JD Allinder

Six Months

In Posts on July 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm

When I adopted Jane, Candy from Broken Road Rescue told me to wait at least two weeks before I even considered assessing my new living situation. Though I had spent the previous 13.5 years with a dog perpetually at my side, nothing really prepared me for life with Jane. She came with baggage and (pronounced) quirks, and I certainly had my own. Though she seemed content enough with her new home – she immediately claimed the sofa as her throne – she treated me with the regard of a foster parent. With no knowledge of her past, I had to connect the dots: she was thin, had probably been abused (she was afraid of hands), and had been bred (another form of abuse). At 18 months, she had probably not enjoyed many comforts or much consistency outside of her two weeks or so at the shelter. Despite this, I somehow expected her to seamlessly enter my world and be my new BFF.

The two weeks had come and gone when I realized that I was living with a wild thing – an untrained hunting dog with boundless energy and a grocery list of neuroses. I enrolled her in obedience classes at Northfield Dog Training, Ann Arbor’s best canine academy and began poring over dog lit. I had been through all of this years before with my first dog, the beloved Georgia, but that was a really long time ago. All of the memories of Georgia’s insane years were buried under the much fresher and sweeter ones of harmony. I have to admit that even though Jane was a wake-up call beyond my expectations, there was a certain energy in those early days that I thrived on. Like breaking a horse or raising a child, training a dog bonds you together. But the bond is very, very gradual – especially with a dog like Jane who’s got an uncertain past.

Out of all the reading I did during my honeymoon with Jane, the most valuable was Cesar’s Way by Cesar Millan. I had never seen Millan’s TV show, and I was skeptical because he has no formal training, but Cesar’s Way – his first and best book – was a tonic for my uncertainty and anxiety. He reminded me why I had made the choice to share my life with a dog, but more important, he reminded me that Jane was a dog. I think over time I began to think of Georgia as human. We were so connected (emotionally, spiritually, physically) that each of us was really an extension of the other. But Jane, as shocking as it was to me at the time, was just a dog. She had no connection to me, didn’t speak my language, and didn’t care. Rather than discouraging me, this revelation gave me determination and drive.

So, I began training Jane with vigor, and, after about six months, the lightbulb in her head went off. She got it. She bought into the program. She’s now my dog until Fate separates us. She’s still insane, but I think the difference is that we now love each other.

My Grrrl

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  1. Very nice story! Be the pack leader!

  2. How sweet! My cat, Tibby, was rescued by an organization in OKC called Pets and People. The adoption application was pretty intense, but I’m really glad they took the time to make sure she got a good, stable home. Many happy years with your new BFF, J.

    ~T

  3. She looks like a sweetheart. Congratulations on finding each other.

  4. Wow, Jane sure is a pretty girl! Sounds like she has a unique personality to go with those looks.

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