* Yesterday I posted an article written about a beloved dog we miss to this day - and I thought it would be interesting to share some brief articles here about the 3 dogs and 1 cat that have shared our home since that fateful day some 7 or 8 years ago.
Onyx, a two year old Border Collie/Chocolate Lab cross, rescued by the SPCA, had been abused most of his life and had a deep distrust of people. They had deemed him practically un-adoptable due to his aggressive behavior - towards men in particular. It turned out he was never what is termed an ‘aggressive’ dog, he is what is considered as ‘reactive’ in that when something reminds him of his abuse, he reacts by barking and fretting. When we first brought Onyx home he had skin rashes from extended kennel life and was very thin of hair and muscle. We discovered scars on his chin and three shattered teeth that might have been caused by a kick in the face. We could imagine the pain he was in from eating with broken teeth and exposed nerves and we had them extracted as soon as possible. It has taken some time to bring him around to being a normal, calm dog and it has come with its trials along the way. In the first few months when he was really not doing well - Lillian was pulled to the ground and dragged a couple of times. He had also scared some others (and us) with his lightening fast moves – mostly a heading-off gesture that Border collies typically perform. We realized that with a working breed in his blood Onyx simply could not ignore the genetic call to do his duty. Once we learned how to ease him out of his anxiousness by giving him reliable routines with plenty of exercise and attention he was able to relax, be a dog and let us be the boss. Now he is a very happy healthy (well trained) companion with very few issues. He still feels he must give a bark at anyone that comes near the house, but after a quick praise he stops, wags his tail and goes about his day feeling proud and needed. If that is the worst that he does after all he has been through – I say let him bark.
...update: Onyx became cranky and his old injuries began haunting him, he grunted when going up stairs, became moody and snappy, and limped after a short walk outside in the yard almost 2 years ago - after much discussion and hesitation we decided it was best for him to let him go peacefully. He was taken to the vet and calmly went to sleep, never to wake again. We cremated his body and spread his ashes near his favorite beach.
When we adopted our third rescue dog it was to help us with the rehabilitation of our second one! Our second, Onyx, was having trouble being a dog, having suffered a lifetime of abuse and never knowing how to play. It was suggested to us that another dog would be the answer to breaking down the barriers what we could not as humans. Skyla a Malamute/Shepherd cross (rescued from a puppy mill gone bad) was anemic from near starvation, had heart murmurs because of it and did not know how to eat food out of a bowl. It took some feeding and nurturing to build her strength but within a short period her heart was strong and she put on some weight while she grew albeit very slowly. She was all knuckles, knees and skin for her first eighteen months then the filling out of muscles and flesh began intermittently with the lengthening of her bones and structure. The energy she now has when she is excited is unreal and has earned her the nickname ‘Grendall’ due to the grumbles and grunts she emits during these spastic times. Skyla is a very intelligent dog that listens (most of the time) to every command we give and loves to learn new things every day. I swear she has the strength and energy of a small horse and with her sled dog genetics lurking deep inside she would love to have a job pulling something. As a matter of fact when I take her for a bike ride on leash in a heel, she hints that she has no problem pulling me around (uphill even) but I resist her charming offer and keep it on the safe side. Although a Malamute–powered toboggan this winter sounds very cool indeed.
...update: Skyla continues to be her goofy self full of energy and intelligent as ever. She has a few hip issues now so we don't take her snowshoeing or on long hikes anymore. She is on a natural supplement for that issue.
Duchess is a Siberian Husky/Blue Heeler cross - we adopted her from the PAWS organization nearly 2 years ago and she is then, nearly 5 years old. She came from a rural property where the owners didn't have time for her and she spent most of her time on a tethered rope. So they brought her to the nonprofit animal shelter in town where we saw her picture and upon meeting her and introducing her to Skyla we knew they were a perfect match for each other. Duchess had no health problems aside from a broken tooth that we had pulled, and is a very playful girl that loves to please and is easy to train. She loves her little feline sister who cuddles with her each night.
Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!