Sometimes you don’t know you’re incomplete, until something — or someone — comes along and well, completes you.
That was Luciano for us. Spencer was our first puppy child, and taking care of him kept our plates pretty full for those first few months after we adopted him. But as time went by, we decided we might want to start looking for a doggy companion for him. So we set out to the local weekly dog adoption to simply start looking for a brother or sister for Spencer. It was not our intention to adopt a dog that day (we wanted some time to think about it first), but when we walked into the adoption event, everything changed.
Luciano caught our attention immediately. He was energetic and charismatic, full of personality and affectionate as could be. He appeared to be a favorite among the volunteers. The rest of his litter had already been adopted out, so he was the only one left from the bunch still looking for a forever home.
That’s when we learned about what Luciano had gone through during his early puppy life. Flashback to six months prior: a precious litter of puppies was born in Mexico. Our amazing local dog rescue group, Doggies 911, was informed that this litter had been dumped and was in danger, so they went through extreme measures to cross the border to save them. After facing multiple challenges, they were finally able to cross back into California with this rambunctious litter of puppies in tow. One of the puppies was a black and tan little charmer whom they decided to name Luciano. They were happy to have made it back across the border, but the relief was short-lived, as they soon learned that Luciano had contracted canine parvovirus or “parvo,” a life-threatening, highly contagious virus that requires intensive veterinary treatment. The disease is often fatal, but the team at Doggies 911 persevered, sparing no expense to get Luciano the best possible medical attention. Luciano went through the necessary treatment, but because the condition is so contagious, he was forced to live in isolation for quite some time while he recovered (knowing now how social Luciano is, we imagine that this had to be terribly depressing for him). But Luciano beat the odds and survived, and was eventually healthy enough to be eligible to find his forever home.
In addition to Luciano’s undeniable charm, his backstory tugged at our heartstrings. After talking with the rescue group, it sounded like Luciano would be a good fit for our household. But we still didn’t know how he would get along with Spencer. We took them on a short walk together, and the chemistry was obvious and immediate. Although it hadn’t been our intention to make a decision that day, within minutes we were filling out the paperwork to become Luciano’s new adoptive parents.
Since they were already familiar with the building in which we lived, we were able to bypass the home inspection, and we took him home with us that day. It was an adjustment for all of us. Luciano was already six months old, so he was used to the lifestyle at his foster home and now had to get used to “condo” living. It took some training (like Spencer, he also had his fair share of potty accidents), but before we knew it, Luciano was an integral part of our household. Some might even say he now runs the household (and by “some,” I mean me).
Luciano — or “Luci,” as we often call him — is headstrong and mischievous, but also sweet and affectionate. He loves giving kisses. Lots of doggy kisses (ummm, can we say “excessive slobber?”). He’s eager to please and show with off with tricks, but of course, only when he feels like it (everything is on his time table). He’s been known to chew up everything from rugs to drywall and doggy beds to sofas (yes, he tore apart both arms of our previous sofa). He knows when he’s in trouble, and although we may be frustrated and upset at first, it’s hard to stay mad at him when he looks up at us with those pleading, brown eyes. Yep, like I said, he pretty much runs the household.
Luci is a clown and a performer; he’s athletic and agile, and always knows how to make us laugh. He’s often pushing the boundaries, but it’s hard to reprimand him when we’re so busy laughing at his antics (seriously, I can’t keep a straight face, even when I’m a little mad). He’s definitely our “talker”…he has his own language and will howl and bark with inflection and purpose, especially when he knows he’s about to go for a walk and wants to express his excitement and approval. He’ll “dialogue” with us for several minutes, and our conversations with him are quite entertaining.
Luci and Spencer are best friends. They play together so well, keep each other company, and give love and kisses to each other on a regular basis. We couldn’t have asked for a better match-up, and we truly believe they were destined to be “brothers.”
When I think about where Luci came from and what he had to endure as a young puppy, it makes my heart break. I wish I could have protected him back then, and I am so grateful for the wonderful people at Doggies 911 who did that in our place before we knew him, going above and beyond what most people would have done. (We are so grateful, in fact, that we are considering fostering or taking in more dogs in the future, if our home can accommodate it.) Although we know that Luciano is a survivor (we call him our “scrappy” one), his sweet, engaging face reminds us that he is also so eager for love, loyalty and protection, and we are thrilled that we get to be the ones who can now provide that for him.
He was the missing piece to our family puzzle, and just like Spencer is part of our destiny, so is Luciano. The love in our house has been multiplied beyond anything we could have ever dreamed. Luciano filled a void we didn’t even know we had, and we can say without a doubt: Luciano, you complete us.
For more irresistible puppy love, check out Puppy Love, Part 1: Spencer.