A LOT of blokes can be a bit understated when talking about the things they love, and Matthew is no exception, playing it pretty cool as he talks about the beguiling Pug Melvin he and partner Emily adopted from The Lost Dogs’ Home’s North Melbourne shelter in August last year
But beneath the straight-talk about Melvin’s diet and initial penchant for scratching the carpet, it is clear that Matthew and Melvin have forged a fairly special male bond — and one that was hard fought and won, given that as a rule, Melvin doesn’t really like blokes.
When he arrived with his new family at their roomy home in Langwarrin, Emily and Matthew did not know much about Melvin’s background, but it was quickly apparent that he favoured Emily, and was a little wary of Matthew — along with any other males who dropped in.
While Matthew could completely understand Melvin’s tendency to be a bit of a ‘ladies’ man’, with gentle perseverance, he set about making sure that the two of them worked on a strong relationship of their own.
Now, Matthew and Emily have a pup so confident of his place in the family that he likes to share their bed. Bedroom doors must remain strictly shut if there is to be any hope of keeping Melvin from making-like-goldilocks and trying out every bed he can get his paws on.
He and Matthew enjoy nightly walks around the neighbourhood together, where Melvin quite likes to test their joint manliness by sizing up all the dogs they meet from the safety of right beside Matthew’s legs.
“He tries to be a tough guy, but it doesn’t always work,” said Matthew. “He was eyeing a Great Dane at the vet once, probably imagining he was bigger than it, but one sniff from it and he was back behind my legs.”
For a Pug, it seems Melvin is not particularly pugnacious, and his adoptive parents have gotten used to easing him through situations which make him nervous.
Both Emily and Matthew say they enjoyed the whole adoptive process of getting Melvin, although both had completely different experiences.
“We were very nervous adopting a pet, but we felt well informed and confident once we left,” said Emily.
“Melvin is a great dog full of energy and has made us laugh many times. He is also very loyal, never straying far from us.”
Matthew would agree with most of that — except perhaps the energy levels.
“He’s as lazy as hell!” he joked.
But perhaps this is simply because before Melvin came along, Matthew was a self-confessed ‘Labrador man’, used to the more rambunctious, larger breed. But he said he wouldn’t swap Melvin for anything.
“I like the little ones just fine. He [Melvin] took a while warming up, but then I fed him, so he loves me!”
The couple was clear about what they were looking for when they decided to adopt — a small, lower-maintenance breed of dog which would fit in with their work schedules. Toilet trained and naturally well-mannered, Melvin fit the bill. And now the little Pug’s nerves have settled down, the whole family has settled into a comfortable bond.
It is with the unmistakable affection that forms between man and his best friend that Matthew laughs about Melvin’s extraordinarily long, pink tongue with seems to be constantly lolling from his head.
In a letter updating the Home about Melvin’s progress with the family, Emily said that the little dog (originally named Henry) had settled smoothly into his new name and his new home.
“I just want to thank you for giving us this opportunity. I have recommended The Lost Dogs’ Home to everyone I know who is looking for a new pet and will keep doing so.”
And it’s probably safe to say that Matthew’s simple summation of the process of adopting Melvin as “pretty good” in fact, speaks volumes more.