Onto our back story! For those of you unfamiliar with my bulldog family, this blog entry will allow you to get to know how we came to be one big farty family.
Age: 12 Years
Weight: 83 lbs
Nicknames: Mackie, Chubs, The Fat Guy, Old Guy, Senior Discount, Mackarena, Macklemore
Mackie is a retired weight pulling champion and father of many illegitimate offspring, the numbers varying depending on what mood and level of sobriety Mack is in.
Mackie was my husband’s first bulldog, or terrier for that matter. Justin found Mack’s early obsession with the laser pointer to be hilarious and entertaining. One day, while Justin was screwing around with Mack with the laser pointer, Mack went off on a crazy tangent and launched himself off of the bed and through a sheet rock wall. Mack was unhurt, mostly amused and slightly hungry, but that was about the time that Justin got the idea that he should enter Mack in weight pulling competitions.
Weight pulling competitions, for those of you are unfamiliar, are a great time for both humans and canines alike. Any dog can enter, as the dogs are classified into different weight and size categories. Basically, they take a 4-wheeled cart and pile on weight. A harness is strapped to your dog and your dog runs like hell to move the cart across a fairly short distance and crosses a finish line, the owner standing by the dog, shouting encouragement and praise. The dogs thrive off of the mid size audience and praise, pets and treats from total strangers. That, and the prime scattered ass these tournaments attract. Back in 2004, you could use even flashlights on the sidelines, much to Mack and Justin’s advantage.
Justin entered Mackie in about 20-30 competitions over the course of 4 years or so. Mack walked away with 8 wins and a record setting weight pull of 2,550 lbs!
It wasn’t long after Mack started entering tournaments when other bulldog owners approached Justin to stud Mack out (most weight pulling dogs are left in tact). My husband set Mack up on a couple of “dates”. It took a bit of practice (and one accidental and embarrassing sodomize) but Mackie soon got the hang of it and sired about 5 litters.
Age: 4 years
Weight: 87 lbs
Nicknames: Petuh, The Bilt, Mr. Bilt, Meathead, Squishface, White Faced Devil, Crackhead, The Maniac
Mackie and my husband were two peas in a pod. They did everything together! Justin took Mack everywhere: Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Texas to name just a few places. Everything was just fine and dandy when Justin ruined it all by getting the idea in his head to get a 2nd dog, an offspring of Mack, with one of Mack’s last litters. Mackie had a hot date in early January, the gestation period for Oldy‘s being about 60 days. Then Justin and I met and had our first date on February 28. We didn’t know then that in just two days, all of our lives would be ruined (I keed, I keed).
Peter was born on March 2, 2009, one of 9 pups:
Justin will tell you otherwise, but it was actually him that picked out Peterbilt:
Peterbilt was an adorable puppy. Since Peterbilt was planned out before Justin and I had even met and we had been dating about 5 weeks when Peterbilt was old enough to come home, I became an instant Mom by proximity. I didn’t know what to expect at all, since I grew up with female dachshunds, the antithesis of male terriers. Justin, with the experience of raising one bulldog under his belt, felt confident that he could show me the ropes of bulldog-rearing. However, Peterbilt was different in so many ways from Mack, we both soon learned that owning a Petuh was not going to be an easy task:
Mack was less than thrilled when we brought Peterbilt home:
Peterbilt was absolutely enamored with his old man:
Mack did more than his fair share of babysitting over the next few months and he took it like a sport:
Peter grew, SO FAST. The first weekend we had him, he could fit in the center console of Justin’s truck. By the next weekend he was too big to fit.
This is a picture of Peterbilt trying to eat his Dad’s food when we first brought him home in mid April:
This is Peterbilt 5 weeks later, being a turd:
And this is him with me in Mid June. Son of Clifford:
Peterbilt was a typical puppy. Getting into everything, stealing socks and destroying anything within reach. We could tell from the get go he was going to be a mama’s boy. Mack put up with Peter and Peter did everything he could to get a rise out of his grumpy old dad.
Then things changed.
Late summer came and Peterbilt was now Mack’s size with no intention of stopping there:
This sparked some aggression on Mack’s part.
Mackie had a bad experience at a dog park when both him and Justin lived in Vegas. From what I was told, one dog turned on Mack to pick a fight when mob mentality took over and soon 5 dogs were fighting with Mack. The story ended with Mack and Justin both ending up in the ER with stitches. Since then, Mack acts aggressively towards dogs his size and bigger. FYI, he tolerates smaller dogs just fine.
The fighting between Mack and Peterbilt started out infrequently and was written off as dogs being dogs. But then the fights escalated. Then Peterbilt grew bigger, which propelled them further. Then Peterbilt started fighting back. It got bloody and dangerous. It was one of the most stressful periods of our lives. Justin was heartbroken. They could no longer be in the same room as each other. What were we going to do? Something had to change, but we couldn’t bear to give up either dog.
We neutered Mack, knowing at age 9 his breeding days were done. This caused him to gain about 15 lbs and totally go Val Kilmer on us, but did not change the aggressive behavior.
We took both dogs to see a behaviorist to get a full evaluation. They didn’t give us a good prognosis: only a 50% chance that Mack and Peter would ever get along and that would only be after several thousand dollars worth of rehabilitation, custom made muzzles and several years at best.
We neutered Peterbilt the following spring after a bout with cherry eye and a pending surgery for a luxating patella. With the genetic disorders, our hopes for someday breeding Peterbilt were dashed. However, this too, did not curb the aggressive behavior in Peterbilt towards his dad. Peterbilt was now exhibiting signs of his father’s same fear of large dogs.
We sent Mack to live with Justin’s parents for a few months to cool things off. However, with Justin’s parents leaving for Arizona in the fall for the winter, we had to come up with a plan fast.
With all other options exhausted, we did the last thing we could: separate the dogs. Our house is one level with a finished basement. Mackie got the basement which was soon dubbed “Mack‘s Apartment“, or “Mack‘s Bachelor Pad“. As compensation for living downstairs with most of the action going on upstairs, Mackie got his very own, old and ratty, L-shaped sofa to sleep on. To this day, this is his most prized possession.
Peterbilt, still only 90% potty-trained at the time, got the upstairs with the tile and hardwood floors.
A door and a set of stairs separated the two levels. We used the stairs as a buffer zone. A baby gate was put at the bottom of the stairs to keep Mack from going up the stairs and to the door. To keep Peterbilt from going downstairs, the door was now being kept shut at all times.
It was a very nerve-racking first few weeks with all 4 of us walking on eggshells. However, it wasn’t long until both of the dogs relaxed, as well as us. It became clear that our dogs did not want to fight and live in fear. They just wanted to get along and be happy but couldn’t help themselves when instinct took over. They now looked to us to control the environment inside and to keep them safe from each other.
That was over 3 years ago.
Our dogs still can’t be indoors in the same room with each other, but are now able to get along outside and on walks. Knowing that dogs can hold grudges that can last a lifetime, we have resigned the idea of working with them to get along indoors and have just concentrated on getting them to have as much positive time around each other without incident as we possibly can. They really do appreciate each other’s company on walks and have at times joined forces to chase off unwanted critters off of the property.
We shuffle the dogs around the house so that each gets it’s time with Justin and I. It was a lot of work and stress to constantly have to communicate where the dogs were throughout the house but in time, it became like second nature to us.
So much for brevity. This seems like a good place to stop. Next blog will be lighter I swear. Stay tuned for more bulldog stories!