Hello and good afternoon 🙂
This is an impromptu post because I’m babysitting Kuma (the Staffordshire Terrier) at in Rathmines and I’m feeling a bit typey and also a little lazy after our big walk this afternoon.
Will I tell you the story of how we came to adopt Kuma in our first year of college in our quite dilapidated flat at Kenilworth Square? Oh, alright then.
For quite a while, my housemate Cian and I had been craving the company of a little housepet (I actually had a cat in mind, but turn’s out I’m quite easy to pursuade, depending on the circumstances). I’d done a bit of research on nearby animal shelters and found that the DSPCA run a fostering service, whereby those warmhearted among us can take home animals for a short amount of time – like a Pet Holiday – while the shelter tries to find ‘forever homes’ for other residents. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give and have a little animal affection without signing the house up to any long-term commitment. Whilst the other housemates weren’t as enthusiastic about the idea as Cian and me, we thought they might come round to it as soon as we introduced the potential short-term lodger. After all, it wasn’t going to be for ever.
One day when both of us were off college and moping about in the ever-sticky Kenilworth kitchen, I said, “Will we just go and have a look at what’s at the DSPCA?” Off we went. I feel like we’d been driving for hours bit I don’t actually think it was that long – it was just in the middle of nowhere and we’d possibly gotten lost and driven the same roads twelve times. Still, we eventually stumbled upon the shelter and went in to talk to the receptionist. We told her our plan. She went to see who was available and in good enough health to be fostered for a bit. We waited with baited breath – would she have a relentlessly bounding sheepdog for us? A sleepy, elderly tabby cat whose conistently bad temper would become a source of joviality in the house?
“All we have at the moment,” she said as she reappeared into the reception area, “Is a family of chihuahuas. A mother and six pups. But they all have to stay together, I’m afraid.”
Alarm bells immediately began to trill in my head. I calmly suggested to Cian that we have a private discussion about our next move. But just as we began frantically whispering (by ‘we’ I absolutely mean me, by the way. “We can’t take home an entire family of bloody chihuahuas” was probably the gist of the frantic whisperings) an elderly lady entered the shelter, all a-fluster, arms wrapped round a towelled bundle. She had found this contents of the towel flailing about in a river. No owner in sight. She wished she could take it home but her two Bassett hounds might not approve. She let the bundle down, and out crawled a little black bulldog.
At first, I don’t think we considered that this fellow could or would be our Forever Friend. But then the receptionist explained that the puppy clearly hadn’t been abused and had probably run away – his owners might be looking for him and bla bla bla – and that dogs in this condition had to go to the pound and await the pick-up of their concerned owners. Despite the idea that his family might be on the look-out for him and, once they found him at the pound they’d take him home and all would be right in the world, we also knew the fate of dogs who spent too long waiting for collection at the pound. We wouldn’t hear of him going to await this fate. All too quickly we opted to take him home. Sadly the DSPCA lady said that she couldn’t legally allow us to just take the dog…”But once you’re outside this building, I suppose there’s nothing I can do…”
So we swiftly exited the building, thanking the lady for all her help, and adopted the Little Black Bundle who later became Kuma (Japanese for ‘bear’). We did stop quickly by the pound and report that we’d found a dog, lest his true loving owner called in worried sick looking for him…no one did, luckily for us.
And here we are, two years later.
One thing that I think we were momentarily a little worried about was people’s perception of him as a Staffy. They get a lot of bad press for being fighting dogs, and because of their ‘cracked skull’ (the rapid growth of muscle on either side of their head) people often find them to look a bit menacing. They’re also very quick – having one bolt towards you at lightspeed with their tongue hanging out is often misconstrued as an attack when most of them would only be capable of licking you to death. I might sound like I’m preaching now but I don’t care – I would wholeheartedly recommend a Staff to anybody wondering about adopting a dog (they’re also amazing with kids – did you know that originally they were born to sleep in the children’s nursery and keep away rats? Fun fact).
Anyway, that’s the story of how we ended up with Kuma. If you’ve ever taken in an animal or if you have a Bull breed, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. You know those people who you can’t shut up about their pets and spend entire nights out showing people pictures or video clips of them doing fairly average things? I love those people. I’m also one of them. So do tell me about your experiences, I’d love to hear 🙂
‘Til next time, love and licks,
K. x (and Kuma)
P.S., I never mentioned how the housemates reacted to Kuma coming home. They weren’t hugely impressed, to be honest. But he wore them down eventually. What began as ‘Fine, but he’s only allowed in the kitchen and living room but not on the couch’ became ‘Fine, he’s allowed in my room but not under my sheets’. Staffies have that way about them.