Things were not looking very favorable when I rescued Paris and his brother Hector from a dumpster site last year. The little pups had teeth and fur and had obviously been abandoned at the trash dump in the hope that someone would take them home.
I did. They had their first trips to the vet the next day and got their puppy shots and worming. Pups like these are at the “chew the house down stage,” and had to be confined to the kitchen until they became more civilized some three months later. Obviously litter mates, Paris continued to look like a pit bull; but his brother Hector was shaped and colored more like a black Lab. They made a salt and pepper pair, as Scotties often are.
Early on they wound up in trouble with the law. Paris, apparently the instigator, took to leading Hector off in miles-long wood rambles. They were often found across a paved 4-lane highway in a person’s yard who owned two German Shepherds who, she said, would kill them if they could get at them. Certainly from the amount of barking that was going on they acted as if they had that intent.
The longest they were gone was four days when a thunderstorm came, washed out their scent trail and they could not find their way back home. Friends and neighbors also brought them back even though they were sometimes wet and muddy.
I had a dog pen which I renovated and attempted to confine them in it during the mornings when they were most apt to take off. I hated to keep them penned all the time and let them out when I was working in the yard or when I thought it was so hot that they would not be interested in running. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it did not.
The dogs’ personalities were always different. Paris was the more affectionate and wanted to crawl into your skin with you or even with strangers – which does not sound like what most people think a Pit Bull would be like. Hector was also affectionate, but not so much. He was physically larger than his brother, and he developed a more square-shaped head and snout, typical of Labs.
I had house trained them starting with a steel kennel in the kitchen, then letting them into the living room, but kept them in these two rooms of the house. Although it took longer for Paris, in time they became less destructive and came to recognize what was “doggy stuff” vs. “daddy stuff.” I had to make trips from time to time and could travel with Hector, but Paris had to stay at the vet. Hector in the meantime was welcomed at a friend’s house where he served as a companion to Charley, a much larger mixed breed dog that weighs about 100 pounds compared to Hector’s 30 pounds. These two now have play dates when I fly out from Atlanta on business trips. He is also welcomed at a nursing home where he visits with my friend’s mother.
The only solution that I saw was to separate the two dogs. I asked to see if anyone would take Paris, including on the web, and got one response each from Alaska and Wisconsin – not very practical from a logistical point of view. I had a long trip coming and was to the point of putting Paris down, rather than boarding him out and still facing the run-away problem when I returned home. I was to leave on Saturday and would kill him on Friday before I left. Paris was a good dog and would make a fine companion, if I could find an appropriate owner.
By this time I was talking to everyone I ran into about the dog. One of those people was a cashier at a local store. She said that her favorite dog had been a Pitt Bull and she had never had a more affectionate, loving dog. I told her that Paris fitted this description. For a time she hesitated, then agreed. There was a potential problem that she also had three kittens that she had sort of inherited. Nonetheless, she agreed to take him and either keep him herself or find another home for him.
Paris knew something was up, but did not know quite what. If there was ever a look of apprehension on a dog’s face I think that this picture captures it.
There was a miscommunication and the lady could not find the way to my house on the day she was supposed to come to see him. Ultimately, we reconnected and I positioned Paris on the back porch to meet his new owner. I gave her his rabies papers, and she said she would come back the next day to get him.
The return visit was brief. We talked about dog food, feeding times, methods of confinement, being house broken, and I had questions about her kittens. Paris, now about a year old, with powerful jaws could easily kill a kitten if he were inclined. I offered to lend her a dog crate, but it would not fit into her car.
Paris seemed ready to go and snuggled up beside his new owner in the vehicle, just as he did with me when he was in my truck. As they drove away, I imagined that I would get a phone call in the night having to do with the dog, but none came.
About mid-morning the next day my phone did ring. Paris’ new owner said that they had got through the night fine, and she just wanted to know what shampoo I used on him, as Pitts have sensitive skins. This information was exchanged. From later conversations at the store the issue with the kittens has been resolved. They have apparently learned to “play nice” with each other. When one of the kittens gets too rambunctious Paris will grab him by the neck and hold him softly, just to let it know that it is time to calm things down a bit. From all indications Paris is adjusting quite well in his new surroundings and has been taken into a loving household.
Hector, who had never been separated from his brother for more than a few days, obviously missed him; but during the next week became accustomed to there being just he and me in the house. Most significantly, I can leave him in the yard, and he is staying close to home. I had a latent fear that perhaps I had sent the wrong dog away, and Hector would run by himself. That was not the case and this dog issue that took a year to resolve ended happily for all.