It’s been over 4 years since we lost Vito the Wonder Dog, but we talk about him often. He was our first “child”, our fur baby, and he was spoiled and a (mostly) perfect dog.
We love both of our dogs, but they are VERY different. However, if we could take the best qualities from one and the redeeming qualities for the other, we would have the perfect dog.
Rocco is our little do-gooder, the perfect size to sit on your lap and keep you warm. He loves the big bed, belly rubs and hogging my chair while I’m trying to work. He also gives out open mouth kisses and enjoys licking your teeth and slurping your nostrils.
Rocco is really good at:
Snuggling up on your lap
Going into his crate when asked
Going into his crate when not asked
Giving sad eyes
Being left out of his crate when we go out
Not chewing anything in the house
Peeing immediately when you bring him out
Rocco is NOT good at:
Riding in the car (he barks at every leaf, person, truck, cloud)
Walking on a leash
Not wanting to chase trucks and cars
Leaving Bruno alone when he doesn’t want to be bothered
Oh, Bruno. You were a tough puppy. You grew bigger than we thought you would, so we were used to little dogs who were couch potatoes, not medium sized dogs who needed to run and exert so much energy. But you weaseled your way into our hearts and we love you despite your naughty tendencies!
Bruno is really good at:
Riding in the car (he is the perfect passenger)
Walking on a leash (except when we see another dog…)
Cuddling (he is like a big body pillow!)
Sitting for a treat
Being my walk buddy
Meeting and playing with other dogs
Going to doggy daycare
Sleeping in his crate at night
Playing with Little Mister (and being so patient with him)
Bruno is NOT good at:
Leaving Little Mister’s stuffed animals alone
Going in the crate when asked
Going in the crate when not asked
Being left alone and trusted not to do anything naughty
Not jumping on people
Hiding his beagle howl, especially when people come in our house
Oh these boys! How they wind their way into our hearts!
This post is in honor of Finley, whom my friend had to say goodbye to this week.
Last year, we added a pandemic puppy to our family. And let me say, it has been a challenging year and a half. Bruno is a medium-sized dog (a little bigger than we thought he would be), is constantly into everything, and I must blurt out, “Where’s Bruno?” at least a thousand times a day. Because if I can’t see him, he’s doing something he shouldn’t be. But he’s a big goof and we love him. And it’s no coincidence that the word ‘NO’ is at the end of his name.
Adopting a puppy during a pandemic meant all the “pros” were also cons.
PRO: you are home 24/7 and can effectively potty train the puppy!
CON: you are home 24/7 and your puppy turns into velcro dog, develops separation anxiety and can’t handle it when you leave a room.
Move over Millennials and Gen Z, Bruno has you beat when it comes to FOMO.
I think every pet has a preferred parent. It could be the one who gives out extra treats when the other isn’t looking, or the one who snuggles them on the couch. In my case, I have become Bruno’s “person” because I’m the one who takes him on long walks every day.
These walks serve a dual purpose: 30 minutes of exercise for me (at least) and hopefully wearing out Bruno so that he will take a nice, long nap. Because a tired dog, is a well-behaved dog.
And because I’m Bruno’s person, he is extremely attached to me. And he’s afraid I’m going to do something fun (read: go outside for a walk) without him. It’s like having a very unflattering stalker.
Bruno’s FOMO looks something like this:
I spared you all and didn’t post a photo of Bruno joining me in the bathroom every time I’m in there, standing in front of me, staring at me.
In the early spring, when we started going out again, we could not leave the house without Bruno freaking out. He’d be in his crate, scratching at the bottom like crazy, whining and crying. One time, he moved his crate halfway across the kitchen floor because he was trying to get out so badly! We were prisoners in our own home! It took a bit of training, leaving for short periods, and some “herbal” remedies of a spray and some calming drops to get him to be calm when we put him in his crate when it’s time for us to go out.
We didn’t know when we adopted him he’d become velcro dog, but I suppose being with us 24/7 trained him to think we’d always be around. Sometimes Bruno’s FOMO is cute and it makes me feel very loved and admired…at a very close distance. And I hear that Rockwell song in my head, “(I Always Feel Like), Somebody’s Watching Me…”
“We’ll have so much time to train him!” we thought.
“The new dog will keep Rocco company!” we hoped.
Gate Houdini. Toy stealer. Chewer of everything.
We are a rescue family. Rocco was rescued last March at 4 months old, and we wanted to do the same for our second dog. Bruno was rescued in July at just 9 weeks old! They said he was a “doxie mix”, and he was available with his litter mates: two sisters, one who was black and brown like he was (but smaller) and one who was completely tan. That, in itself, was a little suspicious. When we arrived at the shelter he was alone, his sisters had already been adopted earlier in the day. He was sleeping peacefully outside, his little round, pink belly rising and falling with each breath. I picked him up and inhaled his puppy smell. Is there anything better than new puppy smell? Probably second only to new baby smell.
We left with “Dallas” as he was named, and the entire ride home, as he slept in my arms, I whispered into his soft, floppy ear: “You are Bruno. Bruno. Bruno.”
Bruno was a surprise for our Little Mister who had NO IDEA we were bringing home a dog. You know who else was surprised? Rocco.
It’s amazing how quickly you forget what house training a puppy is like, even if you just did a year earlier. And, we were right in assuming it would be easier since we were home all the time. But still, house training is exhausting! But my Type A personality ensured we only had a handful of accidents in the house as I watched Bruno like a hawk. The minute he looked suspicious, he went outside!
And, Bruno won himself some bonus points for sleeping through the night in his crate from night one with no crying. He will fit right in here with that kind of behavior.
Rocco and Bruno are still trying to figure out their place with each other. When we first brought Bruno home, he and Rocco (who is full grown) were almost the same size, Bruno being 8 pounds to Rocco’s 10. But any size advantage Rocco had quickly diminished when Bruno started gaining a pound a week. He quickly was taller (and stronger) than Rocco, though he was still a clumsy puppy so Rocco was able to push him around. They spent quite a bit of time wrestling (and still do!), though their interactions have grown louder. And Bruno has become bolder. And Rocco spends a lot of time hiding under chairs.
Rocco – who at the tender age of 2 – is like a grumpy old man. He’s possessive of Little Mister, and getting attention. And most of the time he just wants to be left alone. Bruno – who can’t take a hint – constantly wants to play so he bites at Rocco’s rear end and tail, nudges him off a bed, steals any toy he’s playing with. Basically, he’s an annoying little bratty brother.
Do I love that we have gates up all over the house to contain him until we can trust him? No.
Does leaving a room or going outside cause more drama than we’d like? Yep.
Do we need to each “take a dog” at certain times to keep peace in our house? Oh yeah.
When someone comes in the house does mayhem ensue? For sure.
Is Bruno wiggling his way into our hearts? Absolutely.
When you talk to Bruno, he looks right into your eyes and tilts his head, as if he’s trying to understand what you’re saying to him. Our old dog Vito used to do that, too. Vito was part human, I think.
Bruno is working on learning his commands and how to be a good doggie and a respectful member of our family. He’s scared of strangers and gets nervous in new situations. “You have to socialize him!” the vet said. Well, Dr., I haven’t socialized myself in the last 8 months, let along a dog!
But we’re working on it! Today was a test run at doggie daycare for Bruno. And we didn’t get a call to pick him up 20 minutes after we dropped him off, so to me, that’s a success. Plus, the only other dog there was about 5 pounds and Bruno still behaved himself. Extra treats for him tonight for not eating another dog today!
It’s been 4 months and we sort of hoped that Rocco and Bruno would be besties by now. Spoiler alert: that is not the case. They currently tolerate each other. (Correction: Rocco tolerates Bruno and Bruno annoys Rocco.)
Hopefully things calm down in the KK household soon. And Bruno doesn’t take down our Christmas tree (which is grounds for dismissal, btw).
He’s not a snuggler, or a kisser. But he does like to hog the couch. He’s a little kooky and quirky. But he’s all ours.
You can follow Rocco and Bruno’s shenanigans on Instagram!