Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Virtues of Vince

I brought Vince home from the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA in May, 2012. I was told he was about nine years old at the time, making him about 14 years old this year. Vince came with a fairly extensive history. He had been adopted from the shelter as a pup. He was returned when his family moved or something and he was adopted out again only to be returned yet again due to some family problem not of his making. When he came in that third time he was not happy with the situation and refused to be handled by the staff doing standard intake vet stuff. Because he had a history with the SPCA, however, there were people there who knew him. He remembered them as well and the initial intake crisis was smoothed over.

The problem remained, however, that he would fail any current temperament testing making him essentially unadoptable. His guardian angels at CASPCA persevered, however, and the result was that I went to meet him.

Vince wasn't in the kennels with the other dogs, he was in Jennifer's office. I saw a sort of nondescript mutt, vaguely resembling some sort of shepherd mix, with ears disfigured from past ear infections. He also had an on-going digestive problem (diarrhea), probably stress related. I was told that Vince (his name was Toby at the time) didn't like to be handled by strangers, definitely didn't like to be handled by the vet, but mostly that he didn't like to be restrained.

I had come to the SPCA that day to pick up the cremains of another dog, Nero, who had been euthanized because he had an untreatable MRSA infection. I left with one dog's ashes in a box, and another dog, Vince, still very much in the quick.

I soon learned the Vince's dislike of restraint extended to a dislike of being contained. When he was in the dog yard he just stood at the gate throwing himself against it in a vain attempt to get out. I opened the gate to let him out and he was a happy dog. Vince must have lived at large in his former home(s) and he had learned enough to keep himself safe. For years he was the only dog I'd let out of the house without a leash and without taking to the dog yard or a kennel. Vince took care of himself and he tried his best, and still does, to be helpful around the yard. He tries to herd the other dogs when they are coming in or going out. When I'm working outdoors, Vince is ever present, hanging around, watching, trying to help. Indoors he follows me from room to room. If I'm gone, he does the same with any other person who is there. Vince is loyal.

He is terrible at the vet, requiring sedation for even routine procedures. Fortunately, he's been remarkably healthy and has rarely had to go. He had a bad tooth at one time, and a bite or wound on his face that got infected, but for his age, he's still in remarkably good shape with no obvious health problems. He let me bathe him one time, but he gave me a look that said it was a close call and I'd better not push my luck.

I don't take him hiking. This is his home, his territory, and where he wants to be. If I put him in the van to go anywhere he would be stressed out. Besides, he gets plenty of exercise running around the yard, helping with chores, and keeping an eye on everything.

Vince has always accepted new dogs coming in, although he often looks a little worried. He has reason to worry, I guess because he has sometimes lost his favorite sleeping spot when a new dog comes along, or has to share it when he'd rather not.

I've gone through five years of pictures and blog posts to find good pictures of Vince. He hasn't changed much since the first day he arrived here. He's put on a little weight, I guess, and he has a few old man bumps on him now, but not much has changed. He still runs everywhere he goes or moves at a fast paced walk like a UPS man. Vince does not dawdle. He has a lust for life and doesn't want to miss anything. He wants to take it all in.

Vince was never put up for adoption and he's still with us.  He's sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of the house -- he gets no respect, or so he thinks. He may not appear often on the blog, but he's never unnoticed around the house because he's generally right in front of me. Vince is omnipresent and he may outlive us all. In that case, the next owner of the house will have to learn to live with him.

Vince's tail is always up. I don't think I've ever seen it in any
other position.

This is at the vet's office, and he's happy
enough, as long as no one tries to do
anything to him.

This is a rare appearance of Vince up on the bed.

Vince often shows up with his head under
your hand for petting.

Vince checking out the garden.

Samantha's arrival concerned him, because she was also old,
stubborn, and set in her ways. They have learned to co-exist.

Enjoying a nice roll in the grass.
Vince and buttercups


Byron's mom said...

He is adorable and I'm so glad he's with you. Some people just don't get dogs- they think they should be little soldiers. To me, that is not the point of having a dog. Love this post and the pics!

Risa said...

I love Vince. He is in just the right place. And if he out lives you, I'll take him.
It's the least I can do.