March, like birthdays, seems to be coming around faster and faster. A few years ago, in March, we adopted Ray. Here we are, six years later, wondering where the time went. To be more accurate, Ray adopted me, but the time perspective doesn’t change.
Ray was estimated at two years old (based primarily on his teeth) when picked up by our local Humane Society. He showed no physical signs of abuse, but there were so many other indicators such as disliking humans (especially men) and other dogs. He responded aggressively to “stick like” objects such as brooms, spades and shovels. We quickly learned that he had no canine social skills (usually attributed to being taken away from “Mom” much too early), and a few other conditions to make life interesting … such as startle response.
So (again) here we are six years later (and after many chats with trainers and a dog psychologist), with a dog that generally goes out of his way to meet people (greeting people often = treats); he is generally happy to greet other dogs (greeting dogs correctly = friendlier dogs … and often = treats). We consciously avoid startling him, which is for as much our benefit as it is for his. Having almost 80lbs of startled Shepherd/Rotti react (= aggressive/defense response) is not a pleasant experience!
Ray has responded extremely well to a secure home; to being loved and fed on a regular basis, and (most important) to positive reinforcement training. Perfect right?
Well … not exactly perfect, because he is now so attached to us that we do not have any life without him! Dog sitter? Getting a dog sitter is a perfect solution however, to safely “sit” a Ray, he must love the sitter enough that he/she is an acceptable alternative to us! The only “Ray sitter” we have is a trainer from our local Humane Society! He loves her!
So for six years, we have only been able to go out to dinner regularly in the Summer, because we have a local pub that allows dogs on their outdoor patio. It is legislated here that only service dogs are allowed in restaurants. For six years, we have only been able to go out on our own when it is mutually convenient with Ray’s “sitter”.
However, for six years we have shared our lives with a wonderful dog. He is so affectionate with us (when it suits him!); is constantly entertaining, and keeps our minds busy trying to figure out why he does certain things. He is the best security device one could possibly get, and the cost is …. well perhaps a conventional security system would be a lower cost!
All in all, there are no regrets. Ray is my first dog, and all I can compare him with are cats and rabbits … and he wins.
Note: The first 18 months of us living together are detailed in a book “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” Link to Friesen Press Bookstore below (reviews on amazon.com):