In June of this year though, I found another stray Pit. He had no tags, no collar, and no chip and I live in the kind of neighborhood where a Pit Bull is a status symbol and a bargaining chip that is used for protection, for fighting, or for a quick $300. In Chicago there is a no adoption policy on Pits that go to animal control so my options were to take him to a rescue, find a home for him myself, or take him in. After a month of trying to find him a home I decided it was wrong to uproot him again and I kept him. Now Harley isn't well adjusted like Ian. Harley seems to have had a rough life so far and he's afraid of everything - strangers, animals, loud noises, everything. When the Nerd Night Crew first came over his tail would go between his legs and sometimes he'd just look at people and give a low growl. A couple of people asked me to lock him up while we were gaming. I went out and bought two gates so I could make a fence to my kitchen 5' high, as these guys can easily clear a single gate.
Unfortunately, there were several problems to this approach. To keep Harley company and to keep Ian out of people's crap I put him behind the gate too. This, of course, drove Ian crazy. He's a very social dog and he loves being around people. He'd whine and cry. He'd shove his feet and nose as far under the gate as possible so he'd look as pitiful as possible while getting as close as he could to the action. When he'd get bored of this he'd bark, howl, push on the gates, and on 1 or 2 occasions he even knocked the lower gate down. He just wanted to be where everyone was that badly. On the other hand, I found that my troubled new Pit Bull was only having his anti-social behaviour reinforced. He'd bark at everyone from behind the gate - whether he knew and trusted them or they were a stranger. He'd be territorial. He was angry and unhappy so he'd reach a point where he'd just bark - without stopping. The Apocalypse game day we had in November was the turning point. After being behind bars for 6 hours (not including the mid game walk) he just started barking as loud as he could, and he did it for the full remaining hour and half we played for. At the next Nerd Night after that, he started with the mega-barking as soon as the gate went up and I walked away. I decided the gate wasn't working.
Our pets are part of our families and they feel just the same as we do. The key is finding the best compromise so that we can all co-exist and be happy while we game. Thanks to the Nerd Night Crew for their patience and understanding while I've fumbled my way through trying to find that balance and coming back week after week regardless. It is most appreciated.