Friday, December 14, 2012

A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas Service Dog

Here at Fast Pup Dog Training, we have taken in lots of dogs over the years from owners who were giving them up for various reasons.  They usually don't stay long.  We put a little training on them, take some pictures of them and market them positively.  Generous clients and friends are always stepping forward and opening their homes and hearts when they see how well behaved and balanced the dogs are after a few weeks or months hanging out with our ever changing pack and family of dogs.  Over the years we have taken care of an abandoned mother dog and raised her litter of abandoned puppies.  We have taken in Pit Bulls, Dobermans, lots of Labs and mixed breeds to name a few.  It certainly is not good for the bottom line of the business, but it is the right thing to do and it is good for our hearts.

Diesel Lounging With Terry
This past summer Kate met Diesel, a one year old AKC registered Labrador Retriever from superb field trial lines.  It was a hurried introduction while good friends Carol and Jim of Jim Cochran Sporting Dogs were preparing to leave on a trip to Montana and Kate was receiving instruction from Carol about taking care of the kennel.  Carol was introducing the dogs and going over any special needs they had when they came to a run containing a handsome black Lab. Carol explained briefly that the dog did not really belong to anyone and that he did not even really have a name.  After they took off, Kate started wondering about this dog.  He seemed like he had a great temperament and it seemed that he possibly needed a home.  She took him out to the ponds a few times while they were gone and introduced him to her dear friend and training partner Fran Seagren.  Both Kate and Fran were puzzled as to why this dog did not seem to have an owner.  He was a natural born retriever and was ahead of the curve for his age on ability.

A week or so later we were told what had happened.  A very well known breeder in the region had done a breeding a year earlier.  This one pup out of the litter had an imperfection in the structure of his mouth.  He had a significant over-bite (the nose and upper jaw was normal in size but the lower jaw was about half an inch too short.)  The breeder had tried to give the pup away, but no one wanted him.  She knew that the dog had nothing wrong with him other than this cosmetic issue.  Since the dog came from strong hunting field trial lines, she wanted to make sure the dog would go to someone who would train him properly to become a hunting dog.  She could not give the dog away.  No one wanted him, even for free!  As soon as they saw the imperfect jaw, they passed.  Finally the breeder heard that a dog training client of Jim Cochran Sporting Dogs was willing to take the dog.  So the breeder dropped him off and left.  As it turned out, the client did not want the dog, once he looked at the imperfection, so Carol and Jim were left with another mouth to feed.

Fran and Kate were amazed.  They had never really looked closely at the dog's face.  In fact, the usual vantage point from which they gazed at him they could not really see the under side of his mouth.  Until they looked very closely they could not see the cosmetic flaw.

Diesel, Terry And 11 Year Old Artie
Diesel was being well-cared for but he was marooned at a training kennel where no one seemed to want him for their own.  Kate took over the care of Diesel and he joined her pack.  Kate and Fran included him in training scenarios throughout the summer and were constantly amazed at how talented the dog was.  (And how the cosmetic imperfection did nothing to diminish his abilities.) 

Summer turned into Fall, and Kate did not have time to drill down on training Diesel as much as she wanted to, so she planned to keep him into 2013 and train him as a started hunting retriever, confident that she could place him in a great hunting home when people saw how great he was as a retriever.  Thanksgiving passed and Christmas was coming up soon. 

Then Fran got an idea.  Her brother Terry, who lives on a fixed income has a service dog, Artie, a black Lab that Fran had given him years ago who was now getting past the age of 11.  Terry would be needing a new service dog sometime in the next few years to help him.  She called Terry and proposed her idea to put Diesel with him so that he could start training the dog to be his new service dog.  Terry was absolutely thrilled at the idea.  Fran delivered Diesel to her brother earlier this week.  Fran says now that if there is ever a person as excited about getting a new dog, she definitely wants to meet them!   Terry loves to hunt birds when he is able--so not only will Terry be training Diesel as a service dog, but also will be training him as a hunting dog.  It is a perfectly imperfect match made in Heaven.  Merry Christmas to Terry and Diesel! 

Diesel Is Learning To Love Sleeping On Terry's Bed!

1 comment:

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