It was around 45 years ago. I am now 90 years old and have had dogs almost all of my llfe. Most of them were GSDs. A few mixes, some purebreds purchased from breeders, many, many, many rescues.

I was not looking for a dog when I found Bouncer. I was a journalist and each week I visited the local pound to photograph an adoptable pet and to write hopefully helpful words for the others.
There were numerous pens crowded with canines, but Bouncer was in solitary confinement.
In my eyes he was magnificent. An old fashioned GSD, obviously from German working dog lines. Oversized. Straight back.

" What a great dog!" I exclaimed as I started towards him with my camera ready.
" No", said the attendant. " He's not a great dog. He's very aggressive. He fights any and all dogs. He is oblivious to humans. Untrainable. He'll be put down. Who would want him?"
" I do!" I replied.
They agreed to hold him for a few days. Each afternoon I visited and talked to Bouncer through the cage door. On the third day he approached and acknowledged me.
I went to my car to obtain a leash and returned to the shelter, leaving the car door open.
" I think we're ready," I told the attendant.
I led Bouncer out into the yard and when we approached my car I asked him:" Do you want to go home with me?"
He tugged on the leash. I dropped the leash. He leaped into the car.

I already had two dogs and several cats. Bouncer went into his own private pen temporarily but in a few days was sharing the entire large fenced yard with a spayed female adult GSD and a younger male with no problem.
I was into Schutzhund at that time, so asked one of the instructors to evaluate Bouncer, advising him of the unknown past and aggressive behavior in the pound.
Bouncer was pronounced okay for basic obedience class, so we proceeded to enroll. His dog aggressiveness flourished, but I could control him. The instructor advised a prong collar and I followed that advice.

" Let me take him."

She took the leash and proceeded to jerk him from side to side while yelling at him. After three or four hard jerks, Bouncer lunged at her and bit her, tearing a gash in the arm that held the leash.

I immediately retrieved my dog while others attended to the wound. With Bouncer in the back seat of my car and the wounded instructor just ahead of him in the front seat I drove her to a doctor.
There were no repercussiions, no lawsuits, no hard feelings. She took the blame. Euthenasia was never mentioned.
Bouncer lived the remainder of his lengthy life in my back yard behind seven foot chain link fencing. He came in the house with me when I was home.
During his life with me he killed a hapless cat who somehow foolishly scaled that fence and entered his yard.
Bouncer loved me and I loved him. I remember him so well after all these years .
And yes, I now have a dog. An oversize, straight backed Rescue GSD whose life expectancy is similar to mine.
Jan
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in thread (Email Removed) whittled the following words:
" Let me take him." She took the leash and proceeded to jerk him from side to side while yelling ... yes, I now have a dog. An oversize, straight backed Rescue GSD whose life expectancy is similar to mine. Jan

What a wonderfully written story of love,compassion, acceptance of imperfections, and limitations, yet embracing the wonderful qualities of an imperfect pet. I can see why you are a journalist, and I'm sure you are a success. Considering a Dog's life is proportionally short compared to humans, I hope both you and your current dog well out-live expectations.
" Let me take him." She took the leash and proceeded to jerk him from side to side while yelling ... yes, I now have a dog. An oversize, straight backed Rescue GSD whose life expectancy is similar to mine. Jan==

I love that story, and wonderfully written.
Jan
What a beautiful story and naturally well written since that was one of your passions (writing). The other gift you have was to see past the dog in a cage scheduled for death and made him your own..and made it work for both of you.
Good luck to you and your present friend.
Be Free,
Judy
I love that story, and wonderfully written.

as fiction? Many things don't add up about 45 years ago. "I was INTO Schutzhund". How many 90 year olds phrase things that way? And prong collars being the norm? It's all pretty fishy IMO, but a lot of us have had difficult dogs. Doesn't mean most people would or should go looking for them.

Janet Boss
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
as fiction? Many things don't add up about 45 years ago. "I was INTO Schutzhund". How many 90 year olds phrase things that way?

My 72-year-old mother uses '60s slang all the time. "Into" is the least of it.
But anyway, after reading the post my response was "Yes, and ... ?" The poster may have had a Muttley but the poster wasn't a Paul, and I'm not sure why this was framed as a "Muttley" except specifically to draw comparisons. I think that's not fair. I mean, c'mon - comparing a novice dog owner with competing demands on his time and efforts with someone who's chosen to dedicate him/herself to a demanding dog sport and a high level of dog training?

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

The Free Enterprise Action Fund, a GOP mutual fund, is underperforming the S&P 500 by about 40%.
I mean, c'mon - comparing a novice dog owner with competing demands on his time and efforts with someone who's chosen to dedicate him/herself to a demanding dog sport and a high level of dog training?

agreed. Even if "Jan" is for real (but for the record, there's a long
18 years between 72 and 90 yo, so I still think something'sfishy..), the point of making a comparison is very off the mark and very unfair.

Janet Boss
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
I love that story, and wonderfully written.

Ditto.
as fiction? Many things don't add up about 45 years ago. "I was INTO Schutzhund". How many 90 year olds phrase things that way?

That, by itself, isn't a reason for disbelief. Despite my best intentions, I, at 58, occasionally hear myself saying "exact same" and "I am SO not ." Neither phrasing was in vogue in my youth, but being "into" something was common usage in the late 1960s. Let's see, that was nearly 40 years ago, when the poster was just over fifty. Yeah, "into" is a possibility.

Exact same. So.
FurPaw (still successfully resisting nucular, relator and ax)
"None of us is as smart as all of us."
Oh yeah? None of us is as stupid as all of us, either.

To reply, unleash the dog.
Bouncer lived the remainder of his lengthy life in my back yard behind seven foot chain link fencing. He came ... During his life with me he killed a hapless cat who somehow foolishly scaled that fence and entered his yard.

This is one of Paul's great concerns. He doesn't want his beloved cat to become a target.
Bouncer loved me and I loved him. I remember him so well after all these years .

I'm glad you were able to make things work out with Bouncer.
I also had a Muttley. I've posted before about my Diva. She had never bitten a person, but she had shown aggression toward some of them. She had attacked dogs. I took her to expensive private training and also worked with her extensively at home. I was not working away from home at the time, so I had lots of time and energy to put into her training and management. I had lots of help from the trainers who had worked with her and a good friend who had been the only male she didn't react to even when she was at her worst.

She was able to go out and about as long as she was under control. She even learned to get along with and play with the other dogs in our household, though I didn't leave them alone together when I was not at home because I never was completely sure something wouldn't set her off or that setting her off wouldn't mean an attack instead of just some snarking. I loved her to death. She was a heart dog, not just a rescue dog. But I could never have given her a good life if I had been in Paul's situation.

She would have been miserable out in the backyard all day. Her short dalmatian coat wasn't as protective as a GSD coat for being outside and her personality wasn't suited to backyard living, either, even if she could come in when I was home. It all depends on the dog and the owner's situation. If things had been different in my situation at the time, I would have had to put Diva down. If I hadn't had the resources for the private training and the time to work with her and keep an eye on her and be with her so much that she really bonded to me and learned to relax and let me decide what needed to be attacked and what didn't, it would have been better to put her down than to hang on to her and keep her in a life she would have hated and that could have cost me the lives of other animals in my household or injury to my children.
If Paul has to work, has to keep his cat safe, doesn't have the money for private training from trainers who specialize in aggressive dogs, and isn't physically up to the size and strength Muttley has to stop him if he does get it into his head to attack some animal or someone, I am not going to fault him for not doing what I did. I know I was lucky to have the time and money and circumstances and a dog that responded. It wasn't that I was a better person, just a person in a better situation when that dog came along and who was landed with a dog that was easier to control and harder to set off in the meantime.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
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