I wanted to annouce that I have officially adopted Leo. I know many people thought that I already had but he has been an Our Pack dog all this time (of course all the time knowing that he's my lil soulmate). I have never felt like he belonged anywhere else. Whenever I'd imagine him in another home or if someone was interested in him it was sort of a kick in the stomach. I thought it was just "something I had to get through"....it happens in rescue right?
One day there was a trailer on TV for the rerun of Animal Witness: The Michael Vick Case. There was a shot where there is a dog that I'm sure is Leo (it could have been another that looks like him but I KNOW his body movements so well now) that was on a catchpole being put into the AC truck. I had a twinge inside like, "oh no, wait, that's my dog, don't hurt him!" I know he was being taken to safety at that time but to just see him on that awful property made me cringe so bad inside. I thought to myself I just never, ever want anything bad, painful, scary or neglectful to happen to him again. He IS my boy!
It's funny because a little over 2 years ago when he first came to me he acted like a monkey at a banquet I thought, "what the heck was I thinking?"
Leo was work as he came to us jumping on us to get attention with bad manners. He didn't know what a couch was and he acted like a big overgrown kid with shorts that were too big showing up on the short yellow bus and chocolate ice cream spilled all over his shirt. But heck, he wanted to have a good time.
Training, training, training forHe didn't necessarily trust my dogs initially but over time he realized that this was a place of love, leadership and stucture (aka "no jumping") and that I would manage things safely for him not unsafely. All of the above changed so much for him AND me. Since the beginning Leo has taught me about unconditional love, sharing, patience, a zest for life, more about canine behavior, and the most admirable of all courage and a willingness to forgive no matter what and to go on and serve a community that needs it. Now, that's what it is, Leo and Me....... because when you're a therapy dog you can't put ONE paw up on anyone one. There's IV's in a patient's arm, injured patients etc. Leo was certifed as a therapy dog in 5 weeks to be around hospitals, rest homes, wheelchairs, fire alarms and people who don't always know how to pet right. He wanted to please so much and do the right thing it was tear jerking to me that he could be this way after all he'd seen and experienced. Even after 5 weeks he still had things to get over and desensitize to. After time it all seemed to get better for him. Still I wonder what he dreams about when I hear sounds of a nightmare.
Marthina McClay, CPDT
Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer
Certified Tester/Observer for , Inc.
AKC Certified CGC Evaluator