Say hello to the world’s newest (& cutest) therapy dog, Grizzly, a terrier mix rescue. Born February 1st, I brought him home at 3.5 months old, and he is already showing signs of being a great candidate for therapy training!
“I am born knowing two things- loyalty and love. You must teach me everything else. ”
Since I’ve brought him home, I’ve made huge changes in my life for the better. I’m exercising more, I’m active, I’m alert, my ptsd symptoms have all but disappeared, and I’m more mindful of every moment…plus, he helps me stay sober.
In two weeks time, he’s already learned to sit, to come when called and the word “N.O.” We are working on potty training, stay, loose leash walking and lay down. “NO BITES” is slowly sinking in…so we have quite a bit of work to do concerning his mouthing and using human hands as his tools! I don’t tolerate biting at any age.
He has his 6-week puppy training course coming up in a week or so and I couldn’t be more excited nor could I be more aphrensive. I’m excited about his amazing potential, yet very nervous about socializing him with other pups due to trauma I faced getting in the middle of a dog fight with my former dog, Pock. Our lives were never the same since that day and eventually I had to give him up due to severe dog aggression after the attack. Sometimes I truly wonder if this event triggered the ferocity in my manic depression.
It isn’t to say I didn’t try. I spent thousands on rehabilitation training for Pock and worked diligently every day to help an old dog learn new tricks. Unfortunately, the calm was overcome by fear and there was no going back. He will always be in my heart and dreams.
I have warned my trainer for Grizzly that I have an almost absurd fear of other dogs being around Grizzly, even if they’re leashed, under control and yards away. So much so, I shake from head to toe as I scoop him into my arms for protection, apologizing to said dog’s owner, “Sorry! New puppy!”
Although, I’m well aware that my irrational fears could end up being his downfall, I just don’t want to see another attack like I witnessed and the thoughts of being subject to a life cooped up in an apartment plague me.
Awareness is key and the first step to rehabilitating momma for Grizzly’s sake. If I can release some tension on the first training day, I will feel world’s better and much more confident in our ability to work through obstacles. I envision the moment I see Grizzly play with another pup and it brings tears to my eyes. I want nothing more than to have a happy, healthy dog.
And there’s so much room for growth and hope! Grizzly remains surprisingly calm, cool and collected when he sees or hears other pups. Curious, of course! But not an 85lb muscle mass barreling aggressively towards every suspected enemy! I’m used to a massive personality and a strong dog that used to have me flipping over my own head. Grizzly is a 10lb ball of curiosity and sweetness, with dash of devil in him, but what pup doesn’t?
My long-term goals are to get him certified as a therapy dog so we can work on paying it forward for those in need, together! The moments that brought the most joy in my rehab stints were days when they’d bring in therapy animals. No talking, no judgement, no mind-numbing classes … just joy, calm and play for an hour at a time. It was the highlight of our stays!
Here’s to new adventures! Indoors and Out!
XOXO, Liz & Griz
P.S. – Griz is on Insta! If you want to see fun videos and pix of his adventures, follow the lil’ squirt here –