I didn’t need another dog. but you looked just like him (or so I thought). We did a meet up in a park. I had pictured you a two as kindred spirits meeting at last, but both of you were entirely ambivalent.
You looked like a hairy fruit bat or some kind of black fox with a skin condition. Your hair was sparse and wiry and stuck out at really odd angles. I called you my woodland creature because you didn’t seem very dog.
Your foster home has already had enough of you so I agreed to take you in as a temporary thing. At home you paced the floors for two hours. Tracing lines around the perimeter, the furniture, the corners. I was told you were an escape artist. Watching you was exhausting. I sat on the couch with Alfie while you wore a path like a caged animal. I didn’t know what to do with you.
Then Alfie, who tends to be perceptive when you least expect him to be, jumped off the couch, blocked your path with his stubby legs and growled at you. He wanted play. You were distracted for a moment and from then everything was different.
He decided I should keep you. And so we did.
You still wear your past like a nervous, twitching, seething shroud of anxiety. I worry about your first 12 months and why it made you pant and pace. When I hold you, you make unsettling noises like a child crying. One year in with us and you are still not really a cuddler but you are learning to relax, slowly. You are sleeping more these days.
You have no sense of personal space, you lick too enthusiastically, you don’t seem to know where you begin and end. You get obsessed about things like the front door, orange rubber balls, and swallows. But you’re smart: the smartest dog I’ve owned. When you run people hold their breath – you might be tiny but you’re also the fastest thing I’ve seen.
I like that when Alfie is being lazy, you will bite him on the bottom just to get a reaction. But later, when the two of you curl up together at night or when you lick his face each morning, I know that it is only in jest. You’re family now.
Of the two of you, you are the naughty one. You chase butterflies; you hunt flies and rats and possums. I’ve seen you lick bees. You steal things out of the dishwasher and take them outside. You like decorating the yard with all your bowerbird finds and the tiny pieces of things you have chewed into bits.
You even ate the rat poison that the previous owner left hidden in our new house. Then you brought what was left into the lounge where you chewed off huge chunks on my new rug. I was mad at you but it turns out you saved both Alfie and you in that moment and for that I will be forever grateful.
I’m not sure why they didn’t want you or why you were surrendered or handed from home to home but I’m glad you found ours my little, weird, hairy Boo.
Note – Boo is my second rescue dog, adopted as an adult from Leema Rescue. Both my dogs are just two of thousands of abandoned dogs that need loving homes in SA each year. If you’re thinking of getting a dog get one of these.