Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Gottcha Day, Bingley!

February 16, 2008, we brought Bingley home to be our dog and Portia's companion. The first four months he was with us are a blur of EVENTS: difficult house training; constant, exuberant play; a sudden hemorrhage when Bingley "worked" on a small abrasion; escape from his Martingale collar to chase two Chihuahuas; AND repeated episodes of frightening hemorrhagic gastro-enteritis.

But we never considered returning him to Greyhound Adoption Center. He is, quite simply, the sweetest tempered dog we've ever had.

During this past week, he has shone during visits from family. At first, those who aren't accustomed to large dogs are a little taken aback by his enthusiastic greetings and his efforts to "cuddle" with them on a sofa. But, before long, his sweet, guileless nature charms them and he has a new fan.

When we adopted Portia, we didn't intend to adopt a second dog. But her intense, assertive personality led us to believe that both she and we would be happier if she could focus some of her energy on another dog rather than exclusively on us. Bingley served this function to perfection. His willingness to play on Portia's terms and always be "second banana" to the neighborhood beauty endeared him to us.

And when Portia and John were brutally attacked by a loose dog, it was Bingley, in spite of being bitten himself, who helped our neighbor chase the attacking dog back to his yard.

In the painful months following Portia's death, Bingley was a constant comfort during our mourning. What would we have done without him?

Bingley's new companion, Magic, is very different from Portia. Coming from severe neglect, missing a normal puppyhood, Magic doesn't understand Bingley's invitations to play. He is patiently trying to instruct her. But, when she or I tell him to back off, he does.

Most evenings, Bingley runs a race around the living room. I cheer him and tell him he's a winner, a real champ. That's the absolute truth.

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