longest time. Then, he quickly looked me in the eyes and gave me the smallest of tail wags. Sigh. With that, I was smitten. This was totally my dog.
I adopted him that day. Since then, I have learned a lot more about Brutus.
Things I now know about my new old dog
- He is a wimp. He is terrified of the cats. (Although, they do “work it” by circling him slowly when he is trying to sleep.)
- He loves bunnies and will chase them if given the chance. If you are holding the leash when this happens, it means you will also be chasing bunnies by default.
- He likes to wedge his 85 pound body onto my tiny loveseat and pretend to look comfortable.
- His tail wag could be declared a lethal weapon. It can clear the coffee table with a single sweep.
- His devil dog appearance terrifies the good people of Kitsilano and they will pull their designer dogs away from him. Perhaps if he had a more hipster name like Tristan or Toby and wore a bandana scarf they would be more okay with him. Chances of that happening is 0%
- He has a brain aneurism if you pick up a stick and look like you might throw it. His greatest joy in life is chasing a stick.
- He whimpers when he is happy. He whimpers when he is sad. He whimpers.
- Finally, he is a wonderful dog with a great loving personality. I am very proud to say “Yes. This is my big old devil dog.”
Thanks Anne-Marie and the fine folks at the Vancouver SPCA. You were totally right. Brutus is the perfect dog for me.