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I love my dog more and more every single day.

Two things happened over the last week that made me SO happy.

1) My bf, Aspen and I went to a friends fire pit for a little while over the weekend. I could only stay for an hour or so because I had to go home and do homework. Anyway, when we got there, a little girl who Aspen and I had never met came RUNNING up to Aspen. She is about 3 years old and super cute. She was really excited to see Aspen because she loves dogs. (I did lecture her father about allowing her to run up to strange dogs. I know Aspen is fine, but not every dog will be.) So, she's oohing and ahhing over Aspen. Petting her, chasing her around... the little girl want to play jump rope with Aspen's leash. I told her we couldn't swing it, but we could use it to play limbo haha. Aspen sat there for 15 minutes while I held the end of the leash and the little girl 'limbo'd'. There was another dog there. A rotten little thing that was super reactive. The owner was doing NOTHING to control the reactivity so I tried to keep Aspen out of that dogs sight. At one point, it broke free and beelined for Aspen. It was snarling and really going after her. She stood there and looked up at me like she was saying, 'help' but didn't react at all. I scooped her up right away while someone else grabbed the other dog. I was SO proud of how she handled everything. I really think she's going to make a great therapy dog.

2) I live on a dead end street with a field across the street from me. My backyard is fenced in but if I'm in the front yard, I like to allow Aspen free roam. The neighbors dog and Aspen are best friends. He is allowed to run free but has an e-collar on :( In the past, when he would run by, Aspen would follow him and the two of them would frolic around until we could catch them. Neither one would listen when called. WELL, this weekend... He came by, they ran around the field for a couple of minutes and when I called Aspen, she came right over! This is a huge victory for her haha. She listens SO well, but that was always the one instance when she wouldn't listen and it was so frustrating. I had her dragging a long line for about a month this summer so maybe losing her freedom helped?

She is SUCH an amazing dog. I often think about all of the other amazing dogs there are in shelters and rescues. I wish I could save them all.
 

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Most of my dogs have come from shelters/rescue groups and I've loved them all.
There are a lot of people out there who think dogs from those places are defective for some reason, otherwise they wouldn't be there. I wish those kinds of people could be better educated and know that there are pure gems to be found at shelters and rescue orgs.

I have one now, that I'm also very proud of...she was an abused animal for 5 years, and was also isolated in a back yard from almost everything. So she's almost feral.

So, in her case, yes, she was one of the 'defective' ones, she was terrified of humans and had absolutely no training of any kind. [but I knew that before adopting her]

Yet in the 2 years since I've owned her, she's learned to trust me, and this got her from a tie down, to a drag line, and finally, she's free to roam the yard as she now comes when I call her :D She overcame an almost overwhelming fear of me in order to get to the point of trusting me enough to come to me when I called her.
For months, in the beginning, I couldn't look or talk to her without her running through the house in a fearful panic. Now I have a dog that for the first time in her life is experiencing trust and bonding with a human. I am hoping in another few years she will allow me to reach out and pet her, but we are not quite at that point...but she has upon occasion let me reach down and touch her while I was sitting in my computer chair. Usually she still get up and moves...but sometimes now, she doesn't...so I have hopes that soon I'll be able to pet her without her shying away from me.

So while most people think that a dog coming when called isn't a big deal....for some pet owners...it's a HUGE deal. I am very proud of Jaya, and so I can understand your pride in your dog when she came to you when you called her - it's a good feeling when one has had dog that wasn't so inclined to do that, to see it make that change and come when being called.

I'm glad you found a shelter dog that you not only love, but are proud of and for good reasons. : )

Stormy
 
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Aspen sounds like she is getting better and better every day! Probably has something to do with her amazing owner...
 
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It really is incredible to watch dogs blossom into amazing companions under the right kind of leadership. Aspen is a lucky girl. :)

I sometimes have some serious guilt about not getting a shelter dog, I creep my local humane society website like every day.

(Not to hijack the thread, but Heidi has started walking to the door when she needs to pee. Yahoooo.)
 

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@Shandula - don't feel guilty. No matter where the dogs come from, the important thing is that they have great homes :)

Hijack away! Housebreaking is SO exciting! Haha

Do you have any recent pictures of Heidi?? :) I'm torn between a Border Collie and an Aussie for my next dogs (many years from now).
 

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I do! Here's one I took yesterday of the two of them.



And the two crazies playing with the duck:



So far, Levi was a MUCH easier puppy. He didn't chew, housebreaking was almost instantaneous, and he was always such a sweet cuddler. Heidi, oh Heidi. She is a difficult puppy. Major chewer, housebreaking is a longer process, and she is way more into ignoring me. However, when we are in a training session She. Is. On. Her response times are amazing quick, and she is SO FAST already. I think as long as you're prepared for their energy, you can't go wrong either way. :)
 

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I haven't adopted a stray or shelter dog in a long while. Though I loved the ones I have had. My most recent dog acquisition was one year ago when I got two purebred dachshund puppies. I have been a dog person for 50 years and have had pets ranging from possums to chickens to snakes, but have never experienced as fine a relationship as I have with these two guys. I think it is amazing, and I'm not easily impressed:)
 

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The reactions you're describing certainly do make it sound like Aspen could have the potential to be a great therapy dog. Have you looked into any particular therapy group yet?

Side note: My dog Tully and I are scheduled to go to two assisted living facilities today and to the college where we do therapy visits twice next week, which means by the end of next week, he'll have enough certified visits to earn his TDIA (Therapy Dog International Active) title, which is the first title TDI awards and enough for his second AKC title (though I never sent in the materials for the first AKC title, which is only twenty visits, as I thought it would be easier to just wait until he had enough visits under his belt--or collar, as it were--to send in the paper work for the second AKC level title and the first TDI level title).
 
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