Merry Christmas!

     There was an unexpected Christmas present waiting for  the  employees  of   the  Muskegon   County  Vector

Control on December 25, 2004. Tied to a flagpole outside in the cold Michigan weather, was a strange looking dog with a small puppy running around her. When approached, this dog desperately tried to protect her puppy from the workers. They had to use "rabies poles" to contain her. Separated from her puppy, she became more aggressive and growled at everyone who came near her. She even tried to eat a male assistant at the vet's office. If it had not been for the PoundBuddies volunteers giving her small pieces of food to win her trust, she would have been immediately euthanized. They named this Rhodesian Ridgeback/Rottie mix "Merry Christmas".      
     In March 2005, one of our friends; a Julie Lemson of APB   familiar with my previous "success" with Glennie and Abby called Laurel and asked if I would be interested in a "Special Project" dog. I immediately agreed.      
     When I first met Merry on my next trip home from my OTR Trucking job, she was immediately apprehensive and growled at me when I called her name. I firmly took her leash, sat down on the front steps and gently pulled her to me while I was talking to her in a soothing tone. It took some time to get her close to me and when she was in arm's length, I put my arm around her and pulled her close. With the other hand, I pulled several small pieces of dog-cookie from my shirt pocket and offered them to her, one at a time.      
     Within a couple hours, Merry was far less apprehensive of me and even started coming to me when called. Merry has never been aggressive toward any of our other animals, she even "tolerates" the cats. I again chose Suzie, my adopted Bouiver Des Flandres as the "tutor" dog to help me with Merry.      
     After a few days, I  determined these things about her;

  1. Merry is a follower and does not try to be the ALPHA. She looks to her ALPHA for confidence.
  2. Merry is always looking to "please" her ALPHA. 
  3. Merry isn't aggressive in the sense that she is mean, her aggression is more 'fear' driven.

     I also determined that many times, the low rumbling she makes that sounds like a growl, is just her way of vocalizing. When I ignore her, sometimes the growl will "morph" into a whine and other times it will morph into sort of a howl. It is quite funny actually, to hear her "g-r-r-r-r-r-n-n-n-n-n-e" or "g-r-r-r-r-r-r-o-o-o-o-o" and see her stubby tail wag like crazy.  
     Some friends who were unfamilar with the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed, noted her growling at them and the "ridge" of fur down the middle of her back, have commented "Boy, your dog really doesn't like me, look at her hair stand up".  
     Since March 2005, Merry has made very good progress, although she may never gain enough confidence to be fully "normal". She will always need a calm, confident ALPHA.      
     In October 2005, I quit my OTR job to come down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to work. In January 2006, I purchased a small camper and pulled it down from Michigan. I brought Merry down here with me. She continues to make progress in gaining confidence to meet new people without feeling  the overwhelming fear  that causes aggression. When meeting "new" people, even though she is apprehensive, she looks to me for approval and when I praise her, she will often slowly approach new people to gain their attention.      
     April 3, 2006; Laurel received an email from Sara Miller, a writer doing a story about Rescue and Transport for '
Rally To Rescue'; a Nestle Purina PetCare publication. In her corespondence, Laurel gave Sara my cell-phone number and suggested she call me as well.      
     Sara called and interviewed me sometime in early May. On May 24, we got the rough copy from the Editor; Barb Fawver. Barb called me soon after and wanted to arrainge the photo-shoot for the magazine. I told her that I was in the New Orleans area and she told me she had a photographer in Kenner and we agreed that the best place for the photos was at the TA Truckstop in Slidell. Barb also suggested I bring Merry along with me.      
     If you want to read the Article (if you haven't already) you can read it here.
     Merry may soon be available for adoption, but the person she chooses will have to pass MY muster. Merry is a very sweet girl that suffered unknown abuses in her previous life and deserves to have a loving and patient ALPHA.

     To apply for Merry, visit the Animal Placement Bureau website at
Click on the Available Dogs link at the left. At the top of that Available Dogs page is a link that reads "Click Here for an Online Application"  Be sure to note "Merry Christmas" as the dog you are interested in and "attention Laurel."



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