The tale of one very special dog named Ray
as told by Colin
Having been bitten by a German Shepherd many years ago, I was subsequently very wary of dogs in general. Over the course of quite a few years, I did get to meet a few nice dogs and, in November 2013, I made a life changing decision that perhaps there was a space in my life for one!
After talking to various people at our local Humane Society, I decided yes, and so started looking for a good size, sociable, even temperament, huggy kind of dog. The plan totally misfired because while I was planning on possibly adopting a dog, Ray was planning on adopting me. His strategy was clearly better than mine because he moved in with us in March 2013. I would describe him simply as 75lbs of attitude in a fur coat… and my first dog!
He was neither sociable, nor of even temperament and did not like to be touched. In fact the only area where he met my criteria was in his size. He was certainly a good size dog! With me and “a good size dog” starting a new life together, there had to be many stories to be told which is what initiated my Blog (meandray.com).
Ray has introduced us to, and forced an education in, heart worm (he had Stage 2); fear aggression: startle response, and separation anxiety. He had no evidence of being taught any social skills; was confused about how to accommodate steps, and had no idea how to behave in a home. The general conclusion was that he was probably taken away from his mother much to soon (so no social skills taught), and probably lived on a farm.
Here we are, four years later, and we have the most precious dog living with us. He is a German Shepherd/Rottweiler X, and displays typical caution when meeting strangers but, with people that he gets to know well, he is very affectionate.
Many people have complimented us with “What a good job you guys have done with Ray”, but that is only a a small part of the story. It really would not matter how much time we put into training Ray because if he had not cooperated, we would have achieved nothing. Ray has done a remarkable job of adjusting to living with us, and I attribute that to his recognition that we love him and try hard to understand his perspective on things.
All our training has been “positive reinforcement”, and we have asked for ideas from various trainers, and a dog behaviorist, over the past few years. From my experiences, there is nothing intuitive about training a dog! Ray had to wear a muzzle for a while and even that was an education because, while we associate a muzzle with bite prevention, it also gives a dog like Ray lots of space. When was a the last time you petted a dog who was wearing a muzzle? It worked great while Ray slowly accepted that people were not in fact a threat to him.
Ray weaved his way into our hearts so fast that I wanted to share Ray’s story with the world. The book “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” was the result and covers the first eighteen months of our time together. It was released in May 2016.
The book encompasses many topics as it not only goes into details of our training him, but also shows what I believe would be his perspectives on various events. It covers not only our pain as we tried to process the possibility of Ray’s life being very brief, but also the humor as him and I have a battle of strategies regarding my car! My heart was in my mouth as I was holding onto his harness to stop him from falling into a ravine, and there was laughter as he totally sabotaged our attempts to teach him how to play “Fetch”!
Living with Ray has been an emotional roller-coaster, but there are no regrets. I cannot imagine our world without him being in it. He really is one very special dog!
This tale was shared by Colin, a fellow blogger who participated in “Tuesday Tale-What Is Your Pet’s Tale?”. If you would like to participate, click the link for details.
Thank you Colin for sharing this! I love rescue stories and that is exactly what this is! From reading your blog and your book, I can truly feel the love you have for Ray. This is a story of patience and kindness toward another living being and I commend you for this. It seems you and Ray rescued each other; Ray getting a loving home and you tackling your fear of dogs.
I would like to add that I have the book Colin wrote, “Who Said I was up for Adoption?”, and really enjoyed reading it. I like how Colin makes an effort to understand Ray’s perspective which I feel very strongly about (putting yourself in their hooves/paws) as an animal lover and advocate . Besides enjoying the book itself, what is so awesome, is the profits from the sales of the book are given to the Humane Society where Ray was adopted! How great is that?!
You can purchase a copy of Colin’s book by clicking the title of the book above and you can find out more about Colin and Ray by visiting the blog meandray.
You can find more tales on the “Tuesday Tales” page of my blog.