6.28.2010

Ranger Danger is My Dog!

He knew I was the one.
I am not sure what it was about me,
but he put on his best prance and
checked his crazy behavior at the door
and wooed me in an instant.
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When we moved from our townhouse to our house, the first thing on my agenda was to get a dog. My husband is not an animal kind of guy. I have always had dogs. Our dogs have always been mutts, so I could not imagine spending cold hard cash on some type of expensive breed. I headed down to the shelter. I looked around, but not too hard..I did not want to look the dogs in the eyes when I knew I could not take them all home.

I saw this one dog...cute little black thing with white "socks." It said he was Lab and Border Collie mix, and 1 year old...doable for sure! As the other dogs flipped out and barked, this dog just sat and looked at me with a head-cocked pleading, "I promise-to-do-what-you-say" look. We did a little get acquainted thing and I was in love. I did not take him home that night however. I had to go break the news to hubby that I had found "the dog."

"Whatever," he said. I went back on Monday and did the paper work. Two days later I picked him up (all neutered and everything!). Hubby came home to a crazy animal running around the backyard and and was not sure what to think...other than the usual..."I was crazy!"

Ranger had been abused, neglected, and was skittish beyond belief. We loved him and cared for him and tried to build trust. And he did come to trust us and a few select people. He was not a cuddly dog, but that was OK with me, I did not buy a lap dog.

For 3 years Ranger was the only child...and it was easy to walk and entertain him. He did have a little streak of "something" in him that was unpredictable, and everyone thought we would have to find him a new home when the baby came home...and we almost did. He began jumping over fences, growling at people and just being ornery. As a new mom, I could not take it, I had PPD and a new baby and was losing it. It continued on this way for 2 years, until he jumped the fence and was almost was hit by a car...and then picked up by the Dog Police. This situation was not safe for Ranger or for anyone else.

I finally told hubby he was going to have to find Ranger a home...I knew that probably meant the shelter again...and then, well, I do not want to think of what would have probably happened. Who was going to take a now-4-year-old dog with behavior problems? Much to my surprise my hardcore hubby said find a trainer and let's see if this is fixable. HUH?! YEAH!

I emailed a famous {11 years ago famous} trainer in the L.A. area. He called me right away and told me to go put the dog down. All I could do was cry...According to this man's commercials he was a sweet uncle who could handle any dog. In actuality he was the mean uncle who eats candy in front of you and asks you to throw away the wrapper.

I did find a trainer. She was awesome. We dedicated 6 weekends to her and to Ranger. She told us what we were doing wrong...what he needed...how we could make this all right. She beat the pants off that mean uncle and am pretty sure she could have taken on the "dude who whispers."

In a nutshell, we had to provide him a safe place to call his own - a crate, reassure him that he was not responsible for protecting the entire family, rebuild trust with visitors, consistently praise him, teach him, and play with and love him.

Ranger apparently got the picture...shape up or be shipped out. Be loves his crate, he loves his kids. I am, as I think all dog owners should be, still cautious with him...I make sure in uncomfortable situations he is crated and safe. I make sure to introduce him to visitors the right way. I teach the kids to respect Ranger and his space, and they do.

Eleven years later Ranger is still with us. I know somewhere deep down hubby likes him, mainly because hubby is cheap and allowed me to pay some serious cash for a private trainer to come to our house for 6 weeks! He has become an inside dog - he despises the tall trees, birds, nature in general...I find this hilarious because the jets at LAX {where we used to live} did not bother him at all...but watch out for woodpeckers and squirrels!

I love the underdog...I always root for him. I find great joy in watching someone pick themselves up and make a new start, begin a new life, or join the game again. Ranger is an underdog. No one expected us to keep him...no one expected he would become a loving trusting dog {he does like to give a few men grief}...no one...but me...and hubby!
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I am joining Kimberly at Terra del Sol for Mia Mondays
This weeks theme...
Things You Have Done For Your Pets

56 comments :

  1. Holly,
    I'm the biggest dog lover in the world or I like to think I am. lol. I have a Lab/Retriever mix...he's a lap dog and that is what I was looking for except I was hoping it would be the size of my Sebastians head and not 90 pounds of lap dog. Oh well. You can never go wrong with a Lab or a Border Collie. They're two of the smartest and fastest learning breeds out there. Excellent with children too! I'm glad you kept him! I'd have 150 rescue dogs if my husband would let me. Animals are better than people...most times anyways...and I often say people can learn a few things from dogs. Again, I'm just happy you kept him and gave him a chance. When in doubt always go with Labs!

    Blessings,
    Shanna

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  2. omg, I love this post!!!! SO sweet. I have made a lifelong vow to only get shelter dogs and we have always had shelter dogs in my family. They do come with some quirks for sure but I think if you are willing to work with them, they can be such sweethearts. I love learning about Ranger and your Hubby speaking of his love for him through $ for the trainer :) I'm glad for your and Ranger's sake that he made it!!!

    PS- I haven't been in blog land like all weekend and it's late and I need sleep, so I will email you my info tomorrow night! :)

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  3. This post is dear to me. Our Lana was a shelter dog and she has been such a blessing to us. Not easy in some ways, but always easy to love. I'm so glad you and your family have given Ranger such love and kindness. It's a wonderful thing! Pam @ Sallygoodin

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  4. I just love that you didn't give up on him. Somewhere inside you, you knew it would be ok. Wonderful story!

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  5. Holly... thank you for your visit to my blog today.. your info on Cathy's update put a huge smile on my face..I was, at one time on the heart transplant list and know what they are going through... Oh, the power of the people (in this case, Blogland)
    Thank you!!
    Sandy
    thewondersofdoing@blogspot.com

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  6. awe...what a great story with a happy ending! We have 2 lab mixes from the shelter too who are soo spoiled! I always worry what will happen when we have kids, I'm thinking a trainer is the way to go to save everyone's sanity!

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  7. Aw! I love this story. I especially love the line about your hubby being cheap yet forking over the $ for a dog trainer. Similar situation for me. Daisy "found" us a year ago and i fell madly in love with her. She was riddled with heartworm. Hubby paid for the expensive treatment to get her better.

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  8. Aw, poor Ranger! I think that is the only thing with adopting animals from shelters...it seems that they were always mistreated before and they need extra help working through issues that previous owners had caused. I'm so glad that you guys were able to give him a home - and were able to get him trained, too! Being the mix that he is, I bet he has LOTS of energy to play, doesn't he? =-D

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  9. Holly, What a great story! Ranger is one lucky dog and you are very blessed pet owners.

    I too love to see the potential in underdogs! Rising to the ocassion, meeting a challenge and overcoming obstacles!
    I was rooting for Ranger all the way through your great story! I guess it is because we all have an underdog in us striving to be a top dog in something!
    Yvonne

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  10. Ranger is so lucky! What a lovely story. Thanks for joining in Holly! I have been having blogging issues since my kids want to sneak downstairs late at night and hang out with me. I don't get it....I am not that interesting to be around for so long, but I guess they love this little time in their lives. I am trying to roll with it, and find time to blog and comment. Warm wishes, and thanks so much!

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  11. I'm so glad this story has a happy ending! I could never understand families who gave up their pets when the kids came... until I was in the same situation. We are still working with one of our dogs to accept my 21 month old son unconditionally. It would break my heart to give her back to the shelter after 7 years! I'm determined to make this new relationship between the two of them work out!! :)

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  12. Ranger sounds like a wonderful dog. We just got a puppy and boy is she work. I love her but I do want to get a trainer. I may look into it.. Have an amazing day..

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  13. Good morning Holly. None of this story surprises me in the least. With your lovely, kind, compassionate and giving heart there is no way you would be married to anyone without those same qualities.

    Maybe his are not out in the open so much but I'm certain they are there.

    Lucky Ranger.

    I admire your determination and loyalty.

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  14. Oh my gosh, I can't believe the mean uncle suggested THAT! What a great story.

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  15. I love this story, Holly--mostly because I love dogs--and underdogs!--but also because I have my own black Lab...named Ranger :)
    My current Ranger is a gentle giant, but he is named after my childhood mutt...a wild thing we called--you guessed it--Ranger Danger :)

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  16. awww :) Such a great story, it made me cry. thank you for not giving up on him. He is a lucky dog to have an owner who took the extra time (and money) to "fix" him. I wish more people were like you.

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  17. Hooray for Ranger and your husband! That would have been so sad, and I would have been angry that you told us a story about putting your dog down! I'm so glad you gave Ranger another chance. :)

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  18. Your story made me cry. Congratulations to you and your husband--and Ranger--for making it work. I volunteer at the Washington Humane Society in D.C., so stories about shelter dogs finding their forever families are near and dear to my heart. Stories like yours make all of that work worthwhile. Three cheers for the underdog!

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  19. I love dogs.

    So nice to hear that you guys worked out the issues and made Ranger one happy and loved dog.

    After we lost our dog in the middle of her epileptic attack almost 2 years ago I didn't think I'll be able to have another dog, but 3 months ago Jack entered our life and I couldn't be happier.

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  20. Aww! I'm glad it worked out! Shame on the first trainer for suggesting you put him down.

    I'm a huge dog lover. Everyone thinks I'm crazy because I have 3 dogs (including a puppy), but I just love having them around!

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  21. I cannot even believer that "trainer" told you to put the dog down! That is just horrible. I am so glad that you took the time with him and have given him a wonderful home.

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  22. Wow! That's so precious. Our animals are part of our family.

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  23. This sounds very similar to my story with Reesie. And though we haven't spent money on trainers, Jon and I have been very diligent to create a safe space for her as well. She is so good with Emma, yet still very protective of our family. And despite not being a dog person, I know my hubby loves her deep down too.
    Sorry I've been MIA lately. I've had a lot on my plate. It seems in just under 7 months we'll have a new addition to the family!! So...I've been too sick to blog!! Miss you.
    Take care,
    Kelli @ SustainingCreativity

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  24. Aww I'm so glad your pup has a happy ending!!!! We're in a townhouse now, and as soon as we move to a house, we'll be looking for a dog, too! I can't wait - but it's still a few years away. We're happy with kitty for now :)

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  25. Love your post. Go Ranger!!! Thanks for showing people not to give up when things get tough with a pet. :)

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  26. I need to take my dogs to socialization classes.

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  27. aaaww.w...!!1 Ilove this story!!!!!!

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  28. This is a good story for me. I'm toying with wanting a dog, and this is a good reminder that with a dog, you're in long term. It's a commitment.

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  29. Holly this is a great story! Thank you for wanting to save an animal and willing to do what it takes...along with hubby. Ranger is indeed a loved dog.

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  30. I am SO happy for Ranger and for ya'll! I love good underdog stories!

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  31. Right now we just have fish. And that is plenty of pet for me. I do not do any of the care. Maybe one day we will get a cat. But I doubt it. I like animals fine, I am just not willing to do the work, and it would be me.

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  32. SUCH an amazing story. I love that you never gave up on your dog. I felt like I was reading a story about my own dog. Seriously so many similarities that it is scary.

    Thanks for making me smile today!

    -Francesca

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  33. I love dog stories... makes my heart happy! ;)

    Sounds like you have a wonderful pet, and your hubby sounds pretty nice too!

    My man grew up with dogs, but so far he won't allow it. ah well... a girl can dream.

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  34. Awe, you stole a piece of my heart with this one.I love dogs. And yes, apparently your hubby does as well; he just doesn't want to admit it. I think this is one of your best posts. You put a lot of yourself in this one.

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  35. did not know you were a dog lover... I enjoyed the story.. wish I knew about this meme as I wrote an ode to my first dog post in my notebook the other day.. maybe I will do it next monday... I love a good underdog story too.. How are you??

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  36. oh I love this story... it's wonderfully uplifting! Thanks for writing it!

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  37. I'm so glad that everything worked out and you were able to keep him! It must have been so nerve wracking for those two years before the trainer came along.

    I've never had a dog of my own...only cats. Right now I have two and I hope they end up being good with children. :)

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  38. Hi Holly,
    I am a huge dog lover, and had tears in my eyes as I read you post just now. I was so afraid that there would not be a happy ending for your pup. But, I am so glad that there was! I can't imagine not having a dog in my life. I worked years ago as a volunteer at the Humane Society, and while I loved it, it was also really heartbreaking too. I always tell hubby that if we ever win the lottery (ha!), I will open a no kill animal shelter! :)

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  39. Pets are such a treasure, aren't they? We have had our beagle since right when we married 7 years ago, and I cannot imagine life without her. My babies have tormented her with pulling her tail and ears ceaselessly, but she has endured all of it without once snapping or growling at them. I think I need to go snuggle her right this instant!

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  40. What a nice story! I'm glad everything worked out in the end.

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  41. I'm so glad that it worked out!

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  42. following from tuesday tag along and would love a follow back
    http://www.arizonamama-fancygrlnancy.blogspot.com/

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  43. ooooh...how lucky is Ranger to have you? And there's nothing better for kids than to have a dog when growing up. Great post Holly!

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  44. I am your newest follower and I am in love with your website! http://www.jennifersikora.com/2010/06/follow-me-back-tuesday.html

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  45. Wow, what a great post! Our dog Blackie had similar issues.

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  46. I KNOW! The thing about not being able to look them in the eye, especially the dogs. A long time ago, brilliant idea ~ hey! I'll just go visit the Humane Society. I got back in my car absolutely sobbing. Years later I adopted a one-eyed cat who had been twice-returned to the Humane Soc. Again, brilliant.

    (Hold on for an upcoming "Thoughtful Thursday" post...you'll know it when it comes through.)

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  47. Now THAT is a happy ending!

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  48. Awww, what a nice story. I also like the underdog. They always caught my attention. the quiet ones, not too playful. You have a very special dog. Sounds like a "marley and me" story for me...

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  49. What a great dog post!!
    I love it when all turns out ok.
    I must say you had me near tears.
    I love dogs, and have learned to love cats.
    We have 3 cats. Hubby doesn't care for dogs and I've never succeeded at training a dog.
    You may want to visit my blog on Thursday or Friday. I am doing a book review on a dog and her master, the book is called `Blind Hope`

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  50. I'm on the road this morning but was so excited to see your comment :)It's my last internet for three days, but I wanted to say thanks ;)

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  51. Hi Holly, I love this post. Ranger sounds so special. The fact that you had faith in him, loved him and did all the right things....Ranger is happy to be a part of your family and he does not want to muss that up. I love my dog....although she is very spoiled of course. We crate trained her from day one. She is a little pug, and I never have heard her growl. She loves people to death, and when we have visitors sometimes I have to crate her for a bit just to calm her excitement down:) Have a good night...oh and I am happy you like my video...don't forget to vote as often as you would like:) Vote, backspace, vote again!!~ Debbie

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  52. Aww, Holly, that's such a sweet story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  53. You know what, I REALLY hope my hubby becomes like yours one day. I literally am dying to get a dog, I grew up w/ multiple dogs in my house my whole life & I had to leave my cat at my parents because hubby is allergic to them. Praying for a change of heart!
    Heather @ www.savingmoneylivinglife.com

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  54. What a beautiful post! I'm so glad you found someone who could help instead of listening to that loser! What a jerk!
    Ranger sounds great!

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  55. Yea for you and Ranger.

    We recently took the dog ownership plunge again, and I trying to get used to having an extra friend who wants to play and eat as much as the little kids.

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  56. Hi -I'm a new follower of you from FF.http://laughingmonkeystick.blogspot.com/For every follower that joins I will be releasing a Unicorn back into the wilds of the New Jersey boardwalk. So please do your part by joining and saving these special creatures. Thanks
    Mr. Monkey

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Thanks for stopping by! I read and appreciate all of your sweet words and the time you have spent on my blog. I try hard to respond to comments and visit your blogs... eventually, but I will be honest life is pretty crazy right now!

Thanks for swinging by my place. See ya soon!