Meet Rufus

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We're announcing a new addition to our family.

Rufus is a 2-year-old black lab rescued on Wednesday from the CNY SPCA. He was there about a month – his family lost their home, and couldn't keep him.

We know he had a chocolate brother who was put down, but other than that, most of his history is stuff we're piecing together. This morning on our walk he stopped and whined when he saw a little girl getting into a car. Later in our walk we saw two girls on a sled (I'm guessing about 3 and 5), so I'm guessing there was at least one child around.

He came to us already housebroken and already with some good habits.

We're doing obedience school; we've already been to a class without him, and I like the methods we're learning.

I'd brought up the idea of a dog a while ago with JB. I grew up with cats, and JB didn't have animals growing up – her mom was too worried she'd wind up doing all the work.

2011 was an interesting year at work for me; I learned a lot about working with a team, and for the first time I've been placed in a management role. Reading Nate Green's post about his dog, patience and real problems confirmed for me that not only would a dog provide companionship (and yes, I know, "baby practice"), but also, for both of us, we'd learn to do things like go outside first thing instead of turning on our computers; we'd actually start going for those after-dinner walks we've been talking about.

It would be good for our physical health and our mental and emotional health.

We went to one rescue and had a lousy customer service experience. We waited a few days and went to the SPCA, expecting to meet a beagle or some terrier mix. Instead, Rufus found us. We took him out for a walk, and we were gone nearly an hour.

He weighs in at 75 pounds, so he's big enough to play with, run with, and to be a substantial cuddler.

A few things we've noticed in the few days he's been home:

Honesty. On Friday, his second full day home, we were both working late. Rufus had spent most of Thursday plugged up from his new food, and so when I got out of work I rushed home, hoping he hadn't loosened up in his crate and spent the day having to sit in it.

Well, he'd loosened up. But what he did was he figured out how to get out of his crate – not by opening the door, but by collapsing one of the walls by unhooking it. He knocked over the trash barrel, and he pooped in the house, but he did it in a very easy-to-clean-up spot and didn't track it anywhere.

When I walked in the door, the first thing I saw was the trash. He was waiting for me about three feet away, and we went outside briefly and then came back in to survey the damage. He knew he'd done something improper, and for the next few hours, he sulked with his head on the floor between his paws.

Simplicity. When we agreed to adopt Rufus, we picked up a bunch of stuff. You know, beds, collars, that kind of stuff. We also picked up some stuffed toys, a tug rope, a rubber ball, and a big bone with some meat-type stuff on it.

He might be adjusting to being neutered and to a new home all in the same week, but he wanted no part of the toys or the bones. I grabbed two simple rawhide bones ($2 each) on my trip to the grocery store, and he loves them. Won't put them down. In fact, he took one with him when we went out this morning, and he's been heading right to his crate to grab a bone instead of hanging out in the living room.

I'm sure we're going to keep learning from him.



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