Some dogs are extroverts; some are introverts. Some are just antisocial. My Pit Bull Hudson had a scowl on his face when I adopted him 13 years ago, when he was only four months old. But life had been tough for Huddie on the streets of Coney Island with his mom — hunger, violence, braving the hot weather. And, besides, his siblings picked on him.
Psychologically speaking, from an amateur, I suppose Hudson has an inferiority complex combined with a mother complex. (Can you get Jungian with dogs?) An easier way to say all that: He’s cantankerous.
I must confess I was startled (to say the least) when this four-month-old Pit Bull walked into my house, looked at the two large dogs who were in residence there, and promptly started a fight. He was a natural born scrapper, a bruiser, a thug. Perhaps I should have digested the info better from the rescue that his dad was a champion dog fighter.
But, as all dog lovers know, it was just something to deal with. It would have helped if he weren’t so damn good at it. During his next 11 years, he was the cause of several emergency vet visits.
Then, Hudson stopped fighting. He seemed to become a pacifist. I attribute this to the coinciding departure of my husband, who filled the house with an air of tension and anxiety. But that’s another story.
Cantankerous Hudson became an only dog when my beloved Pit Bull Falstaff died suddenly of cancer last winter. Hudson loved it. He loved the quiet and the extra attention. Then I got scared; scared that Huddie (who has numerous health issues) would die soon and I’d be left without a dog. So, I adopted Bunch.
Bunch is a Pit Bull. I thought about adopting an “easier,” “less-likely-to-cause trouble” type of dog but, no, I had to have another Pit Bull. And, she has that certain something. Bunch is much more normal than Hudson or me. She doesn’t take things personally, has lots of energy, and always starts the day with a positive attitude. Neither Hudson nor I are morning creatures so, needless to say, Bunch’s sunshine bounces off us first thing.
No longer could Hudson count on six specially made meals a day, endless attention, and bully sticks lying about (Huddie is very protective of his bully sticks). Bunch is sweet and not a fighter; she submits to Hudson and, in general, is a good fit for both of us. But she is a young Pit Bull, and she likes to eat the Ikea foam mattress on the bed, tear up books, and run around and do flips in the air, all of which completely confuse Hudson. It takes time (which Hudson insists used to be spent on him) to clean up pieces of foam and books.
I can say that Bunch has made Hudson more engaged with life. That’s true, but it’s mostly a curmudgeonly sort of engaged. I can say Huddie’s acting younger, which is also true, except I think it’s making his arthritis flare up. I did think it through beforehand, and Hudson is always put first. But what about Bunch? Was she going to have a brother who tried to start fights? Or just ignored her sweet and friendly advances? I wasn’t sure. Luckily, it all worked out.
I don’t quite know why Huddie has so completely accepted Bunch. He is still in his peaceful state with a cantankerous demeanor and a black look on his grizzled face, but he seems content. Perhaps in his twilight years he’s happy to have another dog to get the blame for things (I suspect that he takes a bite or two out of the foam mattress, too).
Should I have taken the chance? Well, both of our lives are the better for it, and I hope Bunch feels that way, too. She even gets a brotherly lick from Hudson now and then.
Have you ever brought a new dog into a home with an older dog? How did it work out? Let us know in the comments!
Read more by Kelly Pulley:
- The 10 Best Apartment Dog Breeds: Why Size Doesn’t Matter
- I’m a Treat-Obsessed Dog Mom
- Understanding and Treating Breathing Problems in Dogs
- Let’s Remind the World That Pit Bulls Are Just Mutts
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