The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘choosing a dog’

Tail Thumper of the Week #14

Well, we did a bit more than just shovel and build model mountain ranges while we were snowed in. Elizabeth had the foresight to bring home a dog book to read to me. So, we curled up on the bed in her room on Sunday afternoon while the snow whirled and churned around the house outside, and we read stories about dogs who’d found new homes and happy lives. Can you think of a better way to spend a cold and blustery afternoon?

Elizabeth picked a good book, too. Elise Lufkin wrote Found Dogs: Tales of Strays Who Landed on Their Feet. Photographer Diana Walker helped to make it more interesting by taking beautiful black and white pictures of each dog to show readers that the words were true: these are very happy dogs now, although not all of them are pictured on their feet. Some of them are sitting or lying down (witness, the front cover…). Minor point. The important parts are their stories, which their two-leggers tell.

Click on the pic to buy. My commission goes to help Kenora's homeless dogs through It's a Dog's Life.

Click on the pic to buy. My commission goes to help Kenora’s homeless dogs through It’s a Dog’s Life.

Sometimes we read a lot about the dog’s past, sometimes its more about how they came to know and love and be happy with their new two-leggers. Sometimes the stories are used to tell two-leggers how to look after and adjust their lifestyles to help a new and traumatized dog fit into their home. So, there is practical advice, including an entire chapter at the end on how to find a shelter dog that’s right for your home, as well as lots of wonderful, inspiring, heartwarming  content. And the pictures really capture the dogs’ personalities, too.

Some of the owners, Elizabeth says, are famous two-leggers. I wouldn’t know about that. Most of them seem just like the people I meet at the vets’ or in the bookshop, or on the sidewalks in between the vets’ and the bookshop. I think they’re just like the two-leggers I see out walking with their dog-friends as I ride by in the growly beast with the window down so I can watch them and say, “Hello!” as we pass. I love rides….

I was really excited by one story about a truck driver (these ‘trucks’ are really big growly beasts like the ones that stop in the lane behind the bookshop while their two-leggers take big boxes out of them). His dog, Bear, is featured on the back cover of the book, too. As Elizabeth read his story, he told us about his dogs: Bear, a Newfoundland like my grandparent; Carbon, a Lab/collie mix; Cheyenne, a German shepherd/Australian shepherd mix; and finally (he had a lot of dogs!), Runt, a GREAT NEWFENEES LIKE ME!! At last, a book with a Great Newfenees character! Runt is in one of the pictures, too!  ~:o)=

This book is mostly about mixed breed characters of all ages, although some of the dogs are purebred. Even purebred dogs end up without homes sometimes.

If you’ve been wondering if you should adopt a dog or go to a breeder, then maybe this would be a good book to read. All these two-leggers seem to have had some challenges helping their new dog-friends, but everyone of them says that their adopted dog-friend is the best thing that ever happened to them. Sometimes, it seems that, although the two-legger thought s/he was rescuing a dog, events conspire to prove that, in actuality, the dog came into their lives at the perfect time to rescue them! The irony makes my tail thump!

My Family 2

Newfoundland Dogs are, apparently, very eager to please their two-leggers, relatively easy to train and eager to serve in all kinds of amazing ways like hauling nets out of the sea for their fishing two-leggers, swimming out to rescue drowning two-leggers, hauling carts of fish to market or logs from the woods. They are brave, hard-working, obedient, gentle giants. I am one-quarter Newfoundland. I’m brave. I can be gentle when I feel like it (most of the time). I think I work pretty hard – but I must admit that it’s only at the things that interest me.

I understand what my two-leggers are telling me to do. But obedient is not a word anyone would use to describe me. I think most of the time, two-leggers tell us to do things either to show off for them or just for the sake of showing who’s boss. Anyway, most of the time, I just don’t see that what they are telling me to do makes any sense. Certainly, I usually have more important things on my agenda, and those are the priorities I pursue.

That’s the Great Pyrenees three-quarters of my pedigree. And if two-leggers don’t understand that aspect of the Great Pyrenees personality… well, maybe they should be looking at another dog breed. Unfortunately, we look so adorable when we are babies that people forget we are fiercely independent thinking guard dogs. They take us home and baby us, coddle us and forget that they should be training us from the instant they first hold us in their long, hairless arms. And that leads to problems. Some people call it inappropriate “puppy behaviour.”

Elizabeth scanned Facebook and the Internet looking for other people who had Gt. Pyrs. She was having her own problems with me. I was lucky, though – Elizabeth isn’t one to give up on her pals. She was always asking questions, reading books and talking to people, in an effort to understand me better and to learn how better to work with me. She took me to classes where I grew from being the second smallest dog to the second biggest in eight weeks, and more importantly, learned to be friends with other people and dogs and what I should do when two-leggers made certain noises or gestures.

Elizabeth found the Manitoba Great Pyrenees Rescue (MGPR) page on Facebook and began “lurking.” One day she saw a picture of a dog that looked an awful lot like me there. She showed me the picture, and I had to agree. There was something about the dog that really seemed… familiar. Elizabeth read me the dog’s story. She asked the people who were talking about her situation – Dakota’d been in rescue for 18 months by that time – a few questions.

She learned that, while I was just finding my way into our home, one of the puppies from my dad’s litter with the neighbour’s Great Pyr found herself admitted to rescue. It was an owner surrender. They didn’t like her “puppy behaviour.” Dakota was really lucky in one respect, though: she was taken in by the lady who operates the MGPR. Sonia knows all about Gt. Pyrs, and she loved Dakota enough to work with her, teach her all kinds of good things – even skijoring!

Dakota, my Half-sister when in Rescue

Dakota, my Half-sister when in Rescue

But no one seemed to want to bring Dakota home.

Since then, Elizabeth has taken an interest in Dakota’s story. I think she would have really liked to adopt her, but I was very sick with blasto and there was no way she could bring another dog into our home. She tried to help Dakota find a home in little ways – showing her picture around, asking her to send me a letter for my readers to see (she was pretty busy learning to skijor and guarding the other dogs in the rescue centre, so that never came about). Finally, after two years of trying to find a forever home, someone saw Dakota and fell in love with her.

Dakota While she was at MGPR

Dakota While she was at MGPR

The other day, Elizabeth met one of Dakota’s two-leggers on Facebook, and he sent her a link to his blog, where he had posted some photos of Dakota with her new family. They really love her. And you can tell just by looking at her that Dakota is pretty happy with them, too (click on the link).

Just as Dakota found her forever home, I learned of another half-sister, Belle. It looked like she, too was going to be placed with MGPR, but at the last minute, things worked out for her, too.  Sonia had a picture of her and she has been kind enough to let Elizabeth post her pictures of both Belle and Dakota in this post. Thanks, Sonia! And thank you for helping my two sisters and so many other dogs find homes!

Belle, Another of my Half-sisters

Belle, Another of my Half-sisters

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