ASPCA Happy Tails: Mr. Bingley’s Smile

October 21, 2014

It’s no coincidence that many of our Happy Tails begin with a magical moment. Adopters often describe the first encounter with their pet as, “meant to be” or, “love at first sight.” But not everyone believes in kismet and fairy dust, and Stephen L. was one such person. Assuming that dog adoption would be as simple as “picking a pet,” he never expected to have his heart stolen by a pit bull named Clipper. Here is their Happy Tail.

The first thing people notice about Clipper is his smile. It’s famous at the ASPCA, and it’s one of the sweetest things about him. The second thing people notice, however, is his scars. Clipper was rescued from an abusive situation in April 2014, and when he arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital he was covered in multiple bite wounds on his front legs and face. The wounds—both new and old—would leave him with permanent marks.

In June, Clipper was adopted for two weeks before being returned for being “too noisy” and “frightened of loud noises.” We knew he would need someone special, and, fortunately, Stephen showed up a few weeks later.

"I grew up with dogs and remember them being some of the best parts of my childhood,” Stephen says. “I decided to adopt because I knew that there are so many good dogs that need a home. This applies especially to pit bulls.” At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Stephen set out to find a pit mix between 30 – 40 lbs., or as he calls it, “the perfect apartment-size dog.” He thought having a sense of weight and breed would be enough to guide the process, stating, “People told me, ‘Don’t worry about finding a dog, the dog will find you.’ I was just going to pick something cute and call it a day.”

Stephen met two pit mixes before being introduced to Clipper. “Since he fit my size requirements, I decided to meet him,” he recalls. “Before Clipper arrived, I was told that he was kind and sweet but very shy from being abused in his past, so not to worry if he didn’t approach me.” Not expecting anything miraculous, Stephen was taken aback by what happened next. “The elevator opened and out came Clipper. As soon as they brought him into the meeting area, my heart broke when I noticed his scarred face. Then he walked right up to me and gave me a big sloppy kiss on the cheek.”

Stephen finished his scheduled meetings with other dogs, but from that moment on, he couldn’t stop thinking about Clipper. “His big smile and his playful spirit, despite his rocky past—I knew then and there I had to make him my family.” He came back the next day for a “second date,” took Clipper for a walk, and then promptly took him home—after changing his name to Mr. Bingley, of course.

In the weeks that followed, Stephen and Mr. Bingley became inseparable friends. “It must be really difficult to uproot your life and, on top of that, to trust a complete stranger,” Stephen says of Mr. Bingley’s adjustment. “But he does not carry any of his past life in his personality.” The sweet dog now spends his days rolling in the grass, playing with his toys, and starring in his own Instagram account, @TheAdventuresOfMrBingley. Stephen says, “I know our relationship is still new, but I can’t imagine my life without him. He is the perfect thing to come home to, a bundle of sweet energy and puppy kisses!”

And though he had been skeptical of “love at first sight,” Stephen admits that he has learned so much from Mr. Bingley. “To say he had me at hello is a bit of an understatement.”

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