Saturday, May 26, 2012

Introducing Fergus B. Haynes


One year ago yesterday, Hubby and I brought the Beast home to live with us.

The road to bringing him home started about two months earlier, when I filled in an adoption application with the Eastern Ontario chapter of the Aussie Rescue and Placement Helpline (ARPH). About a week after that, I was interviewed by the coordinator over the phone. I did everything I could to plug myself as the perfect dog owner.

"I grew up with dogs, you know. My whole life!"

"I am super active. Like super active. I run, I bike, I hike. I'm perfect for an Aussie!"

"My two references adopted Aussies from you. They'll tell you that I'm a really great person!"

"Oh, I have no kids. And no other pets. So you don't have to worry about giving me a dog with a strong herding drive!"

"Oh yeah, and did I mention that I run. A LOT. And that my two references are Aussie owners, who adopted dogs from you?"

After 40 minutes of gratuitous self-promotion, she said told me that I sounded like a good candidate for adoption, but that she had no dogs right now. "No problem!" I said. "My husband and I are on our way to Europe, and we wouldn't want to get a dog until after we get back at the end of May anyway. So let's talk when I get back!"

We left it at that. I expected that I wouldn't hear back from her until June at the earliest. But then, only a few days later, she sent me an email with this picture:

Before I even read the email, I thought to myself, "That is the goofiest looking dog I have ever seen in my life! And that camera angle is doing nothing for his ass!!!"

"This is Bob," the email said. "We found him in at the Humane Society in Kingston. I think he'd be perfect for you! He's got lots of energy for your runs, and he's fully house trained. And he's about 1 year old. Wanna meet him?"

I honestly didn't know what to say. I mean, I wasn't expecting to hear from them so soon. And, er, well, this dog was just so, well, goofy looking! And how could something with an ass that size be a good runner?

So I called her and reminded her that I was leaving for Europe, and that I didn't want to rush into meeting a dog, so she should feel free to show him to other prospective families. "Oh no, " she said. "You're too perfect for this dog. I just know it! Meet him now, and if you like him, you can take him when you get back!" (Those rescue organizers really do mean well, but they can be overly enthusiastic....) She wouldn't accept my hesitation - or a no - for an answer. "Call his foster Mom. She'll tell you all about him!"

A few days later, I found myself talking on the phone with Bob's foster mom.

She really talked him up. "I don't know much about his history. All I know is that he was dropped off at the Humane Society by a couple going through a divorce. So sad, because he's such a joy to have around the house! He's a velcro dog - follows me everywhere that I go! It's so cute. Anyway, he is perfectly healthy, and the Humane Society said that he showed a little bit of food aggression, but I have never seen it. I feed him with my two other dogs and there are no problems. He does eat fast though. And he has lots of energy. They told me that you like to run, so my daughter has taken him for a few runs to see how he does, and he is AMAZING. Walking, well, he pulls a little bit, but he just needs a little bit of training. And he and I are working on his manners, so that he stops counter-surfing and jumping up on people. But he is so wonderful. He can play for hours and hours and hours, and he loves other dogs. Not sure how he is around children. You don't have children, do you? And yes, he is crate trained, although we really don't leave him in a crate because I work from home. But I'm sure you'd have no trouble crating him! Oh, and he's super smart and very trainable. He already knows 'sit' and 'paw' and we're working on 'down' next! And did I mention that he loves to run? And I'm going send you pictures! You'll fall in love with him when you see his face! When do you want to come and meet him?"

So... very... overwhelming...

I told her that I didn't want to rush into adopting since I was going away to Europe in a couple of weeks and couldn't take him until I got back. "Don't worry about any of that," she said. "The ARPH rep told me that you are just perfect for him so I'm willing to keep him as long as I have to until you get back! In the meantime, I'll send you those pictures. And when did you say you were coming to meet him?"

Within 5 minutes, I got these:
My first look at this face - those devil eyes should have been my first clue...

Looking a little cuter - Bob and his foster brother

Bob like water - that could be fun!

Tuckered out after a long day of play
I admit it - these pictures started to change my mind about this dog a little. So I showed them to Hubby. "Well, whaddaya think?" I asked him. "He looks really peaceful when he's sleeping. And I think it's kind of cool that he likes the water. And he has really sweet ears. And from this angle, his ass doesn't look so big. And everyone thinks that I am perfect for him (even though they haven't met me...) Do you think we should meet him?"

"Sure," said Hubby, lifting his head up from the paper just long enough to acknowledge that I was talking. (At that time, he was not so enamored yet with the idea of getting a dog...)

And that is how we found ourselves driving down the highway to Kingston. To meet a fuzzy dog. Named Bob. With a big ass. (From certain angles, anyway...)

He had us before we even walked in the door. I was completely sucked in by his obvious enthusiasm for every single second of his life. And Hubby was drowning in his big, gorgeous brown eyes. We were in love. And after spending half an hour with him, we just knew that he was our dog.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, almost the rest. There is one more piece of the story to tell...

Bob is a great name for a human, but there is no way in hell that I am ever going to be caught dead in the middle of a crowded dog park calling out "B-O-B!!!! Here B-O-B!!!!" We hadn't even pulled out of his foster Mom's driveway when I turned to my husband and said, "That name has to go."

"I agree," he said.

"I know! Let's give him a Scottish name!" I said.

"Why Scottish?" said Hubby.

"Cause you're Scottish, dummy!"

"Um, but you're not, and isn't he your dog?"

"He's OUR dog," I reminded him. "And besides, he's a red head with freckles. Obviously Scottish!"

We (and by we, I mean I) spent the next few days trying to figure out the perfect name for this soon-to-be dog of ours. Then one day, I was out with a friend having an after-work drink, showing her the few pictures I had of Bob.  When it hit me.

"FERGUS!" I yelled out.

"Who's Fergus?" she asked.

"That's his name! Fergus!!!  Look at him. He is such a Fergus!!!!"

She studied the pictures a little more closely. "You know what? He is a Fergus! It's perfect!"

And with that, we re-christened Bob. And to seal the deal, while in the UK a few weeks later, we bought him this:

A Scottish name needs a Scottish flag as a dog tag

Personalized with his brand new name
Fergus B. Haynes. (Yes, we kept the B, as an homage to his original name.)

(A name like that needs a title, don't you think? Personally, I like the ring of The Honourable Fergus B. Haynes.)

Also affectionately know to readers of this blog as "The Beast".

And even more affectionately called a variety of other nicknames by friends and family who have met him over the past 367 days (it was a Leap year, so one year + 1 day = 367 this year, not 366. I am paying attention!). Here are just a few:
  • FBH (it's short and sweet and easy to type out on my blackberry);
  • Fer-gust of wind;
  • the F-Bomb (my personal favourite); and 
  • the Fuzzy Terrorist.
What can I say. Our boy leaves an impression, everywhere he goes.

And he has certainly left an impression on our hearts over the past year that he has been with us.

Happy anniversary, Fergus B. Haynes. We're so glad that someone thought that we were the perfect home for you.

Some of our fave pictures from the past year, coming up!

His first night in his new home.

Our first official outing together - this is the guy that didn't want a dog.

I can prick my ears forward....

Or I can make them stand STRAIGHT up!

A little less of a fuzzy-terrorist after my first haircut. This is also when my people discovered that I don't actually have a fat ass. I just had a really, really furry one!

Me and my pal Toby hanging on Uncle B.'s back deck

I have to lie on this bed like a good boy and not beg for food when my people are eating. They can't stop me from looking cute though! And maybe that will make them give me some food!

Chasing my tug rope up and down the stairs is hard work.

I don't know what this black thing is, but I love it!

Snow is the best!

Sitting nice for my people so they give me a cookie

Look how tired he looks. That's why we stopped at Starbucks for a coffee during our walk!

Her coffee kicked in already!

Sometimes I run around too much at the park, and my tongue hangs out of the side of my mouth, so I have to take a break!

Trying to convince Aunty K to play with me.

Waiting patiently for my Mom while she gets a coffee. She drinks a lot of that stuff!

Playing tug with my girlfriend, Bella. She's not that blurry in real life!