The Biker Family
Look Out We Got Some Middle-Aged Badasses Over Here

Hot (or Not) Dogs

 

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Our weekend was almost 100% consumed by the search for America's Next Top Dog, and unfortunately we have nothing to show for it. In a fit of what was probably massive overconfidence on our part, we decided to go look at some shelter pit bull mixes and fell in love with a sweet little female on Saturday. Everybody got super excited. Photos were texted, names were discussed, a list of necessary and not-so-necessary supplies was drawn up.

We put her on hold so we could arrange a dog-meet-dog testing thing with Beau, which...did not go well. At all. Beau reacted just fine, but the other dog went from "hmmm not so sure about this" to super-aggressive hackles-raised "LET ME GO SO I CAN EAT HIM RAWR RWAR" in under five minutes and the shelter employees called the whole thing off. She'd ignored every other dog in the vicinity the day before, but alas, there was something about being up close with Beau that she just did. Not. Like. 

Disappointed but determined, we repeated the whole process with a second pittie, which did go better (but not 100% "oh yes this will all be fine" confidence inspiring). But then there's still the cat question, which would be a complete wildcard until we brought her home. (This dog was brought in as a stray so we have absolutely zero information on her life before the shelter.) If it turned out she wildly despised cats (as many perfectly lovely dogs do, obviously), we'd really have no choice but to return her to the shelter, which gaaaaaaaaaaah. Like that wouldn't be heartbreaking or traumatizing for everyone involved at all

In the end, we decided the needs of a shelter dog are probably just too high for us, what with us piling on the the whole good with kids! and dogs! and cats! expectations. So we'll restrict our search to dogs in foster care situations that look a little more like ours. We wavered a LOT on this decision: I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that Beau -- snuggly shaggy objectively lovable amazing Beau -- was unable to get adopted at a shelter and was rescued at the last minute off the euthanasia list. But I think it's the right one, in the end. 

(The shelter we went to is a no kill, at least, and has a very high/speedy adoption rate. I'm confident both girls we considered will find wonderful homes soon.)

Our dog is still out there. In the meantime, it's not like we're lacking in peak doggo love around here, or anything. 

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Comments

Marcia

Maybe a puppy? That might be better for the cats?

Elise

Check out https://bigfluffydogs.com/ - they do an amazing job with rescues determining dog/cat friendliness. And they are just plain good people, saving dogs from kill shelters in the south.

We got our lab through them two years ago, and have a friend who has two Big Fluffies.

Elise

I mean, just look at this sweetie https://bigfluffydogs.com/our-dogs/kanga-roo/

Cheryl S.

I think a foster dog is a much better idea. Like you said, they are the best at determining dog/cat/kid friendliness. If there is a specific breed you are looking for/at, most breeds have specific rescue organizations. My brother got his fat/lazy/ridiculously adorable pug from a pug rescue. Someone had tied the poor dog to a tree and just left it when they moved. People suck.

Good luck finding your perfect doggie!

Karen

I agree you made the right choice. I had a shelter dog, previously a stray, and while she was wonderful with people she could be extremely aggressive with other dogs. I loved her so much but for 11 years it was extremely stressful every time we took her out, especially when other people's dogs would bound up to us off-leash. They'd call out, "Don't worry he's friendly!" and not realize that mine is on a leash for a reason. You'll find the dog that's right for your family and we can't wait to meet him.

Wendy

Hi Amy. When we lived in the D.C. area, we loved working with a group called Homeward Trails. They have many foster situations and were great about working with us to find the right animal (and reduced stress for all humans and pets involved).

Christina

Completely understand. We adopted a pittie mix 6 years ago and she's gentle as a lamb, great with dogs, kids and was BEST FRIENDS with our cat. Three months ago, we decided to adopt another dog who did fine with THREE meet and greets with the cat, family, and our dog. 3rd day, escaped his crate and killed our cat. Our dog was devastated, it was horribly traumatic for my family, and we lost a family member. We decided to return the dog as our poor dog was thoroughly freaked out and skittish after witnessing everything. I am a huge pittie/shelter advocate but you do have choose the dog that is right for YOUR family and animals. I think the foster idea is a great compromise. Good luck on your search! Beau's BFF is out there!

Sarah

Christina, I am so sorry, that was a horrible thing to happen, especially when you were doing a good thing, and had done everything right. I am amazed and in awe of your equanimity, and hope you and your dog and the rest of your family have found peace again.

Jill

If you are committed to pitties try Bella's Bully Buddies. http://www.bellasbullybuddies.org/bbb-webapp/home/index

Rae

I clicked on the affiliate link and now Amazon is suggesting all sorts of doggie unicorn costumes. Not that I'm complaining... :D

CR

I would not bring a pitbull or pitbull mix into a family with young children. That's a disaster waiting to happen.

RD

Hi. Biggest animal lover here. ::waving:: Couldn't agree more with CR above. And the cats and little Beau...I'm shuttering and almost wishing I hadn't read this post and then Christina's comment. Please, please consider a much more docile breed, given all the littles in your home. <3 (signed, former pit owner)

Lindsey

I never, ever comment but I have to defend the pit bulls and kids situation. While you never know what kind of dog you'll get when you adopt a pit bull, they are awesome dogs with kids. You do have to know the dog you're getting and a shelter situation might not be the best for your family, a foster could very easily point you in the direction of a pit that's great with kids. We adopted on 4 years ago right before my daughter turned 2 and he's been the best dog EVER. He is fiercely protective of our daughter and is the sweetest, most affectionate thing you've ever met. If a pit is what your interested in, find the right one for your family though a foster. I promise you won't regret it.

Lindsey

Oh, I forgot to add, our pit lives in a house with a chihuahua and a cat. Him and the cat are BFF's.

Abby

Please don't stereotype breeds like that, above commenters CR & RD. Aggression is not breed specific, that has been scientifically proven. Do your research please. Don't contribute to stereotyping breeds as aggressive. I adopted a shelter pit mix, I have 2 kids under 5, and another dog as well. My pittie is the sweetest member of my family. Don't give them a bad name, that's a crappy thing to do. Amy, I think your foster idea is a fantastic one, though :)

Sue W.

ANY dog can attack, given the right circumstances. Please don't lump "ALL" pit or pit mixes together. I have seen small dogs attack children.

sam

We did the same- adopted (2) pit mixes from a rescue that uses fosters instead of a shelter. We have two kids and two cats and found this was the best way to try to minimize any issues. Best of luck!

RD

Hi Abby. Thanks to you (and Lindsey) for the feedback. However, I *did* do my research, so I wouldn't call what I'd written as "stereotyping" but instead "discussing reality."

One set of statistics (and there are hundreds more sources to back this up) reads "31 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2016. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 900 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 71% (22) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6% of the total U.S. dog population. Together, pit bulls (22) and rottweilers (2), the second most lethal dog breed, accounted for 77% of the total recorded deaths in 2016. This same combination also accounted for 76% of all fatal attacks during the 12-year period of 2005 to 2016."

I LOVE all animals, including pits and rotts (also owned two dobies, and then later the one pit). However, that doesn't take away from the *fact* that they're statistically just not safe around families like Amalah's (SIX littles!).

Anne

Yep. That's why homeowner's insurance will RARELY if EVER allow homeowners to own Pitbulls or Rotweilers. They are just too unpredictable - recent news round here? 3 dogs attacks - all pitbulls - one that bit the face of the family newborn - luckily all survived these attacks. Those of you with those two breeds? Better check with your insurer - if something does happen you might not be covered. This is actual truth not "fake" news. We researched thoroughly because my husband wanted a big dog. We ended up with a German Shepherd - also with some reputation but still allowed by most homeowner insurers including ours.

Jenny

We got our sweet, blind pug from a rescue group and she's awesome! Our Chihuahua wasn't super-thrilled with her at first, but Buttercup (aka, Butters; aka, Tubby Snorts) is impossible not to love, and they get along well now. I hope you can find a new furry family member soon!

CarolineK

I am staying out of the breed debate raging above because holy stereotype... but here's some more assvice. :) We found that mixing genders of dogs was the cause of a lot of aggression. It was an alpha dog thing, I think. But, maybe another boy dog would be a good addition to the house!

Brenda G

Insurance agent here- just "ditto"ing the worries about your coverage. Check to see what breeds are acceptable to your carrier. Good luck in your search! Beau is adorable and I want him to be happy!

Cobwebs

Let me recommend petfinder.com. You can search on criteria that includes things like "good with cats" and "good with small children," and they aggregate listings from both shelters and private rescue organizations who foster. We've found our last several dogs there.

Kathryn K.

In my experience as a dog person, pecking order disputes are more likely to be among animals of the same gender, so I would suggest looking at female dogs if that is a concern (sounds like it was more of an aggression or fear issue with the 1st dog you looked at, rather than a dominance issue) but these are animals so no guarantees :-)

Meredith

Dogs XL Baltimore!
http://www.dogsxlrescue.org/adopt/available-dogs

I'm liking Mo, Poe Dameron (hounds are the sweetest!), Paislee, Rooka and Theodora (if you want to vacuum every day).

Good luck with your search! I love reading dog bios.

Lauren

Definitely not going to get involved in the Pitbull debate, but I can just weigh in on the insurance topic--we are moving to a new house next week and when we were investigating homeowners' insurance for the house we were asked by EVERY insurance company if we had a dog, and what kind of dog it was because they either would not insure homeowners with Pitbulls or Rottweilers (or both) or the insurance premiums would be higher. I have a teeny Yorkie/Maltese mix so it didn't apply to our family, but it definitely would worry me if I had young children.

nicole

I think foster is the way to go for your specific needs. Plus, you'll be opening up a spot for the organization to rescue another dog from a shelter so you're still helping out. We have an affinity for a specific breed and after a poor experience with adopting an adult dog (of that breed) we decided that purchasing a puppy was the best thing for our family. I assuage my animal lover guilt by continuing to donate my time and money to our local rescue organizations. My point is, there's lots of ways to help, you have to find the one that's right for you whatever your situation.

Summer

I will jump into the pitbull debate and add that you need to take into account that pitbulls and rottweilers have higher incidents of attacks because they are the breeds that are most often abused and trained to be aggressive. If we had fight rings with beagles everywhere and tough guys adopting beagles to look cool and strong, while abusing them, you would see spikes in biting incidents with beagles. (I say this as the owner of a beagle who was abused and can be dangerous to young children and has bitten me a few times. I don't have children and am in a space that can handle these issues.) It is absolutely unfair when you both have high incidents of abuse with a breed and then high incidents of bites with a breed and blame the breed without blaming the human in between. Insurance carriers make their assessments based on the incidents and also the potential for fight rings (which is why they ask for the number of dogs). Again, why is that the fault of the breed? It's unfair and dangerous to many amazing animals out there that are banned or put down through no specific fault of their own to conflate the two issues and somehow infer that their very DNA makes a particular dog dangerous. And just an FYI, many breeds of dog have faced these types of prejudices over history and later were taken off that fear list (i.e. GSD, Rotties, Dobermans, Malamutes, Wolfhounds, Blood Hounds, etc), thus demonstrating it isn't a breed issue but how humans perceive the breed issue.
Anyway, good luck Amy. I'm sure you will find the right dog for your family.

CallMeJo

We had a super tiny cat and two young kids when we started looking for a dog (I was still on maternity leave at the time because I'm a wildly responsible adult who NEEDED a dog again). We chose to adopt from Craigslist because we could talk with the owner and get all the background and ask all the questions. After we found a good candidate, we actually went to the house and tested him with the kids, etc.
There were still some growing pains. For instance, our cat has decided that the dog is more fun to hunt/hiss at than play with, but I felt much better about getting a "known" quantity.
Good luck in your search!

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