I had made up my mind! I was getting a
dog. For years I had wanted a big dog
and the vandalism of my car and the theft of my stereo the night before
me into action. I had certain
requirements for this dog; it had to be a female (so I could have her
shorthaired, preferably at least six months old, and about 60 pounds
grown. I know I was being very picky;
but that was my criteria. Scouring the
newspaper I found nothing that fit my "ideal" so off to the pound I
went. The county animal shelter had
nothing that fit my criteria, so I drove to the local SPCA. There a gentleman escorted me back into the
kennel area; as I looked down the row of runs my attention was drawn to
Dalmatian. "What about this one?' I
asked. "You don't want that one
she's deaf" responded the man. I
was starting to resign myself to the fact that I was not going to find
perfect dog and was walking out of the kennel area when to my left in a
shielded by the open kennel door I saw a red object move slightly. "What's back here?' I ask hesitantly as
I slowly moved the door aside. My eyes
met with the most pleading eyes I have ever seen. To
say there was immediate chemistry. Behind
the door was a golden red dog,
approximately 50 pounds, shorthaired, and about the right age. "She's is a chicken killer.
We adopted her out as a puppy, but the people
could not keep her in a fence. She has
been spayed. She is a spook-afraid of men" was the comment I heard as
eyes could not break away from that LOOK in her eyes.
I calmly knelt down and gently called the
name on the kennel card." Brandy, do you want to come home with
me?" Slowly her short stubby tail
that I had not noticed started to move in a tentative wag.
"I'll take her" came from somewhere
and shortly I was leaving the parking lot with a very scared dog on the
board of my car.
men became very apparent when my vet walked in the examination room. She cowered in the corner and urinated
constantly. Given a clean bill of
health, I happen to think on my way out "Well atleast she didn't try to
bite." That thought should have
been the key but I missed it. As it
turned out Brandy had been beaten by a man repeatedly because of her
killing. Brandy loved women and children
but terror filled her eyes at the mere sight of a man.
natural in obedience but her fear of men continued until one day the
said that she needed to be taught that she could defend herself. His concern as he explained was that one day
Brandy would become a fear biter and that he thought teaching her
Protection) training might help.
"Schutzhund? That teaches them to bite!" I replied
astounded. My instructor assured me that
Brandy needed the training so I relented.
week we started her aggression training.
The instructor had seven or eight dogs in training and he would
in the middle of the pack as the agitator work down the line. The more
experienced dogs would just sit there until given their commands to make contact with agitator and the bite sleeve while
younger dogs were barking and lunging at the agitator.
The instructor told me to encouraged
Brandy to bark, jump or anything but cowering behind me.
Three weeks later I thought it was useless,
Brandy cowered behind me constantly. I was defeated.
what I had
decided would be the last session, as the agitator approached Brandy
in front of me and barked softly. The
agitator immediately turned and ran away from Brandy in an effort to
that she had thwarted the threat. Her eyes told me the story, she had
message. Soon Brandy was progressing
nicely in her training and her fear of men was disappearing. Brandy's change was short of a miracle. She would walk up to strangers and asked to
be petted - even men- and she excelled in obedience. Having
achieved our goal with Brandy, her
Schutzhund training was stopped; but I had been made a believer.
comment to me about what a good home Brandy had gotten and how I had
so much. I disagree because before I got
Brandy I was a shy, insecure, and unpopular high school student. As Brandy was gaining confidence I did
too. I could speak to crowds of
hundreds, I had learned to never give up.
I could succeed and that I did not have to be afraid. Brandy's gift to me had been
herself-unreserved love, and the opportunity to learn to face my
gone to doggie heaven but I am still involved in the sport of dogs. I learned my lesson well and I hope she is
proud of me. She was my first "Heart Dog".