As Shiva and I are sneaking in some holiday-time this week, I am relying on the kindness of my fellow bloggers to fill in. Donna of the eponymous blog, Donna and the Dogs, agreed to write today’s post. Ever since I discovered her website a few months ago, I have been a huge fan of Donna’s writing. She came to positive-based training much the same way I did and she shares her experiences with great honesty. I was thrilled when she said she would write something for my site. Just having her name linked here adds a touch of class.
Kristine was nice enough to ask me to contribute a guest post to her blog, which I try to stop by regularly so I can read about her adventures with Shiva, her gorgeous (and oftentimes challenging) dog. Flattered that she thought I might have something of interest to share with all of you, I easily accepted, but then came the big question. What should I write about?
Hopeful, I asked Kristine if she had any topics in mind. Nope…it was up to me – as long as it included a dog.
You would think, with such a broad topic, it would be easy to come up with something to write about. After all, that’s pretty much what I do with my own
blog – I go on and on about the first thing that lodges itself into my skull. But…I wanted my guest post to be special, different from my daily blog, slanted so it fell in line with the “Rescued Insanity” theme.
But of course, I don’t own a dog named Shiva, none of my dogs are learning agility, my name’s not Kristine, and last I checked, we even live in different countries. So, for about a week, I thought and I thought, and I thought some more.
What in the world should I write about?
Growing desperate, I looked around my house to see what my dogs were up to, searching for inspiration, and right off the bat, two of them were missing.
Vanished without a trace – most likely hidden away in the bedroom.
I can’t really blame them. Meadow, the short coated Vizsla, prefers the warmth of our tiny bedroom over our drafty kitchen-living room combo, and Toby, the aging Labrador, prefers his soft cushiony dog bed over lying on a mat upon the hard tile floor.
But one dog, was there, right at my feet. One incredible, loyal, protective, lovable dog – my sweet senior, Leah. So I decided to write about her. But when I looked at her, I realized I had nothing to say. What can you say about a dog who is almost perfect? A dog who wants nothing more in life than to be able to lie at the feet of her favorite human. A dog who comes whenever she’s called, who’s never stolen so much as a morsel of food from the counter – and who’s even dropped a live squirrel from her mouth upon request.
None of which can be credited to me.
It’s just who she is – probably due to one or more of the breeds that make up her genetics. And to think that I almost didn’t choose her – for that very same reason. Yup – I admit it. I suffer from breed prejudice. Even as her exquisite eyes beckoned me to stop and consider her at the shelter, I nearly left Leah behind once I noted her markings and read the label hanging on her kennel door.
German Shepherd mix.
It wasn’t the mix part that worried me. You see, I grew up with Shepherds. They are amazingly obedient, patient, intelligent, affable dogs. Protective, but not to extreme. The ones I was raised with put up with more shenanigans from me as a kid than my mother would care to know. And, rather than biting me, (as they probably should have), they even allowed me to rest my tired head on their big furry bodies and use them as pillows while I watched television after I was done playing with (tormenting?) them.
Furthermore, after knowing each of the Shepherds my Mom has owned both past and present, along with several other great dogs I have met along the way during my forays into obedience school and dog sports, I can confidently say that German Shepherds are almost perfect dogs. (Disclaimer: When properly bred, socialized, trained, and exercised – as with any dog.)
So, you’re probably wondering why I nearly passed Leah by?
Did you notice where I said they were ‘almost’ perfect? That’s because I left out one horrific detail about German Shepherds.
And they shed.
And they shed.
And they shed some more.
In fact, if it were up to me, they’d be called German ‘Shedder’ Dogs.
But, despite my fear of living with a vacuum cleaner attached to my hip, Leah snared me with her soulful brown eyes on that day nearly eight years ago, and she’s been at my side ever since. Since then, twice a year, (and every day in between), my faithful friend has proven that Rin Tin Tin’s blood flows freely through her veins, with every strand of fur that floats across my kitchen floor, and with every shake of her body that sends clouds of her coat into the air, making her resemble the peanuts character, Pig-Pen.
Do I regret adopting her?