Discover Challenge: Animal Rescue

I won’t go into details of how and why I had to rescue an 8-year-old male Akita over 300 miles away late Mother’s Day  in 2009.  I only did it because I did not want him to be put down because of his owners antics.

I will say that I knew nothing about this breed of dog and don’t remember if I even found out what breed of dog it was before driving there quite frankly.  I just thank God that I let him in my car when the officer brought the dog out to my vehicle in his harness because besides being very large, over a hundred pounds, he did not look happy at all!

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I actually didn’t say too much as he got into the back seat and within a short time I felt his muzzle on my shoulder as he let out a big doggy sigh.

I actually took a few days off work to get a routine for taking care of my boy while I worked full-time.  Thankfully he could hold his bladder from morning walk right before I left until I came straight home to let him out and this is with the food and water left out for him.  We always had an evening stroll before bed so he could do his business as well.  He had the run of the basement while I was gone or sometimes my neighbor, a dog lover that lost her own dog years before, wanted to watch him.

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Poor puppy used to bark at every sound when he first came home with me and made sure I was aware of just how angry he was at me for taking him away from his family like that.  When I would talk to him, he would actually turn himself around from me and give me the cold shoulder over which he would turn his head and shoot a dagger or two at me.  I was “OMG, he’s mad at me.”  I won him over quickly because I was kind but firm.  Much later one of my sons told me that many people can’t even work with Akita’s because they are so strong-willed.  Again so glad I did not know all this ahead of time or I might have backed out.

I’m a pretty tough cookie myself and had to be very aggressive on the job so I actually had no problem with my pup after we had “our little talk.”  He was really giving me a hard time and would not listen to almost any command, not that I was sure of his previous training, but when he refused to come into the house one of the first evenings, I went out, put him in his harness and had to haul him in.  That was about the one and only time that happened.  I was about to get mad and I just looked at his sad little stubborn face, sat down and tried to explain to him that he has to listen to me because I am trying to help him and I want him to stay there with me.

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It was the funniest thing that he was acting like a naughty child and kept trying to turn his head away from me as well as blinking his eyes like he was thinking “OMG, please shut up!”  Luckily this did not “unnerve” me in any way at the time.  Not so sure how I would deal with another dog of this temperament now that I’m older.  My little talk did something because after that night he did act differently towards me.

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Even when his owners could finally take him back, he did not want to go with them, he wanted to stay with me and told them so just like Lassie.  He barked at them like he was angry and then pranced up to me and leaned up against me showing them that he wanted to stay with me.  I was shocked and it melted my heart.

He passed away from a sudden illness two years later but he was a completely different dog by that time and my life was so enriched by my decision to let him into my heart even though it ended up being broken.  He needed me and I needed him and I think he must have sensed this.

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