Love Me Tender
When Anne Nearman visited the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City in search of her perfect dog, 22 pounds of furry curiosity walked right over to her. A good sign, indeed, except that the 4 1/2-month-old pit bull mix hadn’t yet perfected her manners. Luckily, Anne was given a solution for the puppy’s nipping by an ASPCA behaviorist. “I was told to yelp when she bit me,” Anne recalls, “and, realizing it hurt, she would immediately stop and lick my hand.”
Gus—who got her name because she’s super playful like a little boy—was independent when she first came home with Anne, scoping out the house and sleeping in the hallway. Soon, however, she decided it was time for a much closer look. “She started to follow me around and check in to see where I was,” Anne remembers.
Now, at eight months old, Gus is living the good life, lounging on the shag rug in Anne’s bedroom and learning to play with her adoptive mom. “She’s always liked a good tug of war with her toy frog, and has now learned to drop it so that we can play fetch together,” says Anne.
Gus loves her stuffed animals, too, and delights in inventing new uses for them. “She sometimes licks them and then falls asleep on top of them like a pillow,” describes Anne, “or she’ll fall asleep with one in her mouth.”
Could her sweet disposition be the sign of a therapy dog in the making? “Although she’s still a romping puppy, she’s incredibly empathetic, especially when encountering a child or an elderly or hurt dog,” says Anne. “She cocks her head, sits perfectly still or just lies down on the ground beside them.”
P.S.: When Gus was at the ASPCA Adoption Center, we couldn’t resist immortalizing her cuteness—and this photogenic gal is featured on this year’s ASPCA holiday cards. Can’t tell which one she is? Hint: bottom left, green frame!