Tulliver came to us as a rescue looking for a new home. He immediately bonded with my soul dog, Tadcaster, who was coming out of remission with an aggressive variant of malignant lymphoma. Both red dogs thrived on the relationship, with Tadcaster seeming to take the younger dog under his wing. When Tulliver was having a difficult time getting a cottage cheese container to hold still so he could reach the few remaining treats at the bottom, Tadcaster took the container from him, demonstrated how to use paws to keep it in place, then nosed the treat back to Tulliver. Tulliver would then emulate the older dog.
The two red dogs were inseparable in the three months before Tadcaster lost his battle with cancer. Both were driven to capture errant tennis balls and Frisbees, were much more athletic than my blonde dogs, and tended to listen to me but not my wife.
With Tadcaster gone, Tulliver noticed there were two other dogs in the house. He played with them, but became much more focused on me. His goofy side came out, and still grieving from Tadcaster’s loss, I cherished the similarities in the two dogs. I try never to compare dogs, as each has his or her own personality and it’s unfair to expect a newcomer to compete with a ghost, but in this case it was easy to love Tully as he had adopted so many of the traits I held dear.
I decided to give Tulliver a sidecar tryout. He did okay, but clearly his interest was in being with me and he found no joy in the ride. Where Barley found the world around him endlessly fascinating, Tulliver was simply bored, waiting not so patiently for the next opportunity to chase a ball.
He cuddles well, sleeping stretched out by my side on the bed, but Tulliver is essentially a ball fanatic. He will retrieve it till my arm is too tired to throw, then happily chew it for hours.