Friday, July 8, 2011

Who is Your "True Dog"?

True Dog Blog!

My reason for creating this blog is the hope that we can all share stories, learn, better understand, and build a rewarding relationships with our True Dogs. Blogging is something that I've considered off and on for sometime now.  My husband and I tend to be private people, but the opportunity to share our experiences with, our sometimes challenging, often misunderstood, and always quirky dogs was the deciding factor in starting this blog.  

What is a True Dog?

True Dog is a term that came from something Dustyn used to describe Chico.  After adopting Chico, he often called him our "True Dog."  Chico's loving personality, loyalty, desire to learn and please us makes him so true and pure.  I'm certain others might not see the true in our Chico.  Read more about Chico's story to find out why.

Chico: The Original True Dog

In October of 2009 we adopted our original True Dog, a Border Collie named Chico.  When we adopted Chico he was approximately 1 year old.  During his 1st year, Chico was severely abused and neglected by his first owners. Chico was initially purchased from a breeder. Unfortunately, he was sold to a family that was incapable of treating him with kindness.  He was kept outside in a small crate and neglected during his critical development stage.  According to the adoption agency, his outdoor living conditions were awful.  Due to his cramped living conditions he lost  muscle mass in his legs and would just drag his back end around.   Chico was eventually removed from the abusive environment, and Protege Canine Rescue brought him into their rescue.  Chico went to an amazing foster home. In his foster home he got the chance to play with other dogs, gain some muscle, eat some good food, and he was given the name Chico.  Even Chico's original name wasn't nice or pretty prior to coming into the rescue. It's at his foster home that Chico started his new journey on learning how to interact with humans. Interacting with humans who, for once, did not want hurt him. This journey is long and one we are still on.

As horrific as Chico's past is, we try very hard to focus on the present and future.  I believe knowing what his past history is certainly allows us to have more patience and understanding for him.  Chico has had some major struggles with socialization... And hey, who can blame him?!  How could he trust people when he never received any human kindness during the most critical time in his life?  Chico is working really hard to overcome his fears.   However, he is reactive (barking and lunging) to bikes, people, and other dogs.  This type of behavior is generally done out of fear, excitement, and confusion.  We are working very hard with several different positive training techniques.  Chico tries hard everyday, and is making some major progress.  Today Chico lives a very full and happy life.  He loves to herd sheep, and is proving to be decent at it.  He is also training in agility, rally obedience, and he loves to run and play with other dogs off leash. 

This is one of my favorite photos of Chico

There's More Room for True: Rue

"Occasionally" I scan canine rescue groups websites.  As I sat scanning Midwest Border Collie Rescue, I saw a picture of a beautiful little female Border Collie. After some discussion, Dustyn encouraged me to email and find out more about Rue.  Thankfully Rue's life didn't include the abuse that Chico had endured, but life hasn't always been a picnic for her.  At a young age, Rue's medical records indicate that she was placed in several humane societies.  Many people often don't understand that Border Collies can be very high energy dogs, I think this was probably the case for Rue.  A wonderful women who has Border Collies adopted Rue from the Humane Society with the intention of finding her a forever home (she couldn't take on another dog, but just hated to see a beautiful Border Collie in the humane society.)  Within a few days she found her a home.  Rue lived  at this home for 5 years until Rue's family came into a circumstance beyond their control and could no longer keep her.  Rue's former foster mom was called back and she spent the next few months living with her until her foster mom again found a new forever home. On January 1st, 2011 we picked up Rue to bring her to her true forever home...

Not all rescue dogs come with the baggage like Chico did.  Rue is a great example of that.  Although Rue was a bit manic and nervous when she arrived in our home, she settled in nicely after about 9 weeks.  During those first weeks we had to be very strict with our house rules and really reiterate good dog manors.  She still needs a few reminders, but overall she is a well behaved dog.  After living with us just 6 weeks Rue earned her Canine Good Citizen Certificate (a program designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community.)  She just adores every person and dog she meets.  We couldn't ask for a better fit with our two True Dogs.  Chico and Rue play, sleep and eat together.  Since Rue has come to live with us she has found her passion in agility.  She loves to play ball, Frisbee and play with other dogs.

 Rue at Curt Gowdy State Park in WY

Who is Your True Dog?

This blog isn't intended to just be about Chico and Rue.  Do you have a true dog or have you had one in the past?  What makes them so true?  I'd love to hear from anyone that reads this blog. 

Chico & Rue in Red Feather Lakes, CO


  1. OH - I love your "true" stories! I guess Rudy is our "true" dog. We adopted him from an overcrowded rescue as a buddy for Lori, a boxer mix we'd adopted from the Humane Society. Lori was my heart and soul, but I realize now, perhaps she was just the vehicle for bringing Rudy to us. We adopted Rudy, also, at about a year old. He'd been rescued from Miami-Dade Animal Services, and went from rescue group to rescue group until Heidi's Legacy agreed to take him. We have no clue about his treatment as a puppy, or in his first full year. But we do know that he went to the Heidi's Legacy in October 2009, and when we brought him home to meet Lori, it was January 2010, and we noticed he had a funny swing to his gait. We took him to the vet for a checkup, and they did x-rays. He'd been living with a dislocated hip that no-one knew about. It was too late to reset it, as for all we knew, it had been MONTHS out of the socket. When we picked him up after the xrays (they sedated him), we waited for them to bring him to us, but knowing he was a rescue, I guess they didn't bother. We asked for him, and when they brought him in, I was sitting on the floor. He came over, climbed his 50 pounds into my lap, laid his head on my shoulder, let out a HUGE sigh, and I felt his whole body relax. That was when I knew he was my dog.

    The rescue said they would have their vet look at the xrays, and he did finally have a salvage surgery to cut the muscle that holds the bone against the socket - so that it could ride away from bone-on-bone territory. With Lori's boxer energy, we couldn't have him recuperate at home, so he stayed at the rescue, and I visited him one time to make sure he was OK. I adopted him the day his stitches came out, and took him to the vet for that.

    We've been through a lot since then. We lost Lori in a play accident - her collar got wrapped around Rudy's lower jaw while she was rolling. By the time we cut the collar off, she was gone, and Rudy would not let us near him with a collar for months. We moved, and adopted Emmie - a new buddy for Rudy - whom he is very protective of.

    We were a little naive about what Rudy was going through after losing Lori. He had always been protective, but now if Emmie looked at ANYONE with hesitation, Rudy came lunging to her rescue. After he nipped a few people, we finally took him to a behaviorist, and he takes prozac! Since he wouldn't let us put a collar on him, walks were out. Then we realized he'd let us put a slip lead on, and eventually, collars were OK.

    Lori was one of those dogs we could take ANYWHERE. She even laid under the table at the realtors office when we signed a contract to buy the land our house is on. When my mom was in ICU, she rode to Gainesville with us, and hung out with my husband in the parking lot at the hospital. (this was before we got Rudy) Rudy... not so much. It took a while to come to grips with losing our laid back Lori, and getting through our grief while Rudy seemed to have gone off the deep end.

    He has swim therapy every couple of weeks (used to be every week) for his hip, goes to doggie day care to play with Emmie and a bunch of other dogs, and has his CGC, and will start Rally Obedience soon. He would be wonderful with Agility, but for his hip, and the potential liability of having him off leash with other humans around.... He does have his humans outside the "pack" whom he loves, though - his trainers at the hydrotherapy pool, the Agility/Rally trainer..... but heaven help anyone who comes to the house!

  2. Yes, Amy, I have learned so much about myself through my dogs. I never knew the depths of patience I was capable of! Lori was a great teacher, and paved the way for us to have the insight to understand Rudy's needs. Sigh. Seeing Rudy playing and happy is such an overwhelming gift.