The Greatest Gift.

9

July 1, 2016 by The Dog Rules

My Greatest Gift <3

Dog was a mix of the two most intense breeds I know – Border Collie and Australian Cattle Dog. Both are working breeds. Both possess the potential to become intensely consumed with their job. Read that as “give this dog a job or you will be sorry!” If under-exercised and under-socialized they can, and frequently do, become destructive. These breeds NEED a job – like they need food, water and air. They thrive when given a job… And mine inherited that intensity from both sides.

While I already had experience with Border Collies, NOTHING in my experience prepared me to deal with THE most intense, focused, obsessive compulsive canine that ever was. She, single pawed, rewrote my training experience. I soon found myself in the “wild west” of dog training. All bets were off!

Not long after bringing her home I realized I had a velcro dog. She hardly ever took her eyes off me. There was a time when I watched closely to see if she actually blinked, worried she might have vision issues. She followed me EVERYWHERE. She didn’t like to be left behind – even for a moment. She was fearful of many things: bigger dogs, big men, loud noises, strange (new to her) objects we saw on our walks. I later learned that the entire litter of 8 puppies shared these trepidations. At the time I simply wondered how I was to manage hers.

In time I learned to read her like a book. The most subtle change to the set of her ears. The slightly raised paw, frozen in place for a nanosecond. The intense stare at the thing I couldn’t (at first) see. These were all clues into her emotional state and (re)actions. They were all there for me to clearly read – if and only if I were paying attention. I learned that if the Big Dog (me) was calm and unperturbed, the Little Dog (her) would follow my lead. I learned to suppress my own reactions so that Dog would not, like Don Quixote, run madly off in all directions. I learned the Zen art of “non reaction” to allow me to assess the situation and choose my appropriate response.

I still use this ability in my interactions with shy shelter dogs. To this day, I don’t jump if something erupts, goes “bang” or otherwise makes a sudden appearance. (I do, however; automatically use dog calming signals and have learned that they now calm me too.)

Unknowingly, Sweet Dog gave me the greatest gift.  Dog provided me with the most excellent opportunity to learn how to deal with those most fragile of souls and how to help them find the confidence to take a chance. I am forever in her debt.

Today would have been Sweep’s 16th birthday. Thanks for all the wonderful memories Sweet Pea! ❤

 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “The Greatest Gift.

  1. Poor Robert says:

    She will be with you and watching you all the days of your life as she awaits you at the Rainbow Bridge. This is a lovely piece and it will help heal the hurt that never goes away. You clearly loved her just as she love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Miss B says:

    What a sweet post… I have one of those working dogs too. She is a border collie/irish setter shelter mutt. And every time she drives me crazy I think about how I will feel when she is gone. We are lucky to have held them in our presence… if only for a little while 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Miss B.
      I agree that it is sometimes difficult to set aside their behaviors that make us somewhat crazy and remember that we will not have them forever. They are certainly our reminder to live in the moment!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Leah says:

    I learn so much from your blog! Only recently did I hear of the Australian Cattle Dog (while applying for house sits in Aus), and it’s helpful to learn anything possible. Thanks, again, for an educational post.

    Like

    • Thanks Leah. I didn’t know much about them until I had Sweep. It wasn’t until I attended a dog show with a friend that I saw a purebred Australian Cattle Dog and I suddenly realized that Sweep had the physique of an ACD wearing Border Collie clothes. I’m pretty sure you will find it an interesting house sit with one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Dog Rules

The Dog Rules

Once the proud guardian of a rather cheeky Border Collie/Aussie Cattle Dog mix, may she forever rest in peace, my favourite activities were those things that included my canine friend. I spend my spare time volunteering at the local animal shelter as a dog walker/trainer. When my next furever friend comes along you'll be able to read all about it @ TheDogRules.wordpress.com

View Full Profile →

Resources

Blog Stats

  • 2,585 hits
Blogging U.
The Science Dog

By Linda P. Case

Work less, Live More

Technology Solutions to Do More, Faster, and Better

Weeds an All

Slugs and Snails, Successes and Fails. That's what my garden is made of.

Travel Taste Create

Join me as I explore, sample new food & drink, and celebrate creativity.

Poor Robert's (Wine) Almanac

Fun Stuff and Facts about Wine

Tippy Tales

Adventures of a rescue dog

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

98 Acres in Albany

40 Blocks, Thousands of Stories

YayYay's Kitchen

Feed the body well, nourish the soul, heal the Earth, build community, make peace, wreak joy

Ramblings of a Writer

Living the Path of Life

SirOzzy

Enjoy The Journey

So Far From

Where I Began

Olive These Words

"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others." - Lewis Carroll

Mind and Life Matters

Your Life, Your Mind - It Matters!

the biology of belief

THINK beyond your genes...

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: