I bet you’re tired of reading that old story (below) about how silly I looked learning to walk on a leash. Trust me, five years later (has it really been that long?), I’ve figured out how to do it. I’d still rather run free, but that’s what got me in trouble way back when I was barely out of my puppyhood. The dog-catcher (okay, Animal Control Officer) caught me running the streets of a small eastern Mass. city one too many times and put me in the safe hands of GSRNE. I was in a great foster home for more than six months. I loved my foster family. I learned a lot about how to be a good dog from them.
In July 2001, when I was about two years old (as far as anyone can tell), I was adopted by my Mom and Dad. We lived in Arlington, Mass. for about 3 1/2 years. It was very nice but, even though I’m small for a shepherd, the yard was a little bit confining. Okay, it was too small for me. I used to “launch” myself off the back porch into the middle of the backyard and run in circles like a quarter horse rounding up cattle.
In January 2005 we moved to New Hampshire. Our new house is so big we have a room where we can play ball indoors. At first, I was on a tie-out and I wasn’t too wild about that. But when the ground warmed up, we had a fence installed around a great big part of the backyard. Now I can run like crazy and there are corners with trees (we call it “Fina’s Forest”) where I’m even allowed to dig holes! I love New Hampshire!
This summer I’ll be seven years old. Now that I have my own email account, I’ll try to do a better job of keeping you up to date on my adventures. (Hey, on the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog!)
We are happy to report that Fina is beginning to adjust to living with us and to feel secure in our household. After being uprooted a variety of times in her life, it is no wonder that Fina was wary of reinvesting her trust in us. As more time goes by, that’s the most significant factor that we sense in her as well as in ourselves – that we now can trust each other.
We had some dominance problems in the beginning. Our previous dog, who I had for 15 years, was an extremely submissive dog and though we realize that all dogs have different personalities, we were worried about this new 18-month old dog that we had adopted. GSRNE was very helpful during this time and set up an individual obedience lesson with Lisa Rockland. We learned an awful lot in that hour. Most important though was Lisa’s assessment that Fina was indeed a good dog; we would just have to work with her.
We have been working with her and we have come a long way. When we got her, Fina had rarely been on a lead before. Her reaction was to spin around and face me and try to squirm out of her collar. When we were able to move beyond that, it was really she who was taking me for the walk. My neighbors got some really good laughs out of seeing Fina drag me around the block! Lisa’s “follow me” approach to walking on the leash was a lifesaver. It has made a huge difference in our walks. Fina still wants to pull and lead the way, but responds (for a short while at least) to my “about faces” as we walk along. Of course, “walk” is really a misnomer – her nose is to the ground the whole time.
Fina loves to “greet” every passerby from her window perch on the stairs and could spend hours cutting “crop circles” into the back yard chasing birds and squirrels. She really is a sweet, gentle little love-bug. She likes nothing better than curling up on the sofa with her head in our laps — and there’s nothing we like much better either!