Every day he is acting more and more like a German Shepherd should. House training is coming along as he's starting to "get" that when we go out, it's time to "do business". He's still quite unsure, though, but his happy-go-lucky attitude and obvious desire to please makes up for any aggravation on my part.
I have been praying for the gift of patience, and I think that God is answering through this poor dog. When I am tempted to impatience, all I have to do is look at the xylophone that is his ribs and glance at his questioning upturned gaze and it all melts away. It's not his fault that he doesn't understand. it doesn't matter that the temperature is at or below 0 and I'm freezing to death. He's probably colder than I am which makes what he is supposed to be learning that much more difficult for him.
Bear has slept in my room the last two nights and of the two dogs, he is obviously the dominant one. I am engaging in a big multiple-dog household no-no though....I'm not letting him on the furniture or the bed as I do my other dog who is the subordinate now.
I'm doing it this way partially because he is still stinky and quite honestly, I don't want his stinkiness on my bed at night for obvious reasons. I also am concerned about making sure he learns the right things for the household he is going to, where he might not be ALLOWED to sleep on the bed. As it is I have a futon I "gave" to the dogs a few years ago and find that it's a perfect place for them. It gets them off the cold floor, they can see me, they can look out the window, and I wouldn't use it for human use anymore anyway. (It's not the most comfortable thing.)
Anyway, as dog people will tell you, you have to let the dominant dog be dominant. Animals do not think and feel as people do, they don't understand our preferences nor can they learn them and respond to them. Over time, all we do if we disrupt the hierarchy set by the dogs (or cats, horses, etc.) is cause further competition and strife among them.
If Bear was a permanent resident, once the stinky issues are gone, he'd have full "Beta" (I'm Alpha) status over the other dog. But he's not. If he stays for much longer I will give in and fully acquiesce to his place in the household.
Now, on to the fun stuff: the cute things he's doing!
This morning when we went on our walk, Bear bounded ahead with my dog, and for a time, took her leash into his mouth. I wasn't sure if it was just happy chewing or if he was telling me he was ready to take HER for a walk! It took only a little verbal correction and he let go, but his puppy-like enthusiasm made me laugh. He often takes his own leash into his mouth and I hope maybe in the future to get a picture of him taking himself for a walk (but only if I can contain him!)
Most dogs of his age (8-9 yrs) are pretty bored with the world for the most part and see their walks as a necessary if fun part of their day. But this guy is like a little puppy in a big dog's body. He's discovering the world and finding it to be the most hopeful, interesting, and fun-filled place he's ever been!
He's learning how to play with toys, is having fun stealing my dog's favorite stuffed animals, and tearing them apart. Just like a typical big brother!
I often praise Bear by stroking his side and he curls around my hand, tucking his head, wagging his tail, and sometimes even BOUNDING around joyfully as he accepts the love and attention I'm giving him.
When I go into the kitchen to cook or do something, he goes into his kennel and lays there, watching hopefully yet never seems disappointed that I don't have anything for him when I'm done. Unless, of course, it's his breakfast or dinner, which he is just THRILLED to accept.
I'm really hoping Bear goes to a home in need of a little playful and joyful hope. His enthusiasm is enough to bring a smile to even the most dour of expressions, especially when his story is known.
I'm constantly amazed, when I deal with neglected or abused animals, their capacity to spring back, to respond to kindness, and bond with such trust even when they, by rights, should want nothing to do with humanity ever again. Granted, that DOES happen to many animals, and they must be put to sleep because of it. They become dangerous.
God told Adam to dominate, and it was Adam who named the animals. God placed the animals here on earth for our use, but that "use" does not extend to cruelty. Animal cruelty is a sin, and in some cases, is a mortal sin. It is a direct offense against God who willed the animals into existence, loves them as part of His creation, and does not will their needless suffering. These dear animals are ours, and when we give them what is due to them, such as food, shelter, and generally decent treatment, it glorifies God in His creation.
I thank God for the pets I've had, and the pets I have now. I know my new buddy "Bear" is destined for a wonderful loving home, and perhaps because he has been so mistreated, he'll have even MORE loyalty for the one who takes him in for the rest of his life.
But for now, he's a contented member of my household, is learned how to be a regular dog and is experiencing the puppyhood he should have had long, long ago.
Please send me an email (available through my profile) if you are local and interested in adopting this dog. Otherwise, share the links I'm writing about him with others you know who may be looking for a great pet.
I'm a huge fan of animal rescues; every pet I've had has been a rescue. If you desire a particular breed, know that there are breed rescues (that's why I have a German Shepherd foster...I went through a breed rescue website), but there are some for EVERY breed out there. Unfortunately, AKC papers don't prevent people from neglecting or giving up their pets when they become inconvenient to them.
That's all for tonight, but be assured I'll continue to write about the Adventures of Bear! :-)