"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Sunday, October 5, 2014

One Year with Boone

A year ago today, we brought a twelve-week-old puppy into our home. We named him Boone. I have written about that day before. We already had a bit of a full house of rescue animals—one dog and three cats, but I very much wanted a sibling for our dog Bear, a built in playmate to keep him active. I saw a picture on a rescue website, and sent an email asking about him. One thing led to another, I sent an application, and then, we were off to an adoption event to meet him. I will never forget one of the volunteers picking him up and bringing him to us. He looked so small and scared. Boone had been in a high-kill shelter before the rescue pulled him and saved him. He would have been put down. The thought of him in a shelter alone and scared still bothers me. His foster mom was at the event that day, and she told us he was special. She clearly loved him. Everyone was surprised at how fast he took to Bear, jumping and playing. We all immediately loved him. He fell asleep on Shea’s lap during the long ride home, and never moved.

We came home and Boone found a place on the couch and didn’t move for hours. We petted him and gave him kisses, and Bear snuggled up to him. I finally picked him up to give him a bath, and it was if that was the moment he knew he was home. He came to life and never looked back. He bounded through the house, happy and boisterous. He played with toys, ate a lot of food, played with Bear, ventured outside in the back yard, and made himself at home. Leaving the house was another matter. This is still one of the things that breaks my heart when I think back on his first months here. Since Boone had been transported a lot in his early life, I am sure he never knew where he was being taken. When we had to leave our house for the vet or the dog park, he would stop, and run back to the front door and press against it, wanting to go back in. He would scratch the door, begging to stay. I was in tears the first few times this happened, because there was no way for me to reassure him that we were coming back, that we weren’t taking him away – that he would get to come back home. Shea and I would sit on the sidewalk and tell him this, but he couldn’t understand. He would shake in the car and actually get sick and throw up. It killed me every time. The only thing that made it better was to watch his reaction and relief when we would pull back in the driveway, and he would run in the house and know he was back home. Today, he loves to go to the car, he knows it means something fun, usually a trip to the dog park—his favorite place. His anxieties are behind him now.

It is amazing how different Boone’s personality is, compared to Bear’s. Bear has always been so confident, even as a puppy. He was always fearless, even though his background was similar to Boone’s. Boone is more timid, in some ways, but he is definitely hilarious. He makes us laugh all the time. He is also one of the most perpetually happy creatures I have ever known. He is truly the most grateful rescue dog I have ever seen. When we give him a treat, especially a particularly big one, he will almost always come and give us a thank you kiss. He has this huge Boone smile on his face almost 24/7. His tail is wagging all the time, so much so that somewhere in the house you hear its “thump, thump” throughout the day. However, like Bear, patience is not his strong suit. One of the things that amuses us most is Boone’s ability to stomp when he feels he is being ignored. He has done this since he was a puppy. He loves to go outside, and barks to go out pretty constantly. When we say no, especially when he asks to go out immediately after being let in, he will huff and puff and stomp his front paws. We nicknamed him “wrecking ball” almost from day one for his lack of understanding of personal space boundaries. His idea of asking for a piece of your sandwich is sticking his face in your sandwich. Likewise, his way of waking us up in the morning is jumping on your chest (all 90+ pounds of him—at full force) and swatting your face with his paws. It’s all done with love, he just doesn’t understand how huge he is—AT ALL. During his first vet visits, the vet told me there was no way he would be as big as Bear. How wrong he was. He has surpassed Bear. He his taller, and will weigh more once he fills in.

Boone has a funny, deep, gruff, growly bark that often turns into a howl. He will banter and argue with us at the drop of a hat, which I must admit we enjoy a little too much.

Boone watches television more than any other animal I have ever witnessed. He is, however, most interested in animals on tv, in particular, dogs. He will freeze if a dog is on tv, whether it’s on a commercial, or in a movie or program, and remain transfixed by every movement. He sometimes cries out and then looks at us, amazed by the dog –right there in the room with us! He will cock his head and lift his ears and change his facial expressions all while watching his fellow canine friends on television.

He is also a bit of a tattle tale. If anyone in the house hurts his feelings, for instance me, when I catch him in the trash…he will run to Shea to let him know that I was unfairly targeting him for no reason. I can be in the back bedroom and Boone will run to me with his feelings clearly hurt and I know that he has been reprimanded for some reason, just by his demeanor. He will fortunately quickly recover with a treat, especially if cheese is involved.

I have said before that Boone is the biggest love on four legs that I have ever met. I tear up at the dog park, still, when I watch him go up to everyone and get endless attention, because when we first brought him home, other people terrified him. It took him awhile to warm up to people and trust them. Dogs were fine, but people were another matter. He loves us so much. I can’t count the number of Boone kisses I have gotten in the last year. He snuggles up to me at every opportunity, and he adores Shea so much, that he cries out when Shea leaves the room.

And does he ever love Bear. Bear has been the best big brother we could have ever hoped for. He was patient with Boone from day one, and in turn, Boone has helped Bear stay active and has given him a playmate to sniff the back yard and guard the house with. Boone absolutely adores Bear. Bear still struggles with sharing toys, but luckily for everyone, Boone doesn’t care too much, as long as he can hang out with Bear.

In other words, Boone has been the perfect addition to our home in so many ways. This year has flown by. It was all luck and chance that brought him to us. I just happened to see that photo one night, everything just happened to click into place. Today, I am especially thankful for all the little pieces of luck that brought this sweet boy into our lives. It’s hard to remember a time without him.

Thank you for a great first year, buddy, we love you.


tracy mulligan November 5, 2014 at 6:20 AM  

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of rescuing Boone! It brought tears to my eyes.

Peter November 5, 2014 at 7:45 PM  

The way life ought to be. Especially for the pups. Good on you.

PatW November 6, 2014 at 6:36 AM  

What a wonderful beautiful story of a rescue... and how u all made it work and really loved this beautiful dog

Steven Anthony November 22, 2014 at 10:46 PM  

such a beautiful story my friend <3


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