(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.
- 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.