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Bugsy the Boston

By October 17, 2011October 19th, 2011Clive, Dogs


Clive’s little visitor this weekend was Bugsy, a three year-old rescued Boston Terrier. We noticed him on the local no-kill shelter’s Facebook page and when we inquired about him, found out several people had recommended they call us. I think that’s a credit to Clive being awesome more so than a compliment to our parenting skills.

We’ve been considering a second dog for some time. It’s not like we don’t have enough pets around here, but a friend for Clive to pal around with during the day while we’re gone would be nice, and might help him feel less lonely. The cats don’t like to pal around. They just like to throw punches and run away.

The shelter said we could bring Bugsy home for the weekend to see how he and Clive got along. We picked him up on Friday and from the moment we got home, it was a roller coaster of up-all-night no-fun.


Bugsy was given away by someone who “didn’t want him,” and then his new owners just kind of, oh you know, forgot to feed him. He could be Clive’s twin, only he’s about 7-8 pounds lighter. In addition to skeletal, it was obvious that he had been neglected in other ways because he was riddled with anxiety. His coping mechanism? Humping.


Humping can mean a lot of things in the dog world. Dominance, being newly neutered/spayed, or just part of playing around. However, humping can also be a sign of a more serious social disorder. Bugsy would not stop humping Clive, and when he did, it was because we were pulling him off of him. It almost seemed involuntary, like he just couldn’t help himself. When Neil took Clive out, Bugsy would pace and look for him, and when he finally give up, he became a totally different dog.


He played and chased me around the house, licked my face and cuddled up next to me. He was a great dog — just not the right dog for Clive/us. Clive was distressed and clearly miserable the whole time, and when he did try to play, Bugsy would just hump him. Clive would sometimes growl, but it wasn’t enough to make Bugsy stop. Clive is just too passive.

We knew to make it work, it would take nearly as much work as it took both Clive and us to overcome his anxiety issues. And then additional work to make sure Clive suffered no setbacks. There’s that feeling of selflessness and wanting to adopt this poor dog and make it work, no matter what, followed by the realization that we’d shortchange Clive. That’s not fair to him, he deserves the best of life.

I cried as I drove Bugsy back to his foster mom only a day after bringing him home. It didn’t help that the terrible Sarah Mclachlan commercial was playing on TV as I was packing up his stuff. Neil and I both felt guilty and terrible. We’re not quitters, and we don’t give up on people, especially our animal “people.” How do you reconcile that value with knowing that while you could have possibly helped, you just didn’t … want to? What makes Bugsy so different from Clive?

I’m thrilled to say that after dropping him off, Bugsy was adopted later that day (yay!). We’re excited for him and his new family, and wish them all the happiness we’ve experienced with our Boston Terrier.

As for us, we will continue to keep our eyes open for another new friend for Clive. If we keep having puppies, can I further postpone the inevitable having babies reality?


  • Too bad that he wasn’t the right fit for you, but you’re right, it wouldn’t be fair to Clive. I’m glad he found a home though!

  • How heartbreaking! But for what it’s worth, I think you absolutely made the right decision. When we added Calvin to our family, we agreed that we would put up with any struggles we had to (and oh, there were struggles!) but if we felt Seamus was in any way compromised by a new puppy, we would find Calvin a new home. It doesn’t make sense to make your first dog miserable by rescuing a second. It’s not fair to either pup or to you! I love that Bugsy found a home where he could thrive and I’m sure you’ll find the right buddy for Clive eventually.

    Luckily most of Calvin’s bad behavior was directed to us and while Seamus was definitely annoyed for a few months, they are best friends now. At the dog park they follow each other around and Seamus gets jealous if Calvin plays with anyone else. It’s pretty adorable. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      You really inspired my desire for another dog. The idea of two dogs camping, and two dogs at the park and most of all someone to keep Clive company seems like the right thing to do by Clive, as long as it’s the right pup. Hopefully our outcome will be just as good.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Clive is your first doggy responsibility. You made the right decision. You will find a good buddy match for Clive. We did! We found a perfect rescue pup for our Jack russell from the SPCA! And we named him Buddy.