Check it out, it’s my new buddy Rufus! I brought Rufus home from the animal rescue yesterday, and he’s already bringing me so much joy.
Rufus is a mutt, but he’s a big part Mastiff, with maybe some lab and/or American Staffordshire mixed in. (Maude was a Mastiff mix too, and they’re a great breed for me.)
He’s a big boy – 75 pounds – and roughly three years old. He has a gorgeous, brown brindle coat.
I started looking for a new companion a few weeks ago, and learned a little bit about Rufus online. I went to the rescue facility to meet him, but learned when I got there that he wasn’t there: he had hurt his ankle, and they put him in a foster home so he could get more one-on-one attention while he recuperated. I met another a dog on that visit, a gentle and timid Great Dane mix named Wilbur, but I still wanted to meet Rufus, so I made an appointment through the foster program and went back a week later. (I’ve since learned that Wilbur has been adopted – woohoo!)
Rufus was a stray that was turned into a Los Angeles city shelter last Christmas. He was underweight and had a nasty ear infection. He was pulled out of the shelter by an animal rescue organization in May, and they’ve had him since then.
My first impressions of Rufus, when I met him, was that he was alert, playful, and able to be trained. I only spent 30 minutes with him, but during that time it was clear that he was responsive to corrections and motivated by food.
Two days later, I knew I wanted him, but that was also the day I injured my foot on that hike. I explained what happened, and they very kindly reserved him for me, and the foster mom happily cared for him for a few more days while my foot healed. Rufus is a strong boy and I wanted to have full mobility when I brought him home so I could establish, from day one, that I’m the alpha pack leader. With my foot much better, I headed back yesterday, filled out the paperwork, and now he’s mine!
Rufus, by the way, is the name I gave him. The city shelter named him Buzz, which I didn’t particularly care for. I like Rufus so much more. He doesn’t know his new name yet, but then again, he doesn’t really seem to know his old name either. (His foster mom, meanwhile, was calling him Boozy, so it’s understandable if the poor guy is confused.) I almost named him JJ, after NFL player JJ Watt, because they’re both big, strong, tough and ridiculously handsome, but Rufus won out. He’s definitely a Rufus.
I have my work cut out for me, training-wise. He’s housebroken, and someone taught him ‘sit,’ but he only does it momentarily, and only when a treat is visible. Everything else is new to him. But he seems attentive and at least somewhat intelligent, and I’d like to think I’m a patient guy, and I certainly won’t skimp with positive reinforcement and edible rewards.
He’s also a sweetheart. He curls up close and has already rested his head in my lap and rolled over to get a chest rub. I think he likes me.
And I definitely like him.
Plus, he forces me to get more activity in. I’m going to implement the same walking regimen I had with Maude: One mile of walking every day, minimum, split between two walks, and then a bonus quickie third walk, right before bed. We went two miles today on our first walk, and I counted it as my workout for the day (since I’m still being rather gentle on my foot), but moving forward, I generally will be exercising in addition to my walks with Rufus.
Welcome home, Rufus!
And… keep it up, David!
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