That bumper sticker that reads
‘The more people I meet the more I love my dog‘
As a child I always wanted a dog sadly my parents never felt the same. I know now that if I had, had that dog at a younger age I would have grown up a much more social person. It wasn’t till I was well in my 30’s that I got my first dog from a rescue centre she was a black lab shepherd cross called sky who probably at that time dislike people as much as I did. She had been badly abused and was one of those dogs that even the people at the shelter never thought would be re-homed. To say Sky was a challenge would be an understatement. She was scared of all men and apprehensive of most women. It took me about 3 weeks of daily hourly visits to the dog pound before sky began to let me in her space and mildly trust me. Once home things improved at a very slow pace but sky never became ‘normal’ by that I mean strangers could never approach her. My wife and I never gave up on her and she gave us years of unconditional love, three years on from her death we still miss her.
Our next Rescue dog Max was/is a shepherd collie cross he loves people but disliked other dogs with a passion which made a change. We have figured out that he really doesn’t understand what other dogs are and is in fact very scared of them. Max lived with Sky for a while before she died and he got on ok with her after a few teething problems. Because Max is now old I avoid giving him to much stress by taking him out very early in the morning (4/5am) before most people and their dogs are out. I think both he and I enjoy the peace and quiet it is always good to greet the day.
Despite Sky and Max coming from very problematic backgrounds they both became wonderful pets for us, I’m fully aware their behaviour would have been far to stressful for all but to most seasoned of dog owners. I have never been to a dog lesson in my life but when it comes to dogs I seem to have a natural affinity for then and a patience hat is sadly lacking in all other parts of my life .
Max is now getting on and we don’t want to be faced with a void when one day he passes on so we are going to get another dog in a weeks time.
As we have never be able to experience a well rounded dog that we can take out and about with us like other dog owners, so we have taken the decision to get a puppy. Now I want to state that many of the dogs in rescue centres dogs are healthy and well adjusted, I just always felt sorry for the ones with little hope and more problems. If you are looking for a companion I highly recommend you give animal shelters a look, these the wonderful animals need a second chance and they are often fully trained and just need a warm home and love….That said don’t take on any dog unless you are 100% committed ..unlike many marriages now days a Dog is still for life :-)
So aren’t I being a little hypocritical by now getting a puppy from a breeder?? Well I know many would say so but just for once I want the chance to shape a dog from the beginning rather than having to fix up dogs that people have seen fit to mentally and physically scar. Plus I want a large dog breed that is not often found in shelters …I wanted a leonberger. I fell in love with leonbergers years ago, Sky loved to play with two leonbergers we would meet most days on our walk in to local park . For those that don’t know leonbergers are huge dogs that are not really ideal for first time dog owners or people who live a ‘normal’ 8 hour working day.
I will talk more about the breed in detail soon and I will have a running blog here on ‘Woden’ our new puppy which will detail his progress over the coming weeks and months . This will be both a record for us to look back on and may be of interest I hope to future leonberger owners and fans of the breed. I have put aside all my art work etc for now so I can give this little guy all the training and socializing he needs to become a well rounded part of the community. I believe this is vitality important as a large dog which is unsocialised is just a recipe for disaster and heart ache.