Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our new Loup

We finally have our new rescue boy.

You can follow him at:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life Without a Dog

The house is getting cleaned cupboard by cupboard. The washing machine has never seen so much laundry in such short periods of time. The garden will be looking good in the spring as I split plants and moved them around. I finished my Ben book but am having problems uploading it. Perhaps that 'throttling' phenomenon done by Rogers.

No dog hair, no muddy paws or wet dog shaking once in the house. Well, okay, there is some hair floating around under the bed upstairs. Could be Ben's, could be Trickster's or just dust. Once I finished cleaning cupboards, I'll get to the upstairs although I tidied up a couple of Don's dresser drawers. Perhaps I'm doing that to tell him what a good girl I am and can we have a dog now : ) No, I'm not doing it for that reason, I'm just trying to get order in the house.

I am getting to know more and more rescue groups via the internet. So many deserving dogs out there. Don isn't ready for a dog yet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Life after Ben

It hasn’t been easy but that’s a given. He was larger than life with a personality to match. I have signed on with the Southern Ontario Pyr Rescue and in doing so, told them that we weren’t quite ready.

A Pyr had come into a rescue who looked very much like my Poohbear. It was so tempting that I started an email to them but Don said it's too soon. I see that that Pyr now has an 'adoption pending' so Don is off the hook. I'm feeling better these days but sometimes I just miss the sweet side of Ben. I keep going to rescue sites. I really should stop that but that's easier said than done.

I'm not out as much as when I had Ben. Our neighbours knew Ben wasn't there but just didn't know what happened. I only met my next door neighbour yesterday when walking Trickster and told her. She was so surprised because she had gone over one morning to pet him because he had been barking for attention and Don was otherwise occupied. He was his usual wiggle bum self, loving the attention. That was before we realized how unsafe he could be. I have mostly such good neighbours who are so supportive and such dog lovers.

Whenever our new companion finds us, I’ll start a new blog. Check back here now and again. I have no idea when it will be but cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dominate your Dog or Have Mutual Respect?

I have heard people say over our time with Ben that we need to dominate him, be leader of the pack and to show him whose top dog. This has puzzled me because I’m not a dog and my dog knows I’m not a dog. How about a little mutual respect which goes a lot further than hanging him or beating him up. Ben went a long way with praise/treat training and training was extremely enjoyable for both of us. We just couldn’t fix what was already broken a long time ago.

We considered briefly old school training in trying to save Ben. To see Ben trained to a kennel by forcing him in and letting him fight it out until he lay down from exhaustion or to be hung until he lay down from exhaustion and into what some would call submission. I can’t imagine beating the spirit out of any living creature. There wouldn’t ever be any respect or trust of me by Ben. He still wouldn’t be safe or maybe even worse.

I will always stick by the praise/treat method. It did wonders for Ben in the short term. It did wonders for the Twicksta boy. As for Clara, she was just a natural Pyr and did as she pleased in a respectful way.

There is an excellent article on dominance behaviour by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour. See the following link Lynn provided to me:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Left to Pick up the Pieces

It feels like I was kicked in the stomach so hard I can't breathe. The wind has been taken from us. We spent four months, intense months on training Ben. And Ben ends up dying despite our efforts to save him. He was a 4-year old, healthy and vibrant Pyr with tons of personality and that was one of the reasons it was such a tough decision. I keep going around on this so stop reading if you like but it's my way of coping with this loss. I have to work this out.

I was so excited to come home and work with him because we always made such good progress. Ben really blossomed. I found it so exciting to take what I had learned from Lynn and apply it and then become really comfortable with it. Ben really seemed to look forward to it, too. I would guess that's because it involved so many treats but that is what worked. I have the feeling he enjoyed the work, too. It made him think and he was a very smart boy and a very quick learner.

He had lost all of his old, dry malnourished coat and his new coat was coming in. Thick and soft. He would have had a beautiful winter coat.

We're going through doubt, now. Ninety percent of the time Ben was a lovable goob and ten percent of the time he went blind. He knew what worked so he got his way. He was a 130 pounds of solid Pyr. He hadn't been taught any differently and he had to survive. He had to fall back on his wolf instincts and I'm told it was so ingrained in him that there was nothing we could do.

I opened the trunk of the car today. It sickened me all over again to see the collar Ben came with, encrusted with his blood, dirt and hair. It reminded me of how much pain he must have been in over time.

We went from one end of the spectrum with Clara our angel, to the other end we now know, with Ben, a neglected but loving boy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

He Rests in Peace. I'm so sorry, Ben Ben.

2005 - September 17, 2009

It was a tough night. We went for pizza and toasted Ben. We then went for a walk for Ben. I could never understand how people could go for walks without a dog because I have always, it seems, walked with a dog. So, that was sad. I awoke after midnight and sat on the stairs and sobbed. No barks or growly sounds as Ben used to lay his head down. No boy to have me to go down to comfort him to sleep. Don and I talked and talked. For some reason, I keep expecting Ben to find his way back home. Crazy.

My Ben Ben is gone. I am so sorry that this had to happen to him by no fault of his own. I couldn't say sorry to him enough as he lay there. My big, goofy Ben Ben.

I will say again that breeders and owners are supposed to prepare their dogs for the world, for civilization and not to leave them to their own devices and starve them. It is our responsibility to look after them and give them the best possible chance at a wonderful life in our world.

The house is so empty now. So quiet. I feel at such a loss. No more walking him in the morning or after work. No more training. No more feeding 3 and 4 times a day. No more night walks or trips to the fields. He's not here when we come home, no head peaking around the wall, waiting to be fed. No more trips to the cottage with him. No more slobbers and goober on my clothes and everyone else's. I came to love those goobers. He loved his tummy rubbed and to cuddle. He even came to like boat rides, on occasion. It's hard to believe he's gone.

I have a wide assortment of treats of different value levels left that I had purchased for resource training. I was ready to roll and continue on with Lynn's help until the attack on Don. We then had to sit back and think hard. Even after that, Don wanted to try the vet behavourist to get her take on it. Could Ben be fixed? He's some crazy guy who loved Ben. As time crawled along, we both realized it was really time to keep everyone safe. Don didn't care how many times he was bitten, but it was other people for whom we had to worry.

Ben, my bigger than life Pyr. I always knew you were there. And now I know you're gone and I'll miss you so so much. Be good my Goob. You'll always be with me.