Ivy and Thunder

February 21, 2006 at 9:47 am (Uncategorized)

I’ve wanted to write about my dog, Ivy, a Chocolate Lab, for a long time. It’s a tragic story, putting a 3 year old dog down for cancer, but Ivy was much more than how she died and the difficult decision to free her instead of keeping her for my own selfish reasons.

Seeing the Other Sensei at the tournament reminded me of Ivy’s loyalty and take-no-shit attitude.

We were in search and rescue. Ivy and I worked very hard, to the point she stopped running away from me and responded both to voice and hand commands. We spent practically every free moment together. She was a riot and she loved to “search.”

Even though she was a Lab, Ivy was not an in-your-face, slobbering mess of love, unless she knew you. She had a healthy disdain for strangers, some more than others.

As we arrived at the staging area for a fake search, one of the main rules was that the dogs, even though they’ve searched together, been socialized, and knew the other dogs, was to keep them on a leash. All dogs were to be leashed until they were searching. Period. Until the Other Sensei arrived, and he opened the tailgate and brought out his white German Shepherds.

I love Shepherds. They’re beautiful animals and even though I’ve been bitten by one, whose name was Thunder, I still think they are an incredible breed. Other Sensei’s white Shepherd’s name wasn’t Thunder, but that’s what I’ll call him. Dogs have personalities just like people and I think in some instances dogs tend to take on the personality of their owners. As I remember this situation, and know my own personality and that of Other Sensei, I would have to say it can be very true.

Other Sensei did not leash his Shepherds. They had never been on a search before with our group so none of our dogs knew these two strangers. Thunder immediately set out to settle the pecking order by pissing on available foliage, then preceding to sniff down the line of dogs leashed and heeling. I got the same feeling from Thunder that I have from people I’ve met. Aggressive and arrogant.

The closer he got to us, the more concerned I became for Ivy’s safety. Ivy was a respectable 75 lbs. but Thunder had to go 120. The other dogs were restless and nervous as well. I tried to stay calm and quell the butterflies in my stomach, knowing Ivy would pick up my trepidation. As he came down the line, with each successive dog, Ivy leaned closer and closer to my legs, until finally she scooted over and sat on my feet, her head pressed against my kneecaps. We stood there as one, extensions of each other.

Thunder stopped in front of us and turned, coming around to sniff Ivy’s butt. I recognized her “worried look” but she turned and pressed her head against my knees again, until Thunder gave a low growl. I’m pretty sure he meant it as a “know thy place, bitch” kind of growl but Ivy was having none of that. I think as long as Thunder was sniffing her butt and being a jerk to her, that was all fine and dandy, but when he turned to me and growled, Ivy took exception to that.

In a split second, she turned her head, snapped the air half a dozen times, let out a high pitched yelp/growl that scared the shit out of me, and drew her muzzle back to show her teeth. Pussy Thunder wasn’t the big, badass he wanted everyone to believe he was. He tucked his tail like a little sissy and went off to greener pastures. On the other half of that split second, Ivy was back to licking my hand and being my loving, loyal girl.

I knelt beside of her, kissing her and rubbing her silky ears.

“Good girl, Ivy.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: