March 15, 2013 was the day that our beloved Ray came home with us. To be honest, he was not particularly beloved at that time, but rather just a dog that we had grown attached to and wanted to give him a second chance.
As I had never had the responsibility of a dog before, I knew that I would be leaning heavily on Carol’s expertise which was based on a number of dogs in her past. It wasn’t until much later that I realised Ray was a challenge to both of us. This became crystal clear one day when we were talking about him and Carol commented that she had never experienced a dog like Ray before! Her past dogs were all friendly and generally welcomed attention; had no separation issues; crate trained easily and, in general, were very “low maintenance” in the context of them fitting into family life. It seemed to me that Ray was everything that Carol’s past dogs were not!
Needless to say, we were both thrown into a crash course on how to work with a dog who is carrying significant emotional baggage (scars from a previous life) and all the insecurities that those aspects entailed. When compounded with Stage 2 Heart-worm condition, we knew that our education in matters canine was going to be a long and varied program!
Looking back, and as noted in numerous prior Posts, it has always seemed to us that he truly wants to please us. He took to being trained quite readily, and very rarely has he disappointed us. On the negative side, I have felt his teeth (and he was not playing), and been on the receiving end of a couple of threatening lunges. These were, however, more a result of poor communication between Ray and I rather than any vindictive intent on his part. We clearly had to learn some basic traits of each other before something close to harmony would prevail.
As this is Ray’s 2nd anniversary with us, and while it is of course always interesting to reflect on past challenges, we cannot help but also celebrate where we all are today. Only a few days ago when laying on my bed listening to some music, Ray jumped up and stood alongside me, and looked down at me. He is really big in that situation! He then proceeded to lay down and pushed his nose under my chin where he stayed for just a few moments. Those few moments of having that large furry face snuggled up to mine were priceless!
Happy 2nd anniversary with us buddy! May there be many more!