Mighty Mouse arrived on Friday afternoon. I love the women from the rescue group– they are so NORMAL. Just passionate about savings dogs. They’re not all socially awkward or hating-on-humans like some of the oddball rescue and shelter people I’ve met over the years. Whew. Two of them came by to drop off Mighty and set up his crate and everything, and we just hung out and chatted as Hurley got to know the little guy.
It went exceptionally well. Within about 20 minutes, Mighty was play-bowing to Hurley and they were hopping towards one another playfully. As for the cats, they were kind of MIA while the women were there, but Gremlin did venture out and Mighty just glanced at him and looked away. Good sign. When Simon did the same a little later, he was also tolerated well.
He slept very well in his crate. Didn’t make a sound, except for when Hurley heard a noise and ran out to the kitchen to investigate and bark. Mighty joined in on that, because he is a dog. Anyway, it didn’t last long and everything was fine.
He’s been a very good little dog. He did try to mark in the house within the first couple of hours he was there, and I had to put him outside and obliterate the smell. He hasn’t done that since, thank goodness. (And if he has, I haven’t found it yet, which is an ominous thought. But it’s kind of par for the course with a new male dog in the house. I’ll deal.) The one thing he did was chase the cats anytime he saw them. He’d go tearing down the hallway, not barking or anything, just chasing. I stopped him every time, and he did listen. He’d look over at me with his ears down like, “I wasn’t gonna do nuthin'” and come trotting back to me for approval.
My mom and sister came over around lunchtime on Saturday; I was really anxious for them to meet the little guy. This was because I could already tell this was a very good dog. Very, very sweet and happy, and with the exception of the cat-chasing thing, very well-behaved. I think I was already falling for him, but I was firm with myself all day: I will NOT adopt this dog. I won’t. I am fostering him. Now, if my Mom or sister wanted to adopt him, that would be totally great…
To say he was received well by my Mom and sister would be an understatement. They loved him. Almost immediately. And when they saw how he and Hurley interacted, it was like a little yellow “caution” light that had been flashing up until that moment was turned off. “Mom thinks you need to keep him,” my sister said to me in the kitchen.
A little while later, Mom said the same thing directly to me. My sister was very interested in adopting him herself, though, so that was the way I wanted to try to go first.
I guess it’s his personality. He’s pretty young– no idea of his exact age, just like Hurley– but he has a certain easygoing attitude that definitely is complimentary with Hurley. He’s not an alpha dog, and he seems to be looking up to Hurley (literally and figuratively) to see what to do. He keeps walking up to Hurley and licking Hurl’s face! Just a little “mwahh, I like you!” kiss. Yesterday I was lounging around on my bed with Hurley and Mighty hopped up there with us, and he settled down up against Hurley’s back and ended up flopping his head back so it was lying in Hurley’s fur. It was so damn cute. I’ve yet to have a dog that behaves this way with Hurley. I think Mighty wants to be near him; wants to cuddle and also wants Hurley to protect him.
I took them on a walk on Saturday night and it was pretty funny. Mighty wanted to walk right up against Hurley, as close as possible. I let Hurley’s lead out a little so he was in front, and Mighty was behind him, so they both were on the inside of the sidewalk and could pee on things. Mighty’s great on a leash. However, when a dog would bark from behind a fence as we walked past, Mighty would quickly skip ahead so he could get next to Hurley again! After it happened three times, I realized what he was doing. He probably felt safer with the big, fluffy dog blocking him from danger! And Hurley took all of this as an opportunity to showboat. It was like “oh, now I have backup, so I’m going to tell those dogs how tough I am, rawr rawr rawr!” Honestly, as I was correcting him, I was also laughing because it was just so silly and so unlike him. What a tough guy.
That night, Mighty cried and whined in the crate for a few minutes after we all went to bed, but he did calm down and go to sleep. I heard a tiny, soft whimper here and there. Awww.
Yesterday he had breakthroughs with Gremlin. The two of them had been face to face numerous times already, since Grem is genuinely interested in Mighty. He still runs at Gremlin, but Grem turns sideways, arches his back and looks back at Mighty like, “Watch it, pal. That’s close enough.” His tail doesn’t get fat anymore. He’s just letting Mighty know the boundaries. I am proud of Gremlin. He’s been very bold, and he’s holding his ground without being a bastard about it.
Simon is another story. He makes me sad! He’s pretty spooked by Mighty. That’s because Mighty really scared him and caught him off-guard as we were all sitting in the living room. Simon was gazing out the front door, when Mighty suddenly flew off my lap and ran right at him! It happened so fast! Simon took off and Mighty followed, and I had to yell to get him to stop chasing him. After that, Simon’s bravery was shrinking. He hid under my bed and in the windowsill in my room.
And yet, he is also curious about the little dog. He keeps creeping around, eyes big and nose moving as he sniffs towards the dog, but once Mighty spots him, he takes off after him. I think to Mighty, it’s a game: chase that one orange cat, because it always runs. What Simon needs to do now is stop and give Mighty a piece of his mind– set the limits, like Gremlin did. I’m sure he’ll do it eventually, but it sucks in the meantime. I just feel bad for Simon. I know he’s freaked out and not eating like usual. If he walks past Mighty’s crate, he hisses at it. Simon was super cuddly with me last night as I fell asleep; curled up on my left side, really close. He’s not a sleep-on-the-bed cat, usually.
So, let’s get down to the crux of it, shall we?
I am probably going to adopt this dog.
AND I SAID I WOULD NOT DO THAT. I was firm with myself, I really was. I believed it! I still believe I can do it. Just… maybe not with this particular dog. I might not be able to let him go. I know my sister totally wants him to be in our family, and in fact would like to almost do a “timeshare” thing for lack of a better word: She wants to take him for the weekend here and there so she and BIL can get some practice being dog owners before they take the plunge themselves. My Mom is also adamant that he stay, citing how good he gets along with Hurley.
I have mixed emotions about all of this. I honestly feel like I’m heading towards animal-hoarding territory here if I have two cats and two dogs! I’m only one person! That’s a lot of pets for one person, in my opinion. It was enough when I added Gremlin over the summer. The family felt complete. And it still feels complete. I don’t know how Mighty fits into the picture, exactly, when we already had everyone we needed. But in some ways, he kind of DOES fit in. Even though we didn’t plan on him, he’s not a bad thing, necessarily.
I’m thinking this through and oscillating between keeping him and letting him be adopted out, and I’ll need to let the rescue president know in a few days or so which way I am leaning. She’ll need to put him up on the website soon if he’s going up for adoption.
If I let him go, I can foster another dog. And maybe another after that. I don’t want to be the foster who “fails” on the first placement! Although, D assured me that this is totally normal and happens all the time. Every person who is a foster for that group has dogs of their own now that were once fosters. “Sometimes, the dog just fits so well you can’t imagine someone else owning him or her,” she said. Argh.
If I keep him, D said she’d be super happy because that means one of their dogs has a loving home. She only cares about the dogs being saved, and getting into forever homes. Even if it means “losing” a perfectly good home for future fosters, she doesn’t care about that. I believe her. She made me feel a lot better when I talked to her yesterday.
So, where am I right this second? Well, I went to Petco on my lunch hour and bought a water bottle for his crate, and a bag of soft squeaky balls since he likes to run after toys. I don’t plan to have the rescue reimburse me for these things.
I just might have four pets by the end of this week.
Son of a bitch.