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My Dog is My Hero

Updated on March 20, 2013

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 dog

Click thumbnail to view full-size
1. Waverly2. Waverly's Beach art3. Waverly the Artist4. Waverly's self-portrait. He has a flair for the theatrical.5. Waverly at the dog show looking at the judge6. Waverly as the judge at his very own virtual gallery7. Waverly checking for messages8. All tired out!9.. My Superdog
1. Waverly
1. Waverly
2. Waverly's Beach art
2. Waverly's Beach art
3. Waverly the Artist
3. Waverly the Artist
4. Waverly's self-portrait. He has a flair for the theatrical.
4. Waverly's self-portrait. He has a flair for the theatrical.
5. Waverly at the dog show looking at the judge
5. Waverly at the dog show looking at the judge
6. Waverly as the judge at his very own virtual gallery
6. Waverly as the judge at his very own virtual gallery
7. Waverly checking for messages
7. Waverly checking for messages
8. All tired out!
8. All tired out!
9.. My Superdog
9.. My Superdog

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

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.

Waverly's Revenge

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]

The Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way to Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs

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

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!

Comments About Waverly "My Dog is my Hero"

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    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Waves sounds wonderful!! You are so fortunate to have him as your hero!! Love this lens!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      You have a very special pup in Waverly. Thanks for sharing it with us. It makes us appreciate all our pets even more. As you can see, I love my English Setter. She and her sister actually saved me from a fire. I wonder if I have read about your father, since my pup used to go to field trials. She came from a breeder named O'Neale in Alabama as a gift to me. Her parents were champions also.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ah, Waves is definitely one special hero. Thanks for sharing this story with us. Dogs are just amazing. Blessed! :)

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      Yay for Waverly!! What a special pup!

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 6 years ago

      Thanks Merre! I appreciate all your support!

    • profile image

      Merre 6 years ago

      What a wonderful dog you have. Amazing story about saving the people whose house was burning!

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 6 years ago

      Thank you all for your feedback! â¡

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 6 years ago

      I certainly enjoyed reading Waverly's story and understand how he can be your hero.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wow, I read every word and now I know why Waverly is your Hero. He sounds wonderful. I imagine he is also a hero to the neighbors whose house was on fire. Very well written.

    • Mrmakingusmile LM profile image

      Mrmakingusmile LM 7 years ago

      Beautiful story. Hope you are having a delightful week!

    • AWildDog profile image

      AWildDog 7 years ago

      Awww great story. Waverly sounds an awesome dog!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      Love how you told the story of Waverly. The stamps are a lot of fun. :)

    • desilegend profile image

      desilegend 7 years ago

      Lovely story. Your lens is featured on my Dog Bravery lens.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Good story! What a champ you have to share life with.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      What a great story about Waves! I thing he peed on the guy to let him know "you're mine!" LOL...I never heard of Wheaten Terriers till a neighbor commissioned me to do a portrait of his dog, and then I started to notice this breed more often,,,they are beautiful.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Your intro picture is very nice! And the flying Waverly!:)

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 7 years ago

      Thanks Bragova and MoonMan! Happy birthday Vicky! That is a milestone! Hope you are celebrating in style! Beautifully memories of your sweet angel Chelsea.

    • profile image

      bragova01 7 years ago

      Hi Melanie! This is WONDERFUL! John and I were thinking about our Chelsea today, she was a mutt but a terrier sort of mutt. No sad thoughts, today is my 64th birthday!

    • profile image

      3dMooNMaN 7 years ago

      Faved and Rolled !!!!!!!! WOoOoOoOoO !!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      3dMooNMaN 7 years ago

      GO AQUA ! GO WAVES ! WAY TO GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome lens ! sooo much to read and to look at ! Love your stamps !!! You are a Star Dog Champion !!!!!!!! ***************