We may be getting a new dog.
This isn't something I wanted to do- Kenya, our current dog, isn't a fellow dog lover. She's 14 and never really enjoyed sharing a house with other dogs. The Shar Pei puppy that we took home with us (because it was only 4 weeks old when dumped in a snow bank) would have been horrifically abused by her had we permitted it, mainly because of jealousy, and the puppy was certainly in no shape to defend itself. So we let another Humane Society volunteer take it home to raise for a month or three before coming back to be adopted, but that became the forever home. She had some issues with Beauford, our beloved basset-beagle mix that came to us already dang near blind, deaf, and arthritic. Beauford behaved wonderously with Kenya, and she soon quit the dominance display attempts, and the jealousy. We've always wanted another basset-beagle mix or a basset rescue since Beauford passed on- we only had the old duffer for a glorious year. I have the basset rescue site bookmarked, and I look longingly at the dogs often. We haven't wanted to have another dog just yet. 4 cats plus one dog is a lot of pets.
This dog is a Jack Russell Terrier. With Papers. JRTs are notorious high energy dogs. They are hyper, intelligent, hyper, bundles of energy, clever at inventing games when left alone, need frequent playing sessions, destructive if bored, charming, small and easily excitable dogs. I am not a high energy person. Neither is my husband. Kenya has two modes... mildly interested and asleep, and fits well in our lifestyle. If given my choice of any dog breed in the world to have, I would not in good conscience choose a JRT.
His name is Tyson. His story is far too fucking typical. JRTs are the embodiment of short-haired cute. He was in the window of the pet shop, putting on a show and yet managing sad and pathetic, as a puppy can. Our friend bought the puppy because "he felt sorry for it" and "didn't think anyone else would buy it." When he told my husband and I that he had gotten a dog and mentioned the breed, I informed him of the need for JRTs to have lots and lots and lots of exercise, and was he prepared to do that? He said no. But he could not resist buying the dog, at a price that assured him the registration papers were real. The dog spends the entire day Cliff is at work in the crate. He sleeps in the crate all night. If Cliff goes to school or goes out in the evening, the dog is barely out of the crate enough to potty outside. If the dog was left alone in the house outide of the crate, he'd shred the furniture. Duh. He's a high energy dog, bored out of his gourd. Cliff is moving. He found a place to live for two months between his eviction from his apartment to moving into his new house (without a fenced yard) and that temporary place won't let him bring the dog.
He knows us and how we feel about our animals. Do I need to say he wants us to dogsit while he's in the temporary housing? Do I need to say he'd love for us to take the dog permanently? Do I need to say that he hasn't thought beyond other options for the dog besides us or euthanasia like we want or deserve that sort of treatment? Add to that another friend informed us that his cat Shelby had been adopted out of the no-kill shelter where we got Tom. Shelby was Sassy's roommate at Fat Camp. We sent our fat Sassy over to live with them for a year. I paid for all of the diet cat food plus her vet bills and visited often - Sassy was still OUR cat. I made friends with Shelby. Had I known he was going to even consider ditching his cat, I'd have first beat him upside the head, and then taken the cat. And yes, we don't need another cat. But neither does the shelter. Shelby had to be 5+ and that does limit the adoptability.
I am going to contact the JRT rescue group. At the very least, I will get advice on how to deal with Tyson. He was over here to visit (with owner present) for quite a while. Kenya did display jealousy, but did not do anything aggressive or abusive. (she whined when Tyson was the only one getting attention. She snapped at the air if he came close to touching her. She did nothing worse. She did not seek his company for any reason, and he did not force himself on her either). He got on well with Sassy immediately. She licked his ear the first time he bounded over. Spider ignored him. He may not have met Pepe, who hid from the company. Tom, on the other hand, showed him Tom was boss, without even offering a claw. Tyson explored the basement (we leave the door open and there are litter boxes down there). Tom decided he would make a point, and sat at the top of the steps and refused to let Tyson back upstairs. For more than 45 minutes. No injury was offered. No growling. Just an evil one-eyed stare from Tom, every time Tyson tried to bounce up the stairs. The impasse was solved by human intervention. Otherwise, I think he'd still be down there.
Tyson will make a few more visits here this week and next. We shall see how it goes. The next biggest concern will be housetraining. He drank all of the water bowl and widdled twice on the rug in different spots. He was playing with the water while drinking, and everyone was watching him, so he kept doing it until his bladder was full. Then he didn't ask to go out, he just widdled. Housetraining is always harder with smaller dogs. Tyson is about 18 months old.
But I confess, the whole buying a dog because it's cute is No Fucking Excuse if you don't think about how this highly dependent on you thing works. Buying a breed that doesn't fit your lifestyle is stupid. I don't care how cute it is. I don't care how much you may think no one else will buy it. If no one bought pet shop dogs, there no longer would be a market for puppy mills, and they'd STOP. The only way to permanently erase the blight of puppy mills is to STOP BUYING DOGS FROM PET SHOPS.
If you want a pet, Think about your lifestyle. If you go out of town regularly, like I do, what are you going to do with your pet while you are gone? If you spend 12 hours in the office, what will the animal do while you are gone? Dogs need regular trips outside unless you teach them to use a litter box or other designated locale. Dogs need exercise and human interaction. They crave our attention and if you don't have time for a dog or the ability to offer adequate care, DON'T GET A DOG. Don't get any pet you can't adequately commit to and keep for the rest of its natural life. Older pets are simply not as adoptable.
I adore getting older pets. They already come housetrained. They often know tricks and their personality and needs are well established. I know what to expect. Puppies and kittens are moldable to a certain extent and will change their attitudes and learn. Puppies and kittens also have the cute factor working for them. People find it harder to resist the baby.However, that doesn't mean they should not!