Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Tale of Two Dogs or A Tale of Two Owners

I've been thinking about two incidents that just happened and wonder if I will ever be able to understand. Somehow my suspicion is that if I can just even manage to find a tiny clink in the mud that holds the wall up, than maybe I'll actually understand a way to tear that wall down and stomp the individual stones into sand.

First Dog

This dog is a German Shepherd Dog(GSD) that is about 7 or so years of age. She has been raised on a farm. She has received no real training, either obedience, manners or farm skills. For the most part she is allowed to do pretty much as she pleases. Ask her owner to tell you about this dog and you will hear all about how wonderful she is. She runs, plays, chases, and has ever so much fun just playing with the other dogs. One of the other dogs lives with her and the rest come and go with their owners.

If you were to push her owner, you might learn that sometimes she gets a little over excited. When that happens she can be just a little rough with the other dogs. But she is a good dog since she doesn't run away from home, eats her meals, refrains from soiling in the house. There is just one small problem.

She is a dog killer. Of course, you will be told, it was all an accident. She was just over excited and being really playful. Too bad the little dog she killed didn't agree.

Second Dog

This dog is as Doberman. She will soon turn 4 years of age. She was raised in a rather unique dog day care and training environment. She has been in training learning new skills, polishing previously learned skills, finding new ways to apply the skills she has. Her obedience, manners and and work skills are at a good level for a dog of her age and breed. She has many responsibilities around the yard and in the house. She has even more responsibilities when she travels away from home with her owner. Not running away from home, eating her meals and refraining from soiling in the house are considered to be just ordinary, everyday things that aren't even worth commenting on or thinking about.

Some of the dogs that come to her yard are her friends. Some of the dogs that come to her yard are of little to no interest to her at all. A few of the dogs that come to her yard are dogs she can just barely tolerate. No matter what category these dogs fall in, she is mannerly and polite. This politeness is not something that came easily to her. It is a skill she must work hard to maintain and work she does.

This day, just three days before her fourth birthday she took another huge step forward in her areas of responsibility. This is what happened.

Two small crate pads had to be washed and dried and put back in the crates they came from. No big deal and certainly not something to make an issue over or tell a story about. Once out of the dryer and still not totally dry they were hung on the outside clothesline to finish drying. Still not a big deal until one of them slipped the cloths pin holding it and fell to the porch floor. Along came on of the dogs that falls in the tolerate category. He stole the pad and carried it off to a hidden spot in the yard.

When it was time to bring the pads in there was only one. So the Doberman was called and told to "find it". Giving a puzzled look she dutifully went down the steps and in a slow, methodically manner checked around the ground close to the porch. After all, normally when she is called to retrieve an object from that location, it was dropped and can be found right at the base of the porch. There was nothing.

Again, she was told to "find it". So she widened her search and checked the entire side yard. Nothing. Her quizzical look earn yet another "find it" with a wide sweep of an arm. So she moved her search further out into the yard. On her fifth pass she spotted a something. A something that didn't belong in the yard. It was hidden on the far side of the parked truck and had fallen or been pushed sort of under/behind the left front tire. Not sure that was what she was supposed to be finding she continued around the truck.

Again she heard "find it" and saw the wide sweep of the arm. So she turned around, went back to the something that didn't belong, picked up up and carried it to the back of the truck. As she looked up for further instructions she heard "YESSSSSSSS". Just the information needed and with no further prompting or help she brought the pad back, up the steps, into the house and straight to the crate where it belonged. Her pride in being able to successfully complete the job had her smiling, doing a little hop/skip victory dance and just generally getting some pretty intense pleasure from the challenge and the victory.

Now comes my puzzlement. Why do so many dog owners seem to feel that the first dog is happy and joyful and the second dog is sad and cheated out of critical praise?

Yes, before you ask, the second dog is Sanity and I am sort of glowing over her latest display of understanding, her acceptance of responsibility AND the obvious pride she takes in doing each job she is assigned.

Yes, I also know who the first dog is and no I won't name her since she doesn't belong to me. What I will say is that she is not a happy, relaxed, confident dog. She is not a dog that is secure with her place in life, she is not trained, much less well trained. She is rude and she is very dangerous. How is it that even after killing another dog, her owner continues to remain clueless?

Meanwhile, Sanity really ROCKS!

Friday, April 10, 2009


My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture. " ~~ HSUS Grass Roots Coordinator, HSUS lead Dog-Fighting supposed expert, and lastly, felon arsonist-terrorist, J P Goodwin.

“We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding ...One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”~~ Wayne Pacelle, HSUS.

Let's add these two quotes to each and every letter, fax and email sent to legislators. And ask, WHY ARE THESE TERRORISTS allowed to walk the halls of our government? Why are they given appointments with legislators and many times we are not? Why do politicians line up for promised donations from animal enterprise terrorists?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Remembering Wrap

Wrap in a relaxed moment at Oliver's Tavern. I'm hoping that those who knew Wrap will share some of their stories about her. Or share a story I sent them long ago about something special, silly, wise, clever, gentle or even naughty.

This is a story I wrote to explain the coming of The Alien. I had forgotten all about it until Steve Kuhn was kind enough to share it with me.

Stories of her will live on.
Steve Kuhn
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 1360

-----Original Message-----
Wrap started out life as a pretty normal Doberman pup. Then one night there was a blinding flash of light in the southern sky and a blast of sound like the falling of a thousand 300 year old trees. No one could figure out what had happened and it wasn't until a couple of days had passed that anyone noticed anything different.

The difference? The difference was that a normal Doberman pup was now acting very strangely. She seemed able to levitate and stay in the air for much longer than would be considered normal. She seemed to be able to cause small items to just lift from the ground and end up in her mouth even when she herself was airborne. There were many other small things that were now different. Her breeder was in a total state of despair of ever being able to do anything with her. For one thing, she seemed to have forgotten her name. Things just seemed to fall over and break as she flew passed, she was never where you would have expected her to be and where ever she was, she didn't stay for long. What to do, what to do?

A far away trainer, a trainer living in the cold north was looking for a new dog and the breeder decided to take a chance. This pup who now didn't seem to know her name any longer was sent away. Away to the cold, cold north to stay. If they would have her.

In the north, it was snowing and the wind was blowing and the trainer said, "I know you. Your name is Wrap and you are that Alien I was warned about. When did you land? Why did you pick a Doberman pup's body to hide in?"

Wrap, The Alien, just flicked her ears, crossed her eyes and grinned. It's going to be a fun filled few years. Get ready, humans.

And so it was. A glorious, exciting ride full of small and large pleasures, just enough bumps to keep things interesting and sadly over way too soon. mw

Molly and I first met Wrap in October of 2001 when we came to Margot for training. Molly spent lots of time in Wrap’s company both in training and in day care, and they grew older together. Molly modeled much of her behavior after Wrap, and to this day, nearly eight years later, I still see some of Wrap’s behavior in Molly. Wrap taught Molly how to do the squirrel dance, and they spent many hours dancing together under the trees, until they both started to get too many aches and pains to dance as much. Then, they retired together to Margot’s office to watch the youngsters play outside. Margot, remember when the two old hunters went from squirrels to turtles, and you took the picture of them with the turtle Sydney put in the baby pool?

Wrap taught Molly how to run between two dogs that were beginning to face off in order to break them up. Today, Molly still uses that skill quite effectively to break up our cats when they begin hissing at each other.
Wrap also taught Molly how to be a very good nurse when I’m feeling ill, just like Wrap cared for Margot when she was having a bad day. That’s probably the most special thing that Wrap passed on to Molly.

And, Wrap taught Molly how to be a good demo dog and help younger, less experienced dogs learn. So, when Lightning joined our family, and Molly had her own protégé, she was able to help Lightning learn the ropes, just like Wrap had helped her.
Thanks, Wrap, for being a very special dog. I’m so glad we got to see you one last time just a month ago, and I got to give you one last massage. Rest in peace.

Diane, Molly and Lightning

I remember and was even able to find the picture. mw


I met Wrap during your Mundelein Seminar with Mary and Pam. During "half time" you had evidently turned your back as Wrap had to have crossed the training room floor. I turned around at the touch of a dog's nose on my hand with a quick lick.. I turned just in time to see Wrap heading away from me and back to you. It left such an impression because to this day I never knew if Wrap was scolding me for not having a dog present or feeling sorry for me. She was such a magnificant dog Margot and I just loved her dedication to her purpose on this earth.

Glenda Williams

You got to experience one of the reasons why she was called The Alien. She seemed to be able to appear and disappear pretty much at will. Most of the time she used that ability to make someone feel better. mw

Margot: As I type this email my eyes are filled with tears. Wrap was an extraordinary dog with integrity and kindness that far exceeds some humans. Caesar learned a lot from Wrap. Wrap was a role model that affected so many dogs, and thus families. Wrap trained and taught Caesar how to behave and how to be a leader. Whenever Caesar encounters pups or small dogs, you can see Wrap's insight come out of him because he tries to show them what to do.

Wrap was just so precious and loved to be 'loved.' Even now, Caesar will use Wrap's tactic of nudging your hand onto his head to get 'love.'

My prayers are with you and all the lives that Wrap touched. Wrap will never be forgotten!

With Love,

Tammy, Patrick, and Caesar Copernicus


I am so sorry to hear about the Wrap. Every time I saw your sign about whether one could make it to the fence before Jaws clenched on the thief’s posterior, I thought of Wrap. Besides you, Wrap was one of the few earthly creatures that could make Trevor behave.


Dave, Nate and I are so grateful to Wrap for training our beloved Jing to be such an inspiring dog that the first family had to follow suit and get their own well trained porty-Jing dog clone.

What a great creature she was.....sigh

Nance Pettit

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wrap, The Alien RIP

A taste of the sweet, young spring grass

November 28, 1997 – April 8, 2009

Redenau Pizazz, CDX

Better known as Wrap, The Alien,
she was my Service Dog extraordinary, teacher, trainer, helper, jokester, guardian,
and she has left the building.
Rest in Peace good friend. You leave a huge tear in my heart.

Many have ask about Wrap’s final day and some have expressed the hope that she wasn’t in pain. No, I don’t think she was in much pain. I was giving her just enough Rimydal to keep her comfortable and not enough to make it impossible for her to do a few of her favorite things.

Yesterday she managed to play with her young Maltese friend Rugby. She was up and able to eat her dinner just like always, but was grateful that Sanity picked up her dirty pan and took it to the kitchen so she wouldn’t have to deal with the kitchen floor. She went outside a couple of times and enjoyed the yard.

This morning she was weaker and it took a bit more effort for her to get up and head for the office door. All the wild/rough young dogs had to spend the morning in kennel runs to allow her to safely move about HER yard one last time.

She greeted most of the morning’s day care owners at the gate, just like old times. She found a squirrel to yell at even managed a tiny half circle spin/dance. She ever so carefully checked out almost every single square inch of the yard. She had to give the top of the mulch pile a pass since it was just a bit too steep and the ground to unsteady for her to keep her balance.

She drank a lap or two from each of the water buckets, yelled at Sanity, moved between Sammy and Ferris to head off an argument, and then,searched but didn’t find the rabbit trespasser. She even retrieved a dumbbell and picked up a single piece of trash. By that time she was getting pretty tired and so made her way ever so slowly back up the ramp and in the house.

There was a fresh, clean padded area for her favorite spot in a patch of sunlight in the living room. True, it did take her two tries and some help from me to make it to her “pad”, but make it on her own she did. With only a little extra help she was able to lie down and an additional Rimydal helped her to be about as comfortable as possible so she could drift off to sleep.

Later, Dr. Morris arrived. Sydney, Leanne, Dr. Morris and I all sat around on the floor beside her. We stroked her as we remembered something special she had done and while we were remembering the needle slipped in a vein and she drifted off as smoothly and peacefully as if she was just going to rest for a moment or two.