March 12, 2014 —
The first time Emily asked me what I thought about getting another dog I deflected the question.
Faithful readers will know that Emily and I have a French bulldog named Madeline. She’s getting on in years, and Emily had been reading that adding a young dog into the mix is known to extend an old dog’s life.
It was hard to argue with the logic, but the whole endeavor just sounded like a lot of work. Emily seemed determined and began sending me extremely cute photos of her holding various French bulldogs.
Growing up, I had a large golden retriever/chow mutt named Dodger. He was an amazing dog and a huge part of my childhood.
“Maybe we should get a rescue,” I offered, not being wild about participating in the puppy mill culture. “There are so many great dogs that need homes,” I said.
She agreed, but added that French bulldogs are her favorite.
Time passed, and we didn’t get one.
A few weeks ago Emily found out about a dog that needed a home. So-and-so had to move and had lost their job, and now couldn’t take care of their dog. It desperately needed a home, and quick. The best news? It was a two-year-old French bulldog named Bailey.
“It’s a rescue,” Emily said with a grin.
All of my red flags seemed to have answers…
“A puppy chews on everything.” (“It’s two years old and not a puppy.”)
“It takes a lot of time to house train a dog.” (“It’s already trained.”)
“Actually, the vet said it’s a really good situation given the fact that it’s not a puppy; it’ll be easier for Maddy to keep up.”
I was all out of excuses. Plus the photo of this little guy was pretty cute.
Emily got back to the folks that we were interested and we’d like to meet Bailey. Then we didn’t hear anything for a while. Perhaps the guy decided to keep him after all, we surmised. Perhaps his circumstances changed.
Last Thursday, they asked if we would take it for a trial run over the weekend, literally the next day. It was back on. And so I met Bailey after work in the living room of our apartment. He was definitely freaked out, but we hit it off right away and he is currently curled up on my feet. (Bailey is still at that awkward stage of figuring out his own body; I watched him sneeze, hit his head on the floor and then give out a surprised yelp.)
Maddy did not seem very happy for the first day or two. There were a few moments of growling, but for the most part she was just giving Bailey the cold shoulder. But then late last night I saw her initiate a game of tug of war with him for the first time. I nervously watched, wondering if I would hear a growl and the whole thing turn ugly. I did not and it didn’t.
Two leashes now wait by the door instead of one, and now I’m the guy walking TWO French bulldogs down the street. I’ve seen that guy before, and in all my thoughts about myself I never imagined becoming him.
But after a few days of it, I’m here to report that people on the street are real nice to that guy. I’d go so far as to say that they are happy to see him. I’ve learned there is nothing like two smiling Frenchies to warm the hearts of even the coldest New York strangers I pass on the street.