Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Story of Marcus

Pretty much ever since we got Kyra, we've said that as soon as we had our own house we would get a second dog.  Almost two years later, after markets crashing and contracts falling through and 6 months of renovations, we finally have our house.  Perfect for dogs, the house is on almost an acre and we have fenced in most of it with a 6 foot wood privacy fence (hooray for the first-time homebuyer tax credit!).  I had been scouting shelter and rescue sites for weeks in anticipation of being ready for our new addition.  I'd fallen in love with dogs who were adopted before I could go visit them in person (very happy for them!).  I know exactly what I want - a pittie or bully breed mix between 1-2 years old (I'll go into why that was my first choice in a later post).  I know exactly what I DON'T want - another German Shepherd.  Although I love Kyra to death and wouldn't trade her for the world, I did not want another neurotic, fearful, anxious dog.  I wanted a stable, happy-go-lucky, solid dog who could be a rock for Kyra and not add to her stress level.  From talking to other dog trainers and GSD owners over the last 2 years, I've found that there are many that have similar temperaments to Kyra, and I did not want that.

Well, my carefully laid plans were disrupted when I got an email from a relative whose neighbor needed to find a home for his 2 year old male GSD.  Did I want him?  Please help!  Knowing that this dog had been stuck in the back yard most of his life, and that the family was going through a very rough time, I was very skeptical that this dog (Max, at the time) would be a good fit for us.  However, he passed all my preliminary questions (is he good with kids?  Does he like people and other dogs?  Is he scared of anything?) so we went to meet him.

Fully prepared to say thanks but no thanks, we were totally blown away by Max.  I couldn't find anything wrong with him (and I tried!  Pinched his ears, picked up his feet ... all the things Kyra hates).  We decided to take him home to see how he got along with Kyra, and if they were good together we'd keep him.  Well, they were unsure at first, but after a few minutes they were inseparable and have been ever since.

Marcus, as he's now known, is kind of a miracle dog.  Who knew a dog, especially a GSD, could come from such neglect with such a stable temperament?  He isn't scared of anything, he loves people, he doesn't bark at other dogs, he plays well with Kyra, he rarely jumps, he doesn't steal food, he doesn't chew things he's not supposed to, and he's cool with just chilling while we watch TV.  He's not perfect, of course.  He doesn't know any of the behaviors we take for granted with Kyra (leave it, off, etc.), he has NO leash manners and pulls like a beast, and he gets way over excited when he's out of the house (which is understandable, since he's probably never been to Petsmart, training class, or a hike before, which are all things we've done the past few weeks with him.  It's like ).  But these are all easily trainable, especially with a good stable temperament to work with.

I am looking forward to getting to know Marcus better, teaching him how to be a good K9 citizen, and getting him out of the house and into the world as much as possible.  He's got some catching up to do!

World, meet Marcus:

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