When I adopted Remy in the summer of 2006 it was for all the wrong reasons.
The first of which was that I was having so much trouble with Max’s separation anxiety I decided to bring in another dog as a last ditch effort to get Max to relax when I left him at home.
The second? When I saw his photo on the Petfinder Website, he looked just like Max and his name was listed as… you guessed it, Max.
How’s that for a bunch of wrong reasons to adopt a dog?
At the time I was living about 15 minutes west of Manhattan in New Jersey. Remy, or “Max” at the time, was at BARCS, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, about 4 hours away in Maryland.
The first time I took the trip, yes there was more than one trip, I asked to see “Max” by name. They jotted down my information and when they realized how far I had journeyed, they looked at me like I was a crazy person. I just shrugged my shoulders, told them, “long story”.
The next step was meeting him in the outside pen. They brought the dog out, closed the gate behind us and left us. He was pulling in every direction but me, so I look him off his lead. This is the part of the story where I tell you it was love at first sight. That we rolled around on the grass together and felt a connection that we had had never felt before. The truth? He basically spent the entire time sniffing around the edge of the fencing, ignoring that I was even there.
After five to ten anti-climactic minutes, I brought him back inside and declared, “I’ll take him.” Yep, I’m a glutton for punishment. I cleary DON’T see the forest for the trees. (Feel free to tack on your own favorite clichéd, ironic saying right here.)
The clerk looked back at me with a strange look on her face. “Really?” she said.
That even worried me a bit. What was I getting into here? “Yep, I’ll take him.”
“Okay, come back in a week after he’s been fixed and he’s yours.”
“Wait, I can’t take him now.”
“You can pay for him now”, she replied.
I took out my wallet, pulled out my credit card and prepared myself for the influx of paperwork. Then I drove four hours back home without a dog.
While my friend waited in my backyard with Remy, I brought Max out to join us. They sniffed and sniffed and sniffed (hounds, what can I say) and than Remy found a hole in the fence that Max never cared about and off he went, running through the neighborhood like a crazy dog. A portent of things to come.
Yes, I caught him and yes, it was the first of many escapes. The nose of a Beagle and the smarts of a Border Collie was a mixed blessing indeed. But in my own defense, I’m sure you experienced the same thing. A friend would come over and not immediately close the door behind them, hence providing an ample amount of space for the dog in your house that was always checking for escape routes. It was also a good tell that your friend never owned a dog.
Remy was a fun, rambunctious dog. He spun in cricles. He was the epitomé of a joyful dog, whereas Max was a bit more low key and soulful. But in spite of it all, my gambit had worked. Even though Remy was a dog that Max only kinda put up with, he succeeded in bringing down Max’s separation anxiety quite a bit.
Over the years, Remy took to his role of understudy for the Dog Files like a champ. Slowly, very slowly, really very slowly, Remy mellowed out a bit and I believe, enjoyed his job as Max’s crazy little buddy.