Man #16, The Dog Whisperer

27 05 2011

I may be biased, but when I find myself sitting across the table from someone who rescues big, slobbery mutts that no one else wants, I feel I’m in the presence of someone with some character and a big heart. 

One of the first things Man #16 did when he responded to my Craigslist ad was send me a picture of himself with three big Saint Bernards.  I felt immediately comfortable, knowing that he would be covered in more dog hair than I am. 

In talking with him, it turned out that he’s provided a foster home for several large breed and bully breed dogs over the years.  Like me, he’s accustomed to people crossing the street when they see him coming with his dogs, but also like me, he knows better than to judge a dog by its breed or its size. 

You’ll just have to excuse me while I climb on my soap box for a moment about the ignorance surrounding big dogs, like German shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, and bully breeds such as Bull Mastiffs, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Boxers.  These are the dogs that make for sensational headlines, because, yes, they are powerful and when they have irresponsible owners horrible things can happen.  However, small dogs account for more dog bites every year than big dogs, and I can honestly say that my pit bull, Thor, is the smartest, most loyal dog I have ever had (and I’ve had dogs my whole life, everything from toy poodles to Australian shepherds.)  The difference between a good dog and a bad dog has less to do with its breed than it does with the responsibility of its owner.  I’ll just say that when I met Man #16 it was nice to find myself in the presence of someone who understands this.

Since Thor came into my life, I’ve met a lot of dog rescuers and its rare to find bad or mean people among them.  The desire to rescue and meanness just aren’t characteristics that tend to go hand in hand.  The Dog Whisperer was a really nice guy.  We met at Bahama Breeze in Tukwila for dinner and talked at length about dogs, dog training,  and the reactions of people who don’t seem to understand them. 

He told me a story about an encounter he and his dogs had at a dog park.  He said his male Saint Bernard is very calm and will take a lot of stimuli without reacting, but his female is more apt to get impatient when younger, smaller dogs are aggravating her.  She’s more prone to “correct” a dog she feels is out of line in its actions.  For anyone not familiar with dogs, a correction is the equivalent of a mother letting her children know that their actions are socially unacceptable.  For dogs, it often takes the form of a quick growl or snap, and can often be mistaken for aggression by people who don’t know any better or haven’t seen the difference in action.

Anyway, there was a Chihuahua who had a Napoleon complex at the dog park.  Man #16 said he had warned the owner that his female Saint Bernard would not take any abuse and tried to move away from the smaller dog.  The Chihuahua kept coming, even after a correction from his St. B, and the next thing he knew his dog had picked up the Chihuahua, which disappeared under the jowls of the big dog, and tilted her head as if to start the head shake.  (The head shake would most certainly result in a veterinary bill.)

He said, “Drop it!”

He said his female Saint Bernard looked at him with big brown eyes that said, “Oh, come on.  Let me do this just this one time. Please,” and spit the aggravating little tyrant out on the ground.  He said the rest of the day, his dog kept looking at him as if to say, “You should have let me teach that little shit a lesson.”

He said the owner of the Chihuahua, of course, accused him of bringing dangerous dogs to the dog park.  This is typical of owners of untrained, unsocialized dogs that start shit at the dog park.  They don’t train their dogs. They rarely walk them. They don’t socialize them to people and other dogs, and then, for some reason, they think that they should take their dogs out to the dog park.  It boggles the mind.  The ignorance astounds me.

This is also why few pit bull owners will take their dogs to dog parks.  No matter who starts an altercation, in today’s society, the pit bull will always be the one that’s blamed.  I take Thor to the dog park on a limited basis, because he loves it and I feel that it’s a key component in keeping him well-socialized with other dogs.  I tend to limit our visits, however, and I always make sure we’re out of there before 10 a.m. when the riff raff seems to start arriving.

Going back to the Chihuahua story, I will just say that one of Thor’s dog park buddies is a little Schipperke named Aussie.  When two dogs are mentally well-adjusted, a Chihuahua and a Great Dane can successfully play with on another.  In this case at least, size does not matter, but socialization and temperament do.

During our dinner conversation, it was also nice to meet someone else who had trained his dogs to receive their Canine Good Citizen certificates.  Thor has his, and its one of those things that as soon as you hear that a dog has successfully passed the exam, it brings comfort to know that you’re dealing with a responsible owner with well-trained dogs.

But enough about our four-legged companions.  The other thing that I liked about The Dog Whisperer was that he really likes the great outdoors.  I’m much more of a dayhiker, but I could tell that being in the outdoors is something that Man #16 was really passionate about.  There is the possibility of a hike with him and his dogs and me and Thor in the future. (When I get a chance to have a life again outside of school.)  This photo is one that he sent me from on of his climbs.

The photo above is not one of Thor.  He is secure enough in his masculinity to wear pink, but I don’t do that to him.  The above photo was found here.

It’s good to find time to write again.

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8 responses

27 05 2011
WOW

Now, that was most refreshing!

27 05 2011
mydatingprescription

What was refreshing, that I had a good date or that I actually wrote something again?

27 05 2011
LB

Okay, so as a BMD owner you know I’m gonna reply and say “right on!” … big dogs are best and are so discriminated against! BMD’s even look like walking stuffed animals and people still freak. Or they’re SO SURPRISED to find out that he’s a nice dog.

On topic now, a great lady once told me that the way to find a good guy was to go out with only the ones that are sweet on dogs and babies. Wish I would’ve followed that advice a lot sooner… it’s so true.

27 05 2011
mydatingprescription

Duly noted. My new dating mantra: “Only date dog lovers.” This is why I actually have a picture of Thor on my match.com and plentyoffish dating profiles. Thor is not only a good cock block; he’s a good dating filter.

27 05 2011
Krysteena

Super cool. Where was he at? What climb?

27 05 2011
mydatingprescription

That was on Mount Rainier.

27 05 2011
WOW

Refreshing to know that you had a good date!

How a man treats his dog/dogs/animals tells its own story.

Another way to tell the way a man’s character runs is to see how they respond to a flat tire and/or car trouble. I’m not suggesting you have car trouble… just saying. Anything that is out of the norm….. and watching their eyes.

Oh… it was also good to see your writing again. hugs,

27 05 2011
WOW

that should read: you’RE writing again.

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