It has been five years since I took leave from work and drove to Shelbyville, Tennessee. I walked into the animal control office and said I wanted to adopt a Labrador/Great Pyrenees dog they had listed on the Petfinder website.
The dog was large and appeared to be a bit wild. However, he had a goofy grin and a wonderful personality. It was that goofy grin that sold me. I loaded the dog into my SUV and drove home.
Once we arrived home, I sat and watched as the dog explored his new house. He was jumping so much that I decided to name him Joey (like a baby kangaroo).
That first year with Joey was a nightmare. He annulated my couch and loveseat, ripped up the carpet in the living room, pulled the currents off the wall, bite the current rod in two, destroyed pillows, shoes, various items of clothing, bedspreads, a printer, calculator, phones, and a host of other items. Joey literally caused thousands of dollars in damages during that first year.
I quickly realized I had bitten off more than I can chew with this dog, so I signed him up for some dog training classes. Joey attended a few sessions, but we were expelled. A few months later we were expelled from another training center.
The receptionist at my vet’s office recommended, Steve Russell, a local dog trainer. I called his office and asked if he would be willing to train a juvenile delinquent dog. Steve laughed and agreed to admit Joey at his training school.
Joey and I attended classes twice a week for the next few years. We went to private training classes and group training classes. Joey took the beginner class three times, before we were finally ready to move up into the intermediate class.
During this time several people recommended I find a new home for Joey. They truly believed he was to wild and not redeemable. I honestly considered that option, but decided not to give up on my dog. After all, he did have a great personality and a goofy grin.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Joey started to excel in his training classes. He even completed an advanced level class and received his Canine Good Citizen Certification from the American Kennel Club.
Joey’s transformation from buck wild dog to canine good citizen was so dramatic that a newspaper article was written about him in the Shelbyville Times.
I am so glad I refused to give up on Joey. He is an awesome dog.
You really are an amazing dog.