Meet Corneliuz. Who could resist that face, right? Right. I’m pretty sure that was the intention when these pictures landed in my inbox just over one year ago. “Bull terrier / rat terrier puppy in need of home. Isn’t he cute?”
My partner and I had said goodbye to our almost 12 year old Great Dane, Phoebe, just a few weeks before those pictures arrived, and we were in that “dog free” period that doesn’t happen very often in the lives of two veterinarians.
Now, I am not typically one to be swayed by pictures of a cute puppy, and I wouldn’t say that we were “looking” for a dog at that moment, but I was smitten even before I met him. We made arrangements to take him in for the weekend on a trial as a favor to a friend, but I had a feeling from the beginning there wasn’t likely to be anything temporary about our relationship with this handsome boy.
Before he arrived, we learned that he was surrendered for euthanasia by his previous owner at 16 weeks old. He was just a puppy, but he had “history” already by that young age that included bites to his owner in a resource guarding context. More on that later…
Within hours of his arrival, we learned that aggression wasn’t his only issue. He also had “pica”, or a behavior of eating non-food items. More on that one too… Within a one block walk, he vacuumed up every leaf, stick, nut, berry, and piece of trash in his path, and tried to swallow a few children’s toys along the way too.
You might be thinking, “What better home for this pup than with a veterinary behaviorist and a veterinary surgeon, right?” He may have won the lottery and we may have seemed the perfect fit for him, but that didn’t automatically mean that he was the right fit for us. We had a lot to discuss.
The short version of the story is that he is still here, and he isn’t going anywhere. It has been quite the journey over the last 12 months and I know that we will continue to learn from him throughout his entire life in our home. And, that also means that I have plenty of stories that I’ll be sharing with you all in the weeks, months, and years to come. Stay tuned.
~ Dr. Pachel