One year ago, we adopted a rambunctious little brown pupper from a rescue shelter in Ruskin. We named him Linus. Here’s the story about how the little rascal joined our family and changed it forever.
The Complimentary Spouse and I adopted Lucy, also a rescue, in 2013. We talked occasionally about getting her a little brother or sister, and from time to time we’d fawn over the puppy photos on the adoption sites. That’s what we were doing at lunch at Chili’s on January 25, 2020. We kept coming back to one picture of two playful pups. This is the photo:
“Should I call?” I asked Britt.
“If you want to,” he said.
I called and asked if the puppies were still available. The woman on the other end of the phone said they were, so I asked if we could see them next weekend.
“If they’re here next weekend,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest.”
I thanked her and told Britt that we had to visit the puppies that day. He shrugged and agreed. It felt like he didn’t want to go.1
We left the restaurant and made the half-hour drive to Ruskin. A woman with an English accent greeted us and escorted us to a gated enclosure. Inside were the two brown pups and their mother. We asked to hold the puppies. She opened the gate and took them out. They were warm and wanted to be held. It was love at first cuddle.
We reluctantly gave back the puppies and went inside to talk to the shelter employees. We gushed over the dogs and made a pitch to adopt one of them. I said we were ideal candidates because:
- We already had one dog
- Britt works close to home, so he could check in on the puppy once a day
- We had the means to cover any medical costs that might come up
- We used one of the top veterinary clinics in Tampa
- We have an enclosed courtyard
We filled out the application form on the spot, and they told us that it would take about a week to make a decision. On Monday, I had our vet contact the shelter to attest to our capabilities as doting pet owners.
On Tuesday, I called up the shelter to make sure they had everything they needed. I then asked how long it would take to make a decision.
“They didn’t call you?” they asked over the phone. “You’re getting one of the dogs.”
I was ecstatic.
Britt and I had already discussed which dog we wanted. Both puppies were similar, but we decided we wanted the smaller one since Lucy was the runt of her litter. So I told the woman that we would come by Friday to get that dog; Britt didn’t have to work that day and I could take the day off.
We drove out to Ruskin around 9 a.m. on Friday. We took along a new collar and lead, some toys, and a few towels. Linus seemed confused and less energetic than before, but just as affectionate. We were pleased to learn that his mother had been adopted a few days prior, and his brother was to be adopted that afternoon. Everyone was getting new homes!
Here’s Britt the moment they brought Linus to us:
We wanted to introduce Lucy and Linus in a neutral spot, so Britt took Linus to our Starbucks while I went home to fetch Lucy. We expected Lucy would growl at the strange little guy when they met. Instead, Linus barked at Lucy, surprising her and us.
Linus’s adjustment wasn’t easy. He howled and whimpered all night until we let him sleep in the bed with us. He was hard to house train. He has a taste for shoes. He’s still quite stubborn and doesn’t always come when called. He’s definitely a barker! He likes to gnaw through power cords, so we’ve had to erect some makeshift barriers to keep him from electrocuting himself.2
But, despite all these challenges, Linus has become the spark plug that drives our family. He plays often with Lucy, tugging at her ears. He tussles with his sister over chew toys. He has invented a game where he rolls a rubber ball under the coffee table and rushes to the other side to pick it up.3 If you’re lying on the couch, Linus loves nothing more than to curl up on your torso or nestle between your legs:
Just as Lucy had done several years before, Linus reshaped our family dynamics — for the better. We can’t imagine life without him.
When the pandemic ends, stop by and meet Linus. He might be skittish at first, but soon he’ll be jumping on your lap and into your heart.
1 Britt explains his reluctance: He wasn’t sure he wanted another dog right away, “and I knew that as soon as I saw a puppy, I’d have to adopt it.”4
2 When you visit Camp David, don’t be surprised to see some folding chairs lying on their sides.
3 Which means Britt and I have to crawl on the floor to reach the ball if it doesn’t roll all the way through.
4 Which, of course, is exactly what happened.