On Dec. 11, Tony and I were approved to adopt a basset from Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue, the organization through which the Gerbers got their Molly Girl back in 2007. We'd also considered getting another dog through the Humane Society, because the process had gone so smoothly and professionally when we adopted our Missy Girl. But we didn't see any pooches on the Humane Society's website that appealed to us—at least not one that was said to get along with other dogs—and I eventually decided I wasn't going to be satisifed unless we took in another basset.
We told Lisa, the adoption coordinator at Tri-State, that we were most interested in a male about 2 to 4 years old. I love the idea of adopting a senior dog, but after what we'd just gone through with our elderly boy Rudy, we weren't emotionally up for taking on a dog who we might have for only a short time. Plus, Missy, at only 3 years old, is still pretty playful, and we thought she might enjoy a more energetic playmate.
We didn't hear from Lisa for a little while, which was OK because we had lots of stuff to do around Christmas and the New Year. On Jan. 4, she said in an e-mail that she'd had a run on female dogs up for adoption before offering us a seriously cute, 7-month-old bicolor male named Aidan. We turned him down because he was too young. But I forwarded the e-mail to Tracey, David, Mike, and Matt to see whether they would fall for him. Tracey told me that everyone except her wanted to adopt Aidan. She said no, because she knew the responsibility for training him would fall on her. Tracey had liked the looks of an adult female named Bailey Girl on Tri-State's website, and she said she would have called to ask about adopting her if it hadn't said she isn't friendly toward other dogs.
I asked Lisa about Goliath, who looked a little short in the ears but otherwise big (and I really wanted a seriously big basset like Rudy; as I told Nicole, Joyce, and Lynn at work the other day: when it comes to a new basset boy, the droolier, the big pawedier, the big earedier, the better :-)), but he was already promised to someone else. She suggested 4-year-old Cooper, but I was more interested in Duncan, a 5-year-old whose owner had died. There was one problem: He's in Ohio, staying with the daughter of his owner. Cathy, Tri-State's transportation coordinator, tried to arrange to get Duncan brought closer to us so we could meet him.
We didn't hear anything for a little while, and on Wednesday, Lisa told us that Duncan's deceased owner's daughter had stopped replying to e-mails. That same day, Lisa mentioned Zeus, a housebroken 8-month-old who was living in Staten Island. Even though he was still a pup, we said we'd take a look at him. Maybe because he was so close and his photos were so cute.
On Thursday, Lisa informed us that Zeus wasn't neutered and that the original owners hadn't provided any paperwork from their vet, so we would want to get him revaccinated if we decided to adopt him. Early that afternoon, she said the new owner, Joe, was requesting that he be able to bring the dog to us that day. Joe is a retired policeman who had adopted Zeus only that Sunday. He said he'd just found out he'd gotten a new job that involved driving around a well-to-do family that would require him to be away from home for long and unusual hours, so he didn't feel like he could be there for Zeus. He was starting his new job the next day and didn't want to leave Zeus home alone.
This week was the busiest one in our monthly production cycle at work, so I was going to be stuck at the office until at least 10. Tony had a cold and needed to get some work done, too, but because he's such a sweetie, he agreed to meet Joe at our place late that afternoon. Lisa said she would consider this a foster situation. If it didn't work out, Zeus could go to another foster home nearby.
I told my friends at work that we were going to be fostering a basset puppy named Zeus, whose name would surely be changing if we kept him. Because he's not a Doberman, and we don't live on an estate in Hawaii. Speaking of which, though, could Magnum, P.I.–era Tom Selleck have been any goddamn hotter?
Joyce and I talked about possible new names. She liked Martin. As I slept that night, I would settle on Benny—which is close to being a combo of Bill and Tony and could be short for Benedict, the lead actor in Tony's favorite new TV show—as my choice of name if we got to that point.
That night was total chaos for my poor Tonester. Missy was trembling from the stress of having Zeus all up in her lady parts. The new guy peed on the floor six times because he was, understandably, excited and maybe a little anxious too. When I got home about 11:30, Tony was exhausted from trying to keep the dogs separated and preventing the boy from doing anything destructive. Zeus jumped up on me, elated, as if he'd been expecting me. I took him for a long walk to try to tire him out, and I slept downstairs with him, so that Tony and Missy could get a good night's sleep upstairs.
The next morning, the look on Missy's face when she reached the barricade at the bottom of the stairs was priceless. She didn't have to say, "Jesus Christ. He's still here?" because it was all there in her expression. Zeus had peed a couple more times during the night, but he was fun to snuggle with on the couch. He curled up behind my legs and slept there for part of the morning.
When I got home from work on Friday, Tony and I had a talk. There was no way it was going to work out with Zeus, he said. Missy would probably never be comfortable around him, or at least not until he got a good deal older, and that wasn't fair to her. And neither of us felt like we had the desire or the time to train Zeus/Benny. (And it would have been more Tony's job because his work is less officebound than mine.)
We felt foolish for even considering a puppy, but, of course, we didn't have a chance to evaluate him in person before Joe dumped him into our lives. We didn't want him to be left all alone on Friday, so we took him in out of compassion.
Zeus has the potential to be a great dog, but he's so not housebroken. Correction: He may have been in his previous home and at Cathy's home, where she had fostered him for a couple of days, but I've come to learn over the years that dogs don't truly understand the concept of not peeing or pooping in any house. They have to learn that rule again at every new home. After Steve and I split up, I took the corgis to visit a mutual friend of ours and was horrified to catch Cody taking a dump in the guy's living room. And just Saturday, Molly, who was visiting with Tracey, Matt, and Mike and who never ever has accidents at home, pooped in the apartment while TM&M and I went out to get lunch. (Zeus was in Molly's old crate, which the Gerbers had brought to us, so we could keep him corraled when Tony and I needed a break, we wanted to correct him, or we both had to be out of the apartment at the same time.)
Zeus actually did quickly get better in that regard. On Sunday, he went the whole day without an accident. But during the night before, he peed on the jeans that I'd left on the floor near the couch. Sigh. He slept with me much of the night, which was sweet. And I imagine he meant peeing on my pants as a compliment—marking me as his own.
There was a lot to like about Zeus. He's sweet and ultrafriendly. He wanted to meet every human and dog we passed by on the sidewalk. And he's so good looking. Like all basset puppies, he's a master of the come-hither gaze:
Here, he's throwing it in Tony's direction:
But he's got the attention span of a jackrabbit that's literally hopped up on speed. And while he still had his jimmies, he wasn't going to leave Missy alone for more than brief periods of time. Emme would have gotten all Hera on Zeus's ass and put him in his place, but Missy isn't assertive enough to demand respect. She growled at him a few times, but that didn't keep him from sticking his nose up her behind and in her face again and again. She would take to hiding behind our rocking chair or bar stools to get away from him, and we couldn't allow that to continue.
Cathy picked up Zeus last night about 8:30. Zeus seemed very happy to see her, and Tony told her we were relieved Zeus was leaving our place with someone he knew. There were two bassets in the back of the SUV, and Cathy said she has two more dogs at home. She said Zeus had lived with even more people in the past couple of weeks than we'd known about, including a relative of the original owners. She said she would have him neutered ASAP, and I have every confidence he'll end up with a family who will do right by him.
When Tony and I came back into the apartment, without the interloper, Missy was visibly relieved. You could see it in her body language. She lay down next to Tony on the couch while we watched Downton Abbey, and she was so relaxed, she practically merged into the cushion. :-) Later, when I took her out for a walk before we watched a slightly delayed recording of the Sherlock wedding episode, she sniffed around the area where Cathy had parked and where Zeus had climbed into the passenger seat of her SUV. I'd like to think Missy noted that the trail ended abruptly at the curb, which could only logically mean one thing: He'd been driven out of the neighborhood and was out of her life for good.
Here are some more pix of our foster son:
His markings are gorgeous. He's got a bit of black in his white-tipped tail, though, which would disqualify him from being a show dog. (Not that that really matters a lick.)
Here are Zeus and Molly looking up at Matt:
Here I am with Zeus and Missy, who seems to be claiming me with her head on my knee:
And here he is trying to get in good with the Gerber boys:
They wouldn't have minded taking the boy home with them, but Tracey held firm: no puppy, which was the right decision for her and Molly, who's about 9 years old. Tony, who'd gone into the office as the Gerbers arrived, jokingly texted me to give Tracey the hard sell on adopting the boy. And he texted that he was going to Photoshop a picture of David hugging Zeus and giving a thumbs-up.
Zeus managed to untie one of the knots in Missy's rope toy:
Here he is trying to pulling it out of Tony's hand:
And a final come-hither look:
While I was walking Zeus by himself yesterday morning, I met a woman walking a little female terrier mix. We chatted a little bit while our dogs sniffed each other. (Zeus got on the other dog's nerves after a while with his persistence.) The woman said she had seen this dog online, had gotten the impression that this dog was meant to be her dog, and had driven out to Ohio to rescue her. The dog took to her right away, she said. (I didn't have my phone with me, so I couldn't get any pix.)
On Saturday, I took Missy for a walk to the Union Square Greenmarket to give her some exercise and some time away from the puppy. A nice straight couple with a dog that seemed to share some of Missy's DNA greeted us. His name is Bobo, and he's a rescue originally from North Carolina.
Missy can be awfully nosy, too. :-)
Whenever I see Molly, I have to take some selfies with her. The first one got lots of likes and comments on Facebook: