I've been dreading this day. There's this thing going around on Facebook reminiscent of the ALS icebucket challenge. The premise is that one of your so-called "friends" nominates you to post a picture of a dog each day for five days. To keep the nonsense going, you are also supposed to nominate another person each day to do the same. My "friend's" posting was something like this: "I nominate Brent Jacques to the 5 day dog challenge because I think he'll hate the idea but I can't wait to see the 5 he picks."
She knows me very well and of course I did hate the idea, and besides, I already post a lot of pictures of dogs. But, instead of completely ignoring it as she expected, I decided to do it my own way. First, I'm doing it all in one day, not dragging this out forever; I'm doing it in this blog post instead of directly on Facebook, although I will share it; and finally, I'm not going to annoy any of my friends with it.
Also, I thought I'd post five dog pictures that say something about me as well as the dog.
This is Trooper, and I'm including this picture because I think it's probably the best dog picture I've ever taken.
Trooper was a foster but Trooper has a bad case of fear aggression. He learned that his big bark will scare off things that scare him (strangers) so he uses it. He may or may not back up his bark with action, he's just unpredictable. He tried the big bark with me when we met, but I took his leash and walked him a bit and then he rode home with his head on my shoulder. He has formed a relationship with the one person we board him with, and he even came to accept my mother, but I never was comfortable trying to adopt him out.
One of the hazards of fostering is that when you take in an unadoptable dog, your choices are pretty much limited to euthanizing the dog or keeping it yourself. That sounds callus, but it's reality, and it's the reason we have six or seven dogs of our own. It's also the reason I've cut back to fostering two or three dogs at a time and am more cautious and particular about those I take in. Yes, you could pour time, energy, and money into training, and for simpler problems that is certainly the thing to do. For aggression issues, I'm not so sure. Trooper stayed with us and it was a good decision because as bad as he is with people, he's one of the best dog diplomats I've ever met.
I didn't take this picture, but the rottie, Griff, is one of my former fosters. I love it. Rottweilers don't always get a fair shake but they can be the most wonderful dogs. Kind, gentle, and funny. Powerful and protective, yes, but they rarely go looking for trouble. I have former rottie fosters who have obtained certification for therapy work. They are well suited for it, because they crave human contact. They have strong personalities and are very expressive and attuned to their human so they make wonderful one-on-one companions. No one who owns a rottweiler can ever be lonely. This particular Rottweiler was adopted to an animal shelter director. He took on the role of socializing many of the dogs who came through there. Anyone who has one will tell you that they are worth more than their considerable weight in gold.
I love this picture of Sparky. I love the look of purebred rotties, shepherds, and lots of other breeds, but what I really love is the chance arrangement of random genetic material that makes a really great looking, and totally unique, mutt.
Sparky is actually my alter ego, in more ways than one. I guess what I like about Sparky really reveals some of the insecurities about myself. He's that big, strong, handsome guy, fearless and full of confidence - I am not.
We do have some things in common though. He doesn't particularly care what others think about him, he doesn't need their approval. He's happy with his own companionship most of the time but he's fine having one close friend (me) and a couple of acquaintances to go out and do things with occasionally (Max and Maya).
I may be cheating here because I'm counting these two pictures as one. The dog is Patch. The first picture shows him as he arrived, in terrible condition, fearful, hopeless. We've taken in numerous dogs in this condition, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Jasso is the most recent example, but in addition to Jasso and Patch there has been Summer, Gambit, and Bastian, just to name a few.
In the second picture he's still not fully recovered, physically. He would eventually grow a thick, luxurious, and beautiful German Shepherd coat, but the picture does capture perfectly the recovery of his spirit -- tail up, high-stepping, bounding through the pasture with the pure joy of being a dog. That transformation is the essence of rescue.
Maya was every bit as scared and frightened when she first came here as Harper is now. She's still shy and insecure in new situations although she's the epitome of confidence in her own world. She's not so much "my dog" as I am "her person." Who owns who is debatable; it's 50/50 at best.