It’s just not a very good idea. It defies logic, goes against all common sense. Completely against any tangible morsel of better judgment.
Who would adopt an eight-year-old dog? Well, no one in their right mind, that’s for sure. And since I don’t fall into that category, it was no surprise when I brought home a middle-aged West Highland white terrier for a sleepover.
Thing is, our complicated household already contained one tolerant wife, two busy teenagers, one mental shih tzu and a stuck-up cat.
But what could I do, the eight-year-old Westie, confusingly named Scotty, was tied up in the back yard of a family that could no longer keep him and the way I saw it, it was either cuddles or curtains for the fluffy white mutt with the deep black marble eyes.
And so before making any decision, we thought we’d try a sleepover first. It didn’t start out so well.
We arrive at our house, and immediately Scamp, our three year-old shih tzu — a mommy’s boy if there ever was one — goes into a serious canine territorial snit, all teeth and growls.
Scotty simply saunters calmly across the living room, lifts his leg and piddles on the corner of the new leather couch.
Then the cat, who considers herself Emperor of the Household and Queen of the Universe, arrives back in the house after her latest journey as the self-appointed Sovereign Ruler of the Neighbourhood.
Scotty takes the opportunity to prove that he is a tough Scotsman and a cement-head terrier by immediately attacking the cat. Pet owners will know without a shadow of a doubt where this is going.
There’s a blood-curdling yelp, a blinding flurry of fur, and it’s all over in three seconds flat.
The unscathed cat struts away, her nose in the air, gliding in a completely bored fashion to find a cozy spot to curl up in.
Scotty, on the other hand, is whimpering, crying and pawing at his nose, which is bleeding profusely from a deep cat-scratch gash that very nearly required plastic surgery.
And it all pretty well tumbled straight downhill by the time dinner rolled around.
The table is set. The daughter is in her room listening to tunes on her Ipod. The son is in his room Nintendo-ing away on Mario Kart.
My better-half is downstairs getting something from the freezer.
I’m heading to kitchen, when I stop cold in my tracks. Scotty is standing on the kitchen table. Four paws between the four plates.
He turns to look at me, marble eyes flickering, a ham sandwich in his mouth.
I yell out something that is a long way from Scottish and Scotty jumps off the table onto a chair from whence he came, and onto the kitchen floor like he’s been doing that in our kitchen all his life, and slick as you please drops the sandwich out of his mouth — Plunk! — right into the dog bowl that we had placed there for him. True story.
Don’t ask me why, but I knew right then and there that I couldn’t give him back.
Further proof of both my card-carrying status as a fanatical dog-lover, and my confirmation as a certified lunatic.
It didn’t take long, though, for Scotty to adopt us as his new family.
And now, somehow, after a whole lot of Scotty adventures, he has been with us over eight years now — longer with our family than his first family.
The eight-year canine sleepover brought us countless long walks, and countless good times, and that happy little white terrier with the flashing black marble eyes made every dog-day better by making our home his home.
But there is a down-side to adopting an eight-year-old dog. It means that now he’s really getting very old for a small dog and he doesn’t see so well anymore, and he doesn’t hear so well anymore, and I’m worried about how much longer we get to have him on his sleepover.
Now he needs help up and down the stairs and couldn’t get up on the table if he wanted to.
But he sure still knows what to do with a ham sandwich.
Harley Hay is a local filmmaker and freelance writer.