When the back hatch opened, a beautiful dog jumped out the back. My new clients were walking towards me with their newly adopted dog. I couldn’t help but think, ‘I know this dog!?’.
In the pre history forms that I require everyone to fill out, his breed, name, and shelter where he came from were all different, but as they continued to walk towards me I just couldn’t help but think, ‘I know this dog’.
They came into our outdoor fenced yard, we said our hello’s, they took their new dog off leash, and he came right over to me and pushed the top of his head right into my legs while his tail did this slow metronome type sway. My Story does the same gesture so I knew what he was looking for. I gave him that deep saturated touch from his strong muscled neck all the down his shoulders and back. When I was done he kind of crawled up my body with his two front paws until they landed firmly on my chest, and he gave me a lick, just one, “hello old friend”, and then went off to sniff.
me: “I know your dog, we’ve met before”.
The families eyes grew a bit big and a little concerned. “What’s wrong with him, why do you know him?” I had to laugh a bit. Many of the dogs I see have owners that simply want to learn more and do more, coming to see me doesn’t mean there is a problem.
me: “Well, you are at least his third owners that I have now met and will be working with, in less than two years. There might be more but I wouldn’t know.”
Their eyes got a bit bigger.
me: “The other owners were good owners, I know they worked with him, and loved him. No harm has come to him as far as I know. Why he has been bounced would be anyone’s guess, and really doesn’t matter”
A bit of breathing, always a good sign.
owners: “Well here is our list of things we want to make sure he doesn’t get in the habit of doing.”
To this families credit, they hadn’t had him for very long.
me: “Would you like to see what he can do?”
I called their new dog over to me, and he came bounding. We worked through all of the behaviors that I knew he had, but I could tell that he probably learned a bunch more. One of his previous owners got heavily invested in tricks, and started to enter some on line video events. His enthusiasm for work was what I remembered it to be. He was so starved for mental exercise that we just kept going and going. Dreamy, seamless, and a joy to be with.
When I glanced over at the family, I saw a tear here and there. They had no idea when they chose this dog how awesome he really was. They were under the impression that all ‘rescue’ dogs have something wrong with them and need to be rehabilitated (I detest that word in the dog world by the way, just saying!).
I couldn’t help but smile in a huge way, and break the great news to them.
me: ” I have always thought of your dog as Joe Cool. I’ve known him through his previous owners and coming to classes, off and on for about two years. I’ve had the privilege to work, and spend time with him. He is friendly, social, honest, biddable, and apparently resilient. Any dog that can repeatedly get bounced and remain so balanced is truly a gift. He’s a working breed and likes to work, needs to work, again I don’t consider this a bad thing. While he is friendly to other dogs in passing, he doesn’t like the dog parks, and to me that is actually not a bad thing. You have a very cool dog, I hope you learn to accept that he has nothing wrong with him. What you need to focus on is learning more as his owner and rising to the occasion. Right now he is ahead of you in knowledge and skills. This will be a great adventure for you all!”
Tears. And not bad ones.
So Joe Cool is on his third family that I know of. I’m not sure what the universe has in store for him, but I am glad I am a very small part of his journey and have been able to keep tabs on him through the kindness of his owners. He has lucked out so far with good owners, kind people, and owners who have cared enough to learn with him, even if briefly. He has no battle scars, physically, emotionally, or socially. He has the genetic make up that I wish all dogs could have/share. Solid as a freaking rock!
So here is to you Joe Cool, may your life continue to be awesome with your new family, may they see your brilliance. May they understand the gift they have accidentally stumbled upon. I wish you continued love, kindness, and good people. You deserve it all!