Monday, January 14, 2013

Meeting Tarzan

When we first started looking for a house, one of my primary concerns was being able to own a dog. We wanted a big fenced yard and lots of places to go for walks, and we got it. I grew up with dogs my entire life – a German Shepherd x Collie mix named Morgan, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Kelly, a Jack Russell named Haley, and Haley’s son, a Jack Shih-t (Jack Russell x Shih Tzu) named Gizmo – so not having one of my own for the past 10 years has been difficult.

I’ve pestered Charming endlessly about getting a dog (or 3), so when a former colleague forwarded me an email about a rescued pit in a foster home who desperately needed to be adopted, I took the leap and contacted the foster family.  

Sheer joy. Tarzan is pretty happy, too.
And Saturday we met Tarzan. 

He’s absolutely gorgeous – a solid white pit bull (or possibly Argentinian Dogo – hard to tell), probably around 2 years old, with a super-friendly, sweet personality. He was found as a stray at a Carmax in VA (which is kind of fate-ish, since I used to sell cars…ok, stretching it?) and has been with his foster family for about 4 months. Unfortunately they have a dominant male pit who is kind of getting tired of Tarzan’s presence.

The foster family brought him over and we hung out with him and played fetch for a little bit (until he decimated the ball), and then they left him alone with us for about an hour and a half while they got lunch.

We tried to get him to just relax and hang out with us on the couch, but he was a little wound up, so I gave him a squeaky toy which he completely dismantled and destroyed in about 45 seconds flat. Then he followed me to the kitchen where he sat quietly and watched me assemble appetizers for our Ravens watch party (GO RAVENS!). He never begged, and he never counter-surfed – which is amazing, since from a seated position he can pretty much put his nose on the counter – but he just hung out quietly and kept an eye on me. In case I should need someone to clean scraps off the floor.

Then we decided to take him for a short walk around the neighborhood. He’s not food-motivated, but he’s definitely squirrel-motivated. It didn’t help that the squirrels in our neighborhood have got the whole dogs-on-leashes thing figured out and just perch on low branches to taunt passing dogs.

Within the span of two blocks, we met two neighbors (one with a small child), and Tarzan was awesome. Super-friendly, only tried to jump once before I corrected him, and the best part was, as soon as the intros were over, he was content to sit quietly and just hang out while we chatted.

He’s just about everything we want in a dog – young enough to still be trainable/socializable/active, but old enough that he’s crate-trained, housebroken and starting to learn some basic obedience skills. We want a dog we can take hiking and to parks and just out with us in the summer, but also a dog who will be content to just curl up on the couch and watch Dexter with us, and he really seems to fit the bill.

So why haven’t we committed? I’m concerned about days when he’ll be home alone for 10 hours in a crate. Hopefully that won’t be too often, because we do have a screened back porch with ceiling fan and doggy door to the yard where he could live most days, as long as the weather is tolerable. But in extreme cold or extreme heat, he’d need to be in the house, which would mean in a crate, because he definitely does like to chew things. All the things. Charming leaves the house at 7, I leave at 8, and we both get back around 6pm – that’s a long time to make him stay by himself.

And having a dog will definitely put new requirements on our time – we generally do come straight home from work, but on days when Charming has Crossfit, I’d be obligated to go home and feed/walk the dog, or if I wanted to go to the barn after work, Charming would have to come straight home.

Going out of town would also be more difficult, since my mom and stepdad might not be willing to deal with a dog this size (and their dog might not tolerate him). We have our bachelor/bachelorette weekend coming up in early May, then the wedding at the end of May, then we’re gone two weeks in June for the honeymoon – that’s a lot of time we’d need to find someone to care for him.

And lastly, of course, Charming was mildly allergic to him – not as bad as he is with most dogs, but it could become an issue if we got Tarzan, and then Charming’s allergies got worse.

Basically, I think he’s the right dog, but I’m trying to make sure we’re the right owners, if that makes sense. I’ve also been thinking about getting another horse, to add that into the equation, which would put even more demands on my (and Charming’s) time.

So basically, I still have no idea what we’re going to do. We’re going out of town this weekend, and I told the foster family we’d let them know something early next week. I’m just hoping we’ll know something by that time…     


  1. He is adorable!! I, too, had a shephard/collie mix as a child. I loved that dog like no other. Now we have a lab. I have always had a dog. Always. Even in college when it was illegal, I snuck one in there. I just had to.

    Ok, as to the long day thing, you can always pay a college/law student a couple bucks each day to come over and play with him and let him out. Put an ad on craiglist or a sign up at one of the local coffee shops and schools in the area. Students are always trying to make a few extra bucks. OR, if you know any neighbors yet, ask if one of them could do it. Or maybe rotate a few each week.

    AS to the honeymoon, yeah, you will probably have to board him. But there are some really good non-kennel like places. You just have to look into it soon, so you have enough time to make a reservation at a good one.

    Good luck!!

    1. Thanks! I know we want him, and I think we could make it work ... I guess I'm just worried about making such a huge commitment. Can you imagine what we're going to be like when it comes time to talk about a kid...?