About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Whispered Willie

(Lisa over at http://lisaschaos.blog-city.com is the host for this week's Fun Monday. She wants us to introduce our pets of any variety, furry or otherwise. I liked this--she also said that if we didn't have a pet, feel free to participate, but, gosh darn it we'd like to know why you don't have one!)
Meet Willie--once a fighter but now a lover! Willie is an 11 year old pit bull mix with an endearing patch over one eye. My friend Sally and I rescued him and his sister Hallie as small pups. They were put out by a Ben Franklin Variety Store dumpster on Halloween. I brought this little handfull of attitude home and set him up in a rabbit cage condo in the living room. At first he was a great curiosity for my other three adult dogs: Zack, a wild undisciplined border collie; Frank, a dominant chow mix; and Dan, a golden lump of sugar. Then as Willie grew he also grew into his "pit bullness". Think of him peering out of his cage like a toughened criminal in lock-up, just waiting for a break. . .
As Willie grew, he battled the older dogs for top position in the household stepping over them one by one to gain the top ranking position in the household. There were horrendous fights and I was clueless as to how to keep the peace. If any of you watch the TV reality show Supernanny, that was the situation in our home. The children are out of control and this parent had no idea how to balance her much loved dog children and keep the peace. I was accustomed to dealing with three soft dogs and then brought this little aggression machine into our home. He became the boss of us all.

For five years we lived uneasily. I tried to anticipate a situation that would cause a fight and diffuse it--not always successfully. With Dan the golden's passing in 2002, Willie became an only dog which suited him well. More importantly, I became acquainted with the rehabilitation work of Cesar Millan of Dog Whisperer fame on the National Geographic Channel.
Cesar believes that owners must be their dog's pack leader and that dogs are balanced and fulfilled only when they receive exercise, discipline and affection--in that order. His methods are benevolent but no nonsense which is exactly what a strong breed such as Willie needs.

Now that I'm retired and don't travel so much for work I have the time to provide Cesar's balancing formula of exercise, discipline and affection for Willie. Every day starts with a long, focused walk. I lead and he happily follows. He is regularly complimented for his good behavior and happy disposition in public which makes me very proud. I want him to be a good will ambassador for pit bulls, a much maligned breed. I reward him with lavish attention and affection. He is a great retirement partner.

Some people speak of a Forever Dog--the one they love above all others. For me all of my dogs are Forever Dogs, each in his own way has taught me to be a better person, I hope.

26 comments:

The very nice man said...

Nice dogs but . . do they OWN the couch???
Our dog is not allowed to pretend he is human! Sofas are out-of-bounds!

Sauntering Soul said...

Wow, Willie sounds like quite a handful! I'm glad you rescued him and decided to stick it out with him rather than abandoning him again despite him trying to rule all of you. He's a lucky dog!

laurie said...

good for you! willie reminds me of riley.

and you know how i feel about black-and-white-dogs.

hey, do i need to teach you how to do a clickable link to a url?? email me.

it's easy.

Faye said...

Nice Man, now that it's only Willie he's welcome to one end of the sofa.

Sauntering Soul, thank goodness for challenging Willie. He forced me to learn about dogs--skills that I hope to use for future rescue efforts.

Laurie the Geek Squad--you're on! My people will e-mail your people for a tech lesson. Thanks!

Alison said...

Willie is very handsome...we have a Zack also and one of our old dogs was a chow mix...

Randy and Kim said...

Good for you and your discipline in Willie's discipline. It's hard to be a good dog owner. I have to admit, I'm not a good dog owner.. I give lots of love, but I'm lax in the discipline. Maybe that should be my new year's resolution. Nekked Lizards

Pamela said...

good for you for taking over!!
In some cases it may not work. Sound like you did it.

That chow looks like a lion!!!

Gattina said...

And Willie looks like a little angel, lol ! Very nice post ! I really enjoyed to read it. Today is a nice Fun Monday !

Hootin' Anni said...

What a great post. I love the fact you mention the ownership of the 'couch'....it's the same way around here, only the piece of furniture is our bed.

Have a super FUN MONDAY.

Faye said...

Alison-on walks people occasionally slow their cars and comment on how cute Willie is, which I love.

Randy and Kim--Cesar says love is for the humans and discipline is what the dogs need, but Willie gets plenty of love as well!

Pamela--loved your story of childhood Bobby--couldn't get a comment to post on your blog--will try again.

Gattina--yes, Willie has no reason not to be an aangel anymore--he gets all the attention as only dog.

A Slice of Life said...

Good for you for reasserting your spot as Top Dog! Seriously, that must have really taken some hard work...most people wouldn't bother. Then again, I'm not sure how many people would take a puppy out of a dumpster...

Susan at A Slice of Life

Sandy said...

You are my hero. Not just for rescuing Willie but for being smart enough and strong enough to be the boss he needs.

What a lucky dog.

ChrisB said...

So you were the 'leader of the pack'!! I have to say pit bull would not be my choice of dog but I must admit Willie does seem a lovable character!

Lane said...

What a great post. Your 'golden lump of sugar' was a beauty!

I'm a big fan of Cesar Millan who works wonders and talks sense. Sounds like you and Willie have a great partnership:-)

Kaycie said...

The last pit bull I was acquainted with ate his owner's pygmy goats. I think you could give them lessons! Good for you, becoming top dog. I bet it was hard.

Joy T. said...

Awww "forever dogs" I love that!

Tiggerlane said...

I love the idea of "forever dogs" - and I have watched Cesar religiously, but sadly - I have no time to do all that it takes.

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

I'm glad you've had the ability to train him. The pet psychologist we used helped, but our fur child still hates the real one.

lisa's chaos said...

It sounds like Willie is lucky to have you.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

You're braver than I am. Dog fights scare the bejeezus out of me. I give you lots of credit for hanging in there.

He really is a lovely dog.

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Well done you for persevering...many people would have given up with a strong-willed dog like Willie. All these bull types are much-maligned and yet, with the right handling, they are the most loving dogs!

Peter said...

I believe your story has hit on the problem with Pit Bulls in general,with out the right direction from competent, caring owners they can be the "Problem" breed that have such a bad reputation... (not a dog for everyone) great story though.

Kaytabug said...

He is very cute! So glad you never gave up on him. All of my dogs are Forever dogs too!

Sirdar said...

At least you have Willie to keep you pet company for your retirement. Sounds like he was quite the fighter.

Happy Retirement!!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, I really admire that you persevered with him. Sounds like he's made an amazing pet. You mus be really proud. And your other hounds are gorgeous too.

-Ann said...

I love the groupfuls on the couch. So cute!

The new Fun Monday topic is now available. :)