It’s time to introduce you to our dogs. We have two six year-old Brussels Griffons named Mr. Mustachio (Stache) and Gladys. We adopted them when we lived in Brooklyn, and in the years since they have brought us a lot of joy and farts. I had been a fan of the breed since the movie “As Good As It Gets” came out. If I had a bad day at work, I’d come home, pour a glass of wine, and look at pictures of griffons on the internet. Those little monkey faces with the underbites, wall eyes, and beards never failed to cheer me up. I also loved their genealogy. Some dogs were bred to hunt lions, some to lead the blind — the Brussels Griffon was bred to entertain taxi passengers in Belgium. Ridiculous.
When Matt and I decided to move in together, I used my feminine wiles (nagging) to get him to agree to adopt a one-year old griff named Big Boy. Apparently he had been purchased to use as a stud, but became too big for the breed standard. We flew Big Boy from his bucolic country home in North Carolina to the hellhole that is Newark, and then subjected him to a one-hour taxi ride back to Brooklyn. The poor guy just cowered in his crate trembling the whole time, ignoring his duty to keep me and the driver entertained.
By the time we got home, the country hick formerly known as Big Boy had given way to a future city slicker named Mr. Mustachio. It took him awhile to warm up to us, but eventually, after a lot of cheese-filled hot dogs, he opened his heart. Since workdays and commutes are insanely long in New York, we wanted to give Stache a companion to keep him company in our apartment while we were gone. So six months after adopting Stache, we added a half-Brussels Griffon, half-Japanese Chin mix who we named Gladys.
It turns out that Japanese Chins are very cat-like, and Gladys’s dad had used his feline powers to leap into the Brussels Griffon pen and knock up some unsuspecting lady. The ensuing litter of bearded, bug-eyed beauties was immediately placed on liquidation sale by the breeder, who advertised them as “chinsels.” We drove up to meet Gladys, only to find that she had been shaven and looked like a 90 year-old prune. But she was as sweet as can be, so we took her home with us.
Over the years, Stache has grown more and more neurotic, and Gladys has gamely followed suit. They’ve increased their barking, their poop and dirt consumption, and their flatulence. But, worst of all, Stache has become a biter. He first bit one of our best friends on the leg while we were watching World Cup. It was horrible. Then he followed that up by nipping my nephew on the nose, my niece on the butt, and my other nephew on the arm. All of these instances have happened when there’s a lot of chaos around him. He doesn’t go in for the kill, he just lashes out in defense to get people away from him. But that underbite can do some damage.
Now that we’re adding three babies to our household, I’m afraid of how poor Stache is going to react. Matt is certain we can train him, and that Stache will eventually grow to love our kids. I’m not so sure. I envision lots of screaming and blood.
It’s a really hard situation. Stache is our first baby, and will always be a member of our family. Most of the time he’s a sweet little love bug who just wants to cuddle. But he’s also a troubled soul with a tiny brain. I think we’ll need a dog whisperer to help us through this transition. But, on the upside, Stache does love to eat a dirty diaper, so who knows — maybe these triplets could be the best thing that ever happened to him.