After we had to put our cat to sleep in January, my wife said she wanted to adopt a dog from a shelter. I said no, I didn’t want to get another pet. But my wife can be very persuasive and she roped me into visiting a local dog and cat shelter just to, you know, look.
Big mistake! My heart melted and my wife and I adopted a rescue dog just over two weeks ago. She’s a 14-month-old, 60 pound, yellow Lab mix who was picked up as a stray dog a few months back. She is our sixth dog since we got married nearly 44 years ago. Some we got as puppies, some as older rescues. Our last dog before this one was a five year old Lab/shepherd mix that we rescued from a kill shelter. So we’re no strangers to training and caring for dogs.
We really are happy that we got a new rescue dog, but she’s proven to be a handful in the two weeks that we’ve had her. I think she may have been abused as a young puppy and who knows how long she was on her own living on the mean streets before she got picked up as a stray?
She’s still relatively young, is full of energy, and loves to play. But she can, at times, be quite rambunctious. One of her favorite things to do is what I call rope-a-dope (or what may be more commonly called tug-of-war) with her rope toys. But she also likes to do it with her leash when we’re trying to walk her. And that makes walking her a bit of a challenge.
She also seems to need constant attention, and if she doesn’t get it, she’ll start nipping at us, grabbing our clothing in her mouth (while we’re wearing them) and tugging, and even biting us. This behavior has us at the end of our rope, and we actually started thinking about returning her to the shelter. But we just couldn’t. That would be heartless with what she’s had to endure over her first 14 months of her life.
So today we met with a professional dog trainer. It’s not like we don’t have any experience training and working with dogs. We do! But we realized that with this dog we needed help. The guy has been a professional dog trainer for four decades and we signed up for six weeks of in-home obedience sessions.
He warned us that he’s going to focus his training more on me and my wife than on our dog. He said dogs instinctively know what they should do, but it’s often dog owners who need to be taught how to bring out the best in their dogs.
The guy is not cheap, but when the choice comes down to sending our little lady back to horrors of the dog pound or spending six hundred bucks on obedience sessions, the decision was a no-brainer.
So yes, we were at the end of our rope, but I’m highly confident that two months from now, we’re going to be thrilled with the newest member of our family.
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, where the word is “rope.” Photo credit: thesprucepets.com.