My Dog is My Hero
My Dog is my Hero
My dog is my best friend; my hero! He's seen me in situations that no one, including my husband, has been witness to. He comes running to greet me with exuberant licks and kisses every time I come in the door, even if I've just been away for 2 minutes to take out the garbage. His name is "Waverly" and I call him "Waves." He is not only my best friend. Waves is my hero. This is our story.
Background... Going back 12 years
I knew nothing about puppy mills or rescue
I never had a dog before "Waves" walked into my life and right into my heart. I grew up in a house full of dog paintings, dog books, and field trial awards, but with no dogs. My father had raised World Champion English Setters in his day and is in the Field Trial Hall of Fame because of it. However, my mother didn't like dogs in the house so when they got married, that was that. And now - years later - I wanted a dog of my own.
I knew nothing about puppy mills or rescue. I just knew I wanted a healthy, happy dog. I had spent 2 weeks with my cousin and her two feisty soft coated wheaten terriers that past Christmas, and that was my breed of choice.
Discovering Dog Breeders
Around the time that my husband and I were conversing about getting a dog, we befriended someone who just happened to be a soft coated wheaten terrier owner. He used to breed but didn't do that anymore. However, his best friend was a breeder of wheaten terriers. It didn't matter that the friend lived two states away, that she bred once a year, and she never placed a dog with a new owner. I was willing to travel, to wait, and to converse and convince the breeder to put me on her list when the time came.
A New Member of the Family
Waves came into my life as a puppy - just 10 weeks old. At the breeder's urging, when Waves was six months old, I decided to put him in a dog show. I remember my husband saying to me in the car on the way to the dog show that I was being silly and I shouldn't think that Waverly was going to win just because I loved him and thought he was the best dog in the entire universe. My husband felt the whole thing was a waste of time and didn't want me to be upset. But you know what? He won and got his first 3 points.
Since Waverly was enjoying being shown, several months later I decided to put him in a big dog show with just under 300 Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. Just before the dog show, my mother called and told me I was being totally unreasonable to do this and that "just because my father's dog's were champions, I shouldn't think that my pet dog was too." And my husband was mad at me because I insisted our dog be entered and I felt that Waverly had a good chance of winning and my husband didn't want me to be disappointed when that didn't happen. And he didn't want to spend money for what he considered to be a "dog beauty show" either.
Waverly - One very talented dogClick thumbnail to view full-size
Every Day is a Gift
It rained all that weekend, but Waverly looked great and on one of the days, he took "Winners Dog" and we took home points and a purple ribbon.*
I was holding him afterward and the rain was coming down in buckets. One of the spectators pointed to me holding my very wet dog and they exclaimed "Now that's what our dogs at home look like! None of this show dog stuff." I thought to myself with a smile: "If only they had seen him two hours ago."
The day after he won "Winners Dog," it was discovered that one of the famous champion wheaten terriers had PLE/PLN, two protein-losing diseases that often occur together and are genetically passed down. The champion wheaten terrier that was affected was Waverly's grandfather, and because we didn't know the mode of inheritance, a couple months later we had our dog neutered. By this time he was a champion, but his show career was over and although I was thrilled to have him at home on the weekends, I cried every night for months on end, fearful that the disease might cause an early death. However, all that is past history and he is 12 years old, still healthy and happy and I count my blessings every day.
*The Purple Ribbon is "awarded to the winners of the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch classes. Since these are the classes in which championship points are earned, these ribbons are highly coveted."
Definition from the American Kennel Club
Dog Calendars for 2013
2013 Puppies Calendar
Waverly Saves Lives!
He's our Neighborhood Hero
Two years ago my husband took Waves for a late night walk before turning in. They had just started down the pathway when Waverly started barking and wouldn't budge. My husband tried to get Waves to stop barking and to move, but our dog looked straight ahead at the house across from where they were and continued barking and barking. It was unusual for Waverly to carry on like this and my husband looked at him and then looked toward the house Waverly was facing. Suddenly he smelled smoke, rushed back home and had me call 911 while he notified the owners of the house who were sleeping at the time, and got them out. The attached garage burnt to the ground and there was smoke damage to the house, but everyone was safe. Waverly saved the day.
No one attacks Waverly's owner and gets away with it!
The neighbors have a small dog who is very territorial and who likes to beat up other dogs and has been known to bite people. My husband and I are friends with the owners of this dog. For the sake of this adventure, I'll call the dog "Gruff." One day my husband and I were walking up the pathway with Waves while our neighbor was walking down the hill towards us with "Gruff." When we met up on the pathway, my husband put an arm around our neighbor and said hello. Suddenly "Gruff" lunged and took a bite out of my husband's jeans. If my husband had been wearing shorts, the bite would have been flesh (flesh and blood?). While our neighbor was apologizing profusely, Waverly lifted his leg and pe*d all over the neighbor's shoe. My hero!
According to a dog trainer we know, Waverly did not do this for retaliation. "Dogs just don't do that. He was just marking his territory and it had nothing at all to do with the other dog. That part was just coincidence." I however, know better.
I was talking to another trainer at a dog park after that incident, and she told me that I absolutely had to read Jean Donaldson's book "The Culture Clash." She went on to say that I needed to read it "because dogs are dogs and not people." Truly she had a point. So I bought the book and read the first three pages. But I couldn't continue reading. After all, Waverly was and is my first dog and he is larger than life. He is my hero.
The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
The book every dog owner should read (except me!)
The Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way to Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs [Paperback]
Amazon Editorial Review:
"The Culture Clash is special. Jean Donaldson's first book is quite simply the very best dog book I have ever read. It is utterly unique, fascinating to the extreme, and literally overflowing with information that is so new it virtually redefines the state of the art in dog behavior and training. Written in Jean's inimitably informal yet precise lecture style, the book races along on par with a good thriller. In fact, I read the manuscript three times in a row before it was even published.
The Culture Clash depicts dogs as they really are - stripped of their Hollywood fluff, with their lovable 'can I eat it, chew it, urinate on it, what's in it for me' philosophy. Jean's tremendous affection for dogs shines through at all times, as does her keen insight into the dog's mind. Relentlessly, she champions the dog's point of view, always showing concern for their education and well being.
The Culture Clash joins a very distinctive group of books and it runs at the head o! f the pack. Like Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog, The Culture Clash has a refreshingly original perspective. Like Gwen Bohnenkamp's books, The Culture Clash cuts to the chase - no if's and no but's - here's the story - now educate your dog! Without a doubt, Jean's book is the hottest doggy item on the market - the quintessential book for dog owners and dog trainers alike - a very definite two paws up! Do yourself and your dogs a big favor: Give it a read! And let's look forward to many more books by Jean Donaldson." Dr. Ian Dunbar -- the publisher
Books Every Dog Owner Should Read
by Patricia B. McConnel
by Raymond Coppinger and Lorna Coppinger
Great dogs go to Heaven but Waverly is an Angel here on Earth!
Wheaten Terrier Postage Stamps
Featuring Waves and Our Younger Dog Avi
US Approved Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Postage Stamps
Click on the individual Wheaten Terrier Dog Stamps for more information or to buy!