Thursday, October 25, 2007


The next dog to join the family was Brutus. He was our first Shelter Dog.

In May, 2003, Big was having more trouble with his rear legs and we were certain he had less than a year to live. We thought it would be a good idea to get a "replacement" that Big could train to be a guard dog while he was still able to.

So we went to the animal shelter "just to look around." Anyone who goes to an animal shelter just to look around and leaves empty-handed has very strong will power.

When we pulled up in front of the shelter, some of the dogs were in the outside pens. The first dog we noticed was Brutus. First, because he looked like a miniature Big (but with tiger stripes!) and second, because he looked so happy and friendly. We looked at the other dogs, but kept coming back to Brutus. Then we went inside and talked to the shelter people. Brutus (as they had named him) hadn't been there very long. He had been turned in by people who raised sheep; they told the shelter, "He's been hanging around the sheep corral trying to bite the sheep." He was probably just hungry. He wasn't aggressive or vicious at all. We took him for a "test drive" around the parking lot on a leash and he was just happy and friendly.

He was such a happy dog, everyone at the shelter loved him. One of the volunteers (who is also a vet tech at our vet's office) had been considering adopting him. She was off that day and they called her at home to see if was OK with her if we adopted him. She gave her consent and we filled out the paperwork and took him home.

Big and Wolfie didn't exactly welcome him with open paws. There was definitely a period of adjustment all around. Eventually the three of them became friends and everything has been smooth since then.

He's a boxer mixed with pit bull, but all his records at the shelter and now at are vet just say, "Boxer Mix" because of rampant pit bull prejudice.

Brutus weighs about 60 pounds. For most people, that's a normal-sized dog, but for us, it's small, so one of his nicknames is Little One (also Puppy Face). But he has a very deep bark that sounds like it's coming from a much bigger dog. Big has done a great job training Brutus how to be a guard dog.

And all these years later, Big is still hanging in there, but we don't know how much time he has left.

Meanwhile, Brutus knows how to enjoy life.

We've since replaced that 20-year-old couch with a new leather one and none of the animals are allowed on it, so he spends a lot of time on the bed.

Rough life for a shelter dog, isn't it?


S. Lee Whiplash said...

Thank you so much for the Brutus story and pictures. Out of curiosity, how did the initial unpleasantness between Brutus and the other puppies manifest itself?

Beth said...

Lots of growling and fierce barking and lunging, mostly on Big's part. Brutus would stay as still as a statue.

Then long after he was "accepted" he and Big got into a couple of serious fights, where Brutus's pit bull half came out. He gave as good as he got, as they say. Big's cute little ears made good targets for Brutus's sharp teeth. You wouldn't believe the blood spatters all over the floor and walls!

It's been years since they've gotten into a fight.

Elle said...

What a big sweetie! The photo on the couch is priceless, but the one on the bed is so cute because the headboard and his coat almost match :) Xam is getting older, too, and he loves to sleep on our bed because it is the most comfortable place he can find. Unfortunately, he drools now, so there are big wet spots where his head has been. I recently bought a waterproof sheet and put it on the top of the bed, then added a sheet for comfort, but Xam is not too thrilled with that. Guess he likes to leave his mark :)

Beth said...

You're right, he matches the headboard; I hadn't noticed that before.

Poor Xam; he's such a sweet dog. At least he can still jump up on the bed. Big can't do that anymore.