Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Getting Norman was one of those life decisions I have made that went completely against my better judgement, but I couldn't be happier with the outcome. Kaya was proving to be quite the challenge and showing no signs of improvement. She was always super easy at home but had a bottomless pit of need for attention from humans and dogs when out and about. I knew that someday I wanted to get another dog, but I wanted Kaya to be older and better trained first. I also wanted to wait until I moved into a bigger place. However, I was able to convince myself that Kaya's only hope was through the guidance of an older wiser dog who would show her the way, but also tolerate her antics(no sense of personal space, theft of toys, bones and treats, and puppy wrestling playfulness).

Do I look like a trouble maker?

I set out for a search on Craigslist and Petfinder...my only searched keyword was "pit bull". I really didn't think another puppy was a great idea and I also really wanted to adopt from a rescue or shelter, but looking at his pictures, I just couldn't stop thinking about him. The description was short, "I have a beautiful 5 month old male pit bull I am trying to rehome. Very loving and sweet has been around kids and loves to give kisses. I am asking a small adoption fee to cover the costs of his shots."

I was wary though and had many questions. Why are you re-homing him? Where did you get him from? Is he good with other dogs? Has he been around cats? How much is a small adoption fee? Is he neutered? I sent a quick email, but as I drifted off to sleep, I told myself, "Definitely no, it's a terrible idea." However, the fact that I had already picked out his new name was probably a sign that I wouldn't listen to my rational mind. I wanted to call him Norman after the cow Billy Crystal saved in City Slickers because he looked like a cow, of course and it's such an endearing name. When I woke up in the morning I had a reply from them and my heart jumped with excitement. I emailed back and forth with them a few times, but they were vague in their answers so I decided I just needed to see him in person. And even before a cup of coffee, I had arranged a time for Kaya & I to come and meet him later that day.

Norman the puppy does not look like Norman the calf, but he does look like other cows.

Trailer for City Slickers 2, click to halfway through the video to see him jogging with his cow, Norman.

As usual I was late getting there and got lost too. I tried calling them and didn't get through. I kept telling myself, it I don't find their house, it must be a sign that I shouldn't be getting another puppy. I think, in a way, I was still trying to talk myself out of it or at the least, I was reminding myself this was a hasty and crazy thing to do. I was also still apprehensive that he was not from a rescue situation and I did not want to support a backyard breeder or careless dog owner. I eventually got a hold of them and they asked if I was still coming because other people were interested. Being that I was so close already, I said yes and got better directions.

But once I saw him in person, it didn't take longer than a second for me to decide he was coming home with us:) They must have just been busy with their kids or just not great at emailing because the couple was really nice in person and told me his whole story. The guy was genuinely heartbroken that he had to let him go and said that Norman was his "dream dog.''

Norman came into the Contra Costa Animal Shelter as a stray and they named him Johnny. They showed me all his paperwork and it turned out he was actually only 3 months-old! The couple had been wanting a second dog to join their 2 year-old shepherd mix. They fell in love with him, the dogs met and got along fine and coincidentally on the day the man went to pick Norman up from the shelter, their baby was born. They also had a toddler son! I could see as their son played in the yard, Norman made no attempts to jump on him, nip, chase or play rough at all. He wagged his tail and dished out kisses as the kid ran past with his toys. And he was just the same with the baby. They had only had him for a week and hadn't taught him any of this, it was just him.

Sadly for them, their shepherd was not enjoying having a puppy around and was being protective over his food, bed and personal space. They repeated over and over that Norman could not have been sweeter, but their dog just was not having it. I met the dog briefly and I could immediately see that they were right. He even admitted that he would rather keep Norman but after 2 years of owning his dog, he was committed to him and he was a great family dog otherwise. They only had Norman for a week but wanted to let him go before they bonded with him further. The man had already been sleeping with Norman between his legs every night.

So it was Kaya's turn to meet him and it was love at first sight! They had a long play session and I'm pretty sure she was nothing less than thrilled about her new bro. They asked only for the exact amount of his adoption fee and handed over as his paperwork so we were on our way! As I looked at them in the back of the car on the way home, it was as if he was with us all along. Kaya was asleep and right beside her was her new bff, Norman.

In the car, on our way home. Best buds already.

When I first got him home, it was like nothing was new or different. He fit in perfectly.

For some reason, for the first couple days, his right ear was always up. 

No need for personal space...check!

In the beginning, I was shocked by his behavior. He didn't do anything puppy-like...apart from looking cute and awkwardly running after toys or fumbling with bones. But he didn't chew on things that weren't his. He didn't try to play with the cat. He didn't get rambunctious. He only peed inside a couple times and never poop. He was so easy to have around, right off the bat. And in contrast to Kaya, who was crazy time when we'd go out, he would walk easily on the leash. He was a real stop and sniff the roses kind of guy. I found myself trying to get Kaya to slow down and get Norman to keep up!

This is what I woke up to his first morning, he slept the whole night with his head resting on me.

Marty took to Norman right away and Norman was naturally very sweet to his new kitty friend.

Unlike Kaya, who I am enjoying more as she is maturing, Norman is one of those puppies who should just stay that way forever. He has the maturity of a 10 year old dog, but the adorably goofiness of a puppy.

"So Norman...this is what we do in the mornings...you'll get the hang of it."



"Please Kaya, can I have it?"

"No biggie...I found a stick."

So Kaya found exactly what she needed.

And I think Norman did too.

And Marty seems pretty content himself.

I've had Norman for about 2 months now and I feel like I've had him forever. I don't know what I ever did without him. I look forward to every walk, training session, playtime and cuddle. I'm so excited to spend a lifetime with him!

Related Posts:
Norman's DNA Results
A Year with Norman
Norman is Now a Certified Therapy Dog!

Kaya's Adoption Story

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