From “Happy Tail” to Just Happy

May 1, 2012  

Doug makes everyone else happy, too.

(originally posted on April 18, 2011)
By Jessi McNamara

Doug was going to be put down at the shelter due to his ailment of “Happy Tail.”

Happy Tail is a common medical condition caused when pit bulls in shelters repeatedly wag their powerful tails against the bars or concrete walls in excitement as people walk by. Their tails become bloody, sore, and often infected, but the hopeful dogs just can’t suppress their joy when they see people they want to greet.

Though Happy Tail is completely treatable, it takes time, patience, and a quiet and calm setting. These remedies are impossible for the shelter to offer. And since Doug is a mostly white pit bull, blood-spatter across his fur did not increase his chances of being adopted.

So I brought Doug home to foster – and to see how our dog Mia would take to him.

Mia had been anxious and nervous since the death of her buddy, Samson. She’d grown up around Samson since we adopted her from the shelter as a puppy. And now she’d been wandering from room to room and whimpering in search of him.

But as soon as she met Doug, Mia became calmer, happier, and less nervous. She latched onto him and would curl up with him every chance she got. Doug was perfect for her. He was calm, secure, and patient with all of her pesky idiosyncrasies. We adopted Doug immediately, knowing he was just what the doctor ordered.

Doug loves everyone he meets, and he has this innate ability to make each person feel like he loves them best. He has everyone laughing with his obsession for chairs. He sits at the head of the dinner table for meals, he sunbathes in a lawn chair on the deck all afternoon, and he loves to sit on a bar stool at the kitchen counter to watch his mom cook.

One afternoon, I found him lounging like a sunbather in our patio lounge chairs with a bottle of sun block next to him, fast asleep.

He’s quite likely to fall asleep at the dinner table, too, or to roll off the couch and land with a thud onto the floor, or just to fall asleep in the middle of a photo shoot. When we have doggie play dates across the street, where they are doing our new home construction, all of the dogs run around and play together, while Doug immediately goes for the bobcat, climbs inside and sits.

Doug, the sleepy, silly little bundle of joy has taken his “Happy Tail” and wiggled his butt into the happiest place he could be: right beside Mia in our joyful family.

Sit, Doug, Sit

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24 Responses to “From “Happy Tail” to Just Happy”
  1. laffin says:

    He looks like a gentleman of leisure.

  2. StubbyDog says:

    @laffin Haha, he sure does as he has mastered “sit.” Thanks for your comments.

  3. woofslc says:

    Aww, I love Doug…what a cutie!

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @woofslc I know, he really is! Thanks for your comments.

  5. blazer says:

    OH my gosh, this adorable story had me giggling — and the photos were fantastic. What a great dog. I’d say both parties really lucked out!

  6. StubbyDog says:

    @blazer We know, isn’t Doug the best?! Thanks for commenting.

  7. Doug & Mia look so happy together! His ears are the cutest hahaahahah love the pictures

  8. skreidle says:

    Best Sits ever! 😀

  9. RichDee says:

    Doug is awesome, and so are you for adopting him!

  10. elille says:

    Every photo just made me laugh a little more! 😀 What a cute, funny boy!

  11. StaceyHsu says:

    The very first Pittie I worked with as a volunteer had “happy tail”–geez, it made me so sad to see her poor tail wagging and bleeding! And the way her kennel looked made it so difficult to get her adopted. Pitties are just so eager to love and be loved that they will injure themselves in the process. They are such wonderful little souls.

  12. Twinhulls says:

    Now they put down dogs for being too happy? A great adoption story .

    • 1stBeStrong says:

       @Twinhulls It isn’t for being ‘too happy’, it is the damage that is done to the tail and can’t heal if they are in a shelter where they will wag their tale whenever someone walks by or speaks to them.  It is a medical condition for dogs like Pits that have bony tails. 

      • skreidle says:

         @1stBeStrong  Admittedly, Happy Tail is hard to treat/heal even in a loving and restful home, but it’s far harder in a shelter.

      • Twinhulls says:

         I understand this .I am sorry I was taken so literally .It is a shame any animal has to spend his life in a cage.As too meny Pits  do.Adopt,adopt .,adopt…….

  13. StacieCrainWills says:

    Thank you for making my heart smile 🙂 Doug is an awesome dog and obviously he has awesome people in his life now! Such a shame how many precious “Dougs” there are out there. Thank you for sharing.

  14. 1stBeStrong says:

    I couldn’t be happier for Doug, Mia or you.  Finding him a family and finding Mia a new friend is the best gift in the world. Plus, you got a wonderful new pet. Thanks for giving him a forever home.  #HFF

  15. have4paws says:

    What an adorable goofball!

  16. tinkertoy62 says:

    OMG, i can barely stand the lovable adorable sitting-like-a-human-upright mr DOUG! thank you to the family that took a chance and again WON BIGTIME! love it! ha ha ha

  17. loveandbellylaughs says:

    Ah, the nutorious happy tail. My pittie has hit the walls so hard with his tail, he’s left bloodsplatters everywhere (and a major cleanup job for us)! 
    So nice he found a new home, though. The way he sits on chairs kill me! 🙂

    • StubbyDog says:

       @loveandbellylaughs Doug is so funny! And such a great brother to all the fosters that come into his home.