Grizzly grizzlynadac

Tim and I were at Calera (at the time, NADAC Headquarters) for a weekend of agility. Our oldest dog, Cooper, was having a BLAST! After a bit of critiquing of my handling skills, I offered Tim the opportunity to run Cooper on a tunnelers course. Tim agreed, convinced that Cooper would run like an angel with him. :) You see, this was somewhat of a suspicion that I had in my relationship with Tim – I always thought that he wanted to ‘take over’ Cooper’s handling – and I always had a problem with that because 1) Cooper is MY dog, and 2) I spent the last 5 years to get to where we are (which isn’t all that far in the land of Qs and titles), and 3) did I mention he is MY boy? Anyway, Cooper never had a bigger smile on his face as he entered the ring with the novice of all novice handlers. The course was a sequence of 12 tunnels. I think Cooper did about 34. Tim had another chance later that day, and a similar scene played out.

It just so happened that during the middle of all this, the mail lady to the Calera facility had brought in a dog for Becky to hopefully help place. He was a big border collie who I almost immediately fell in love with. Becky told her that she would evaluate him, but that they were really maxed out and she would unlikely be able to keep him with her for long. We spent some time visiting with this dog. He had the sweetest personality, with these “I’ll do anything for love” eyes (cue the Meatloaf song, minus the ‘I won’t do that’ part). As the story goes, the mail lady was going to take him back and tie him up until they could find another home for him. Becky was having no part of that. While all of that was going on, I was working on Tim to somehow get this dog into our household. A couple of days passed. I explained to Tim that he needed to get his own agility dog. He said he’d think about it.

I got a text later that day saying “I think we should figure out a way to go get that dog.”

It was one of my favorite text messages ever.

I called Ed and asked if he could fill the role of rescue facilitator once more. I also contacted Becky and Marj and let them know we were going to bring ‘Tuf’ (that was his name at the time) home. They immediately began creating an action plan, but made it very clear that if it wasn’t a good fit, to just let them know and they would take him back – no questions asked.

Ed was kind enough to take our new addition to the vet for us, keep him for a couple of days, and then bring him to yet another WAG trial.

And so we had our Grizzly Bear, named for his gigantic paws (when I first saw him, I thought he may have some Great Pyrenese in him)! He is the most snuggly dog, so anxious to please and be loved. He has turned out to be an incredible agility partner for Tim. He is so smart, fast, and sweet. He catches on to the game of agility like no other dog I’ve seen. Yet, he sometimes runs into the trash can and walls because he’s so busy watching us at home. :) He will never deny a cuddle, and his signature move is to hold onto your arm with his paws as you pet him.

It’s hard to believe that he came to us a very scared boy, who would pee at any loud noise, or the site of a brush (or really anything you held in your hand), or sometimes even with sudden movements. The big victories for us were the smallest of things – being able to brush him without being peed on :) , the day he stopped panting in his crate, the first day he would play with us – all signs that he was beginning to trust us. Grizzly taught us how to correct behaviors in strictly positive ways – because thats the only way he learns. He has an appreciation for love that just amazes me everyday; and an equal desire to shower everyone else with it as well.

And the best part is that he has rounded out our family. We have a perfect balance. Casey and Grizzly are best friends, constantly playing, and Cooper is happy that he’s no longer bothered by his younger siblings since they entertain themselves. I cannot imagine our lives without our Grizzly Bear dog!

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