It started out so innocent.
We made our coffee, our breakfast, and sat out on our patio. The weather was beautiful and life was settling into a easy, enjoyable pace.
We made plans to donate an IKEA bag full of sheets and pillows to the BCSPCA that afternoon.
We walked in. The familiar sounds of excitement and sadness from the animals could be heard from beyond the front desk.
“Let’s go into the back courtyard and see the dogs!”
“No. If we see the dogs, we’ll take one home.”
“I promise we won’t leave with a dog.”
Rewind to early April, when Wells and I had both been absentmindedly scrolling through the BCSPCA Pet Search every couple of days. We had seen a number of potential dogs, but none seemed to match our criteria: I wanted a bully-type, he wanted a border collie; I wanted a female dog that was friendly, calm and intelligent. I wanted a dog that I could pick up, about 30 lbs or so.
We walked in to the back and saw Knox. We had both seen him on the website a few times, assuming he’d be picked up immediately.
He was surrendered mid-March, covered in mange. By the time we saw him, it was nearing the end of July. Four months, he was transferred from kennel to kennel for training and in hopes of being adopted.
“A little too big…?”
We were suddenly distracted by the puppiest of puppies in the kennel: Lupa!
At 3 months of age, Lupa was a mastiff ridgeback cross. Smart, excitable, but still a puppy. We watched the behaviourist do attention and focus exercises with her and we were enamoured by her little barks and tiniest tail wags.
“She’s going to be huge.”
We had previously encountered (and worked with) the sweetest mastiff ridgeback cross rescue named Bea. I knew her personality would be everything I wanted, but there was no way I could handle her size.
Knox, on the other hand…
The staff asked us if we were interested in taking him for a walk. For 25 minutes, we wandered around the neighbourhood, trying to assess whether or not I could handle him if something happened. Leash manners: none. Focus: everything but his handler. Floppy ears: won my heart.
We filled out the application, called our landlord, and expected to wait another week before we’d hear back. Surely, he was still in high demand? Maybe they needed a home visit or to assess us intentions.
“You can take him home in about 20 minutes, or come back tomorrow to pick him up.”
Once we were in the car, it dawned on us that we just adopted a dog. On a whim. In and out in 60 minutes. We needed a bed. A crate. Food. Toys. Water bowl. Leash. Collar. Dog-proofing our home. We had plans to meet a friend that afternoon.
We made our way to Tisol, luckily a mere 5 minutes away from that friend and picked up a few essentials (and non-essentials). We had no idea what to expect with this dog. Sure, his 25 minute walk was okay but how would he be like in a yard? In a home? Near lots of people?
Once we made our way to our wonderful friend’s home, she gave Knox a few tennis balls to decimate while we chatted about her next adventures in Scotland.
Knox Lesson 1: He has no bite inhibition during play with humans.
Because he had no impulse control, he snapped at the ball, hard. A finger was caught in between and with that, our first bite. He has a long way to go.
After destroying the tennis ball and wearing out his welcome, we ventured home.
Our life was immediately replaced with 1.5 hour walks in the morning, rushing home from work to give Knox another 1.5 hour walk, fur all over everything, leash training, reactivity training, agility training, toys, allergies, food intolerances, middle of the night pee breaks, separation anxiety, crate training…
But just look at that face!