The Dog Quest

It’s been four years since I lost my soul-dog, the beloved Bossy Little Dog, Murphy.

Oh look, here he is on the gross old balcony carpet! This was in 2015, shortly before he began his final decline – he was 15 in this picture.

I still had Sophie of course, and she adjusted pretty well to being an only dog. Murphy wasn’t much company for her in the last months of his life.

So she was an only dog for almost a year, until I woke up one day with an urge to get a kitten. (Spoiler alert: I did not get a kitten.) Ellie fit into the household like she was meant to be; she’s smart, affectionate, well behaved, and everything a cat should be. She is the Finest Cat Who Ever Catted. But, she’s not a dog. She is good company for Sophie, but it’s not the same.

My downstairs neighbor had her adult daughter staying with her temporarily; her daughter has a precious little Yorkie mix (she was told it was purebred, but naah) and Sophie fell in love with her. They moved out a couple of weeks ago, and Sophie still pauses in the courtyard to see if her little friend is there. She’d love to have another small doggie friend, and I think it would be good for her health.

Sophie is now 10 and a half, she’s had some health issues and is now starting to develop cataracts. She’s basically at the stage Murphy was in when I brought Sophie into the family – he was around 9 and just starting his battle with lymphangiectasia, and she was a year old, given up by a show breeder who just had too many Bostons. They felt she wasn’t getting enough attention in the crowd, so she became mine. It was a great match from day one, and Murphy went from acting like a droopy old man focused on his digestive troubles to his fun, bossy self overnight. I swear she added years to his life with her companionship.

BFFs in their youth, about 10 years ago! God, time flies!

So I’ve had great luck with blending new animals into the family so far, and I want to do it again. I’ve been looking, but damn, it’s hard! I know it’s hard because I’m somewhat picky: I want a young adult, preferably 5 years or younger, with no chronic health issues right off the bat, because I already have an expensive health issues dog. It needs to get along with dogs, cats and kids, and be 20 lbs or under (preferably 15 lbs or under) so they’re compatible on walks. And it needs to have that – indefinable spark – that I see when I meet a dog that will be sympatico, and blend with the household.

Yeah. EVERY TIME a dog that fits appears in a search, it gets snatched up before I can finish filling out the inquiry form. The rest, while I’m sure would be the right dog for someone else, wouldn’t work for me:

Must be on a strict medication schedule for chronic issues;

can’t walk on a leash so must have a fenced yard;

must have someone at home all day because of severe separation anxiety (boy, there’s a lot of that)

and the far too frequent refrain: Must be an Only Dog. No Cats, No Kids please.

So, apparently a lot of small dogs are given up for adoption because they are high maintenance assholes. One of the bios of an otherwise suitable-sounding shih tzu mix actually described him as high maintenance, and said he’ll be aggressive with other dogs while demanding all of your attention. They didn’t use the word “asshole,” but I could read between the lines.

Yesterday alone, two very promising little candidates were snatched out from under me in hours. It’s challenging and depressing, especially when my own cousin who had a Yorkie was just GIVEN another one by a friend who couldn’t keep her, and now has two happy little dogs whose pictures are all over Facebook. Grrr. I’m willing to drive all over the state for the right dog. There should be a matchmaking service.

3 thoughts on “The Dog Quest”

  1. re: small dogs being “high maintenance a**h****s: I’m convinced that it’s the people who turn these dogs this way. I’ve had 3 Shih Tzus myself, including 2 I got at an older age (but from a known and trusted person who sadly had to give up her dogs for medical reasons), and none of them have ever been high maintenance. A little easily scared by thunder, maybe. But not high maintenance. But I’ve met plenty of them that are elsewhere. I think what helps is I grew up with big dogs. My dogs are beloved family members, but they are still dogs. But I think a lot of people treat small dogs like they’re some kind of beloved toy – and it’s not good for the dog. (Also the dogs tend to be boring when they’re not being high maintenance. My dogs are anything but.) So I blame the previous owners and not the dogs themselves.

    1. I think there’s a lot of truth to that! My other theory is that small dogs with behavioral problems are disproportionately represented in rescues because that and medical issues (the dog’s, not the owners’) seem to be the main reasons people surrender them. Small dogs are accepted pretty much everywhere, but a lot of rental communities and even homeowner associations have size and/or breed restrictions, so a nice, quiet, well-behaved pit bull is automatically rejected while a really annoying yappy-snappy chihuahua gets in.

      I’m surfing various rescue websites and it’s good when the rescue is really up front about the dog’s issues. One absolutely adorable looking Havanese basically came with a warning label; the foster had to board him at the vet because he was so out of control in a home.

      The hunt continues; I came close the other day, I put in an application for what sounded like a perfect little poodle mix and got a message that I could meet her today (Saturday.) A few hours later, I got another text: “I’m sorry to tell you, but she’s been adopted.” I’ll rant about dealing with these rescues another time.

  2. Good luck with the quest. Mention it to your vet, especially the techs. They hear about all sorts of scenarios where people need to rehome a great dog.

    I am on the other end of the scenario, trying to find a home for a foster dog. It seems everyone out there is looking for a dog under 20 pounds, that doesn’t shed, bark, or need to be walked.

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