I don’t want three dogs. Steve doesn’t want three dogs. But if we ever had to have three dogs, I’d want one of them to be like Cletus.

We actually wind up living with three dogs fairly frequently — whenever we’re dog- or puppy-sitting. We feel an obligation to do that pretty often, because we turn to our friends and fellow CCI volunteers pretty often to take care of Tucker and our current puppy, whenever we’re traveling.

Like Tucker, Cletus was raised (by Pattie and Glenn Urie) to be a service dog, but he was released (in his case for separation anxiety and alert barking). We know the Uries because we’ve attended puppy classes with them. Moreover, they came up with the idea of the CCI puppy drill team, and we regularly participate with them in parades. Pattie also organized a Meet-up group for owners of CCI release dogs who need pet care. When Steve and I saw (from the Meet-up announcement) that they needed a sitter for Cletus, we were happy to volunteer.

Although I didn’t know Cletus well, I found myself admiring him almost as soon as he walked in the door. He’s well-mannered — waiting at doors and sitting promptly when directed to and walking nicely on the leash. I found that I could walk all three dogs myself, something I’m hesitant to do when they together weigh considerably more than me. Pretty soon, he was following me everywhere in the house. Whenever he could, he would endearingly plaster himself up against me.

Although Cletus looks a lot like Tucker, his face is a little foxier, his head a little flatter.

He’s only a couple of years old, still frisky enough to be happy spending some time racing around with Dionne or wrestling with her.

(I couldn’t get many pictures of that. Why do dogs get so self-conscious when they realized you’re photographing them?  You can almost read his mind: “Why is she pointing that thing at us?”)
As for Dionne, she liked Cletus a lot, even if he did try to rape her. (She sometimes reciprocated.) But she liked his kennel and the soft pad in it even better. We’d regularly find her sprawled within it, and Cletus moping nearby. Once I even found that “someone” had dragged the pad out and over to Tucker’s bed. Double softness!
But the Uries just came by, taking Cletus and his kennel and pad with them. So the party is over. We’re back to just two (large, boisterous, hair-shedding) dogs again, for the first time in two weeks. It will probably feel almost boring (for a few minutes.)

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