11: Mosby No

11: Mosby No

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Mosby No

We could have bought a small yacht with what we spent on our dog and all the things he destroyed. Then again, how many yachts wait by the door all day for your return?

~John Grogan

I knew I wanted a Pug. Our older Pug had passed away six months earlier, and I told my husband John that our other dog Riley needed a friend. But really I was getting the dog to fill our empty nest. Prior experience had proved that Pugs had everything we wanted in a dog; they were quiet, calm, and intimidated by cats.

“What do you think of this cutie pie?” I asked John after weeks of searching a pet adoption website. A year old, his name was Tyson and he was described as “the best little Pug ever.”

“Go for it,” he said. Words I would repeat later when he claimed to have told me we didn’t need another pet.

Tyson was housed at an organization called Smashface Rescue about an hour away. During the drive there I pictured a back yard filled with Pugs lounging in the sun. What I found instead were several active Pit Bulls, a Mastiff, and a few other large breed dogs. Tyson sat placidly amongst them. I’m sure now he had been drugged. With his little squished face and plump curled cinnamon-bun tail, not only was he incredibly cute, he seemed quiet, calm . . .

“How’s he around cats?” I asked Jeff, the man in charge.

“Loves them,” he said. As if to prove his point he carried Tyson out front and sat him in front of a sleeping feline. Both remained unruffled.

“I’d like to fill out an application form,” I said, assuming there would be a lengthy adoption process including a call to my vet and a home inspection.

“Oh, there’s no application. You can take him today,” Jeff said, “after you pay the fee.” This should have been my first clue.

I had no crate or leash with me but they weren’t needed. In the car, Tyson slept sweetly and soundly. At home, he quickly woke up. The first thing he did was tug on Riley’s scruff, and then he lifted his leg and peed on the sofa. Next he scrambled up my husband’s easy chair and jumped like a mountain goat from the back of the chair to our table and barked at my Siamese cat who, terrified, leapt to the top of our kitchen cupboard. I stared in disbelief.

“I don’t know if that dog’s a good fit for us,” my husband said with alarm, and I had to agree. We hadn’t gotten a puppy because we didn’t want to deal with housebreaking, but this dog had issues beyond potty accidents. I immediately renamed him. Tyson was too reminiscent of the boxer who had bit off an opponent’s ear. Our favorite sitcom at that time had a loveable character named Ted Mosby, so we christened our new pug Mosby. The name quickly became Mosby No.

“Mosby, no!” John yelled when he dropped his favorite guitar pick and Mosby swooped in like a shark and crunched it in his crooked little teeth. His words were repeated when Mosby gnawed on the kitchen chair legs instead of on his chew toys, when Mosby grabbed the end of the toilet paper and ran until the roll unwound, and again when John opened the dishwasher and Mosby leaned in to lick the crud off the plates.

“Mosby, no!” I screamed when he caught sight of our other cat in the hall and chased her up the stairs. I did not witness the battle that ensued, but Mosby returned with one eye closed. It cost me $500 for several vet visits and medications to heal the cat scratch on his cornea.

I dug out the old plastic gate from the garage that we had used years ago to confine our toddlers in one room. Mosby leapt over it like a horse. I spent $100 on a new, taller gate that would keep him in our family room/kitchen area, away from our cats and carpet. I spent another $75 on vaccinations, and $100 on obedience school registration. Our best-little-Pug-ever was costing a fortune.

I had high hopes that I could train him, but the only thing Mosby got out of the parks and recreation class was kennel cough that he passed on to Riley—another vet bill. I skipped the final “exam” so that I wouldn’t embarrass myself when Mosby stopped to pee on a fence post or bark at a skateboarder.

“Are you keeping that dog?” my husband asked as Mosby’s behavior got worse. Whenever we went to the other side of the gate, Mosby desperately yelped and bit our heels. On walks he pulled so hard that he nearly dislocated my shoulder. If I passed another dog walker, he quietly sniffed and circled the other canine until the duo continued on their way. Then he barked frantically and pulled even harder. At home he marked his territory every time I left him alone: sofa cushions, exercise machine, doorframes, and once my shoe, which I didn’t discover until I put it on.

Frustrated by what a poor choice I had made in getting Mosby, I contacted several rescue groups. But after describing his issues, I was told they were “at capacity.” I felt guilty that I didn’t want him, but who would?

Then one day I read a newspaper article about a couple who adopted a toddler from an overseas orphanage. Their first few years of adjustment were difficult at best. The child had frequent tantrums, and timeouts weren’t working. At a baseball game, when the mother went to get a beverage and the child had a melt down because “mommy might not come back,” the couple realized that the root of the child’s every problem was fear of them leaving her—separation anxiety.

Bingo. This is what Mosby had too.

“Beverly Hills,” is what Jeff had said when I had asked where Mosby had come from. He explained that the original owner was cited for having twelve dogs and had to give up some of them. Next, he went to a pregnant lady who realized she couldn’t handle him and an infant. So she surrendered him to Jeff at a Starbucks. I don’t know how long Mosby lived with Jeff and the Pit Bulls; he wouldn’t understand the term “forever home” if he heard it. But he knew what it felt like to have loved ones leave you.

So did I. My two children had left for college. My dad had died. Close friends had moved away. By bringing Mosby home, hadn’t I made a commitment to be there for him? Always?

“Mosby, you’re a real pain in the ass,” is what John says now when our dog barks excitedly as we arrive home from an outing or when we discover he has removed his bellyband diaper and peed somewhere.

We’ve had Mosby a few years, and he’s only slightly calmer and quieter. I’m not going to lie and say he’s become “the best little Pug” we’ve ever had, but every time he curls up in my lap with his pink tongue sticking out, snoring and randomly passing gas, for better or worse, I’ve accepted he’s mine.

~Linda Delmont

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