I began to question this blinkered assumption when I got involved in cross-posting for Dogs in Shelters. Dogs that for one reason or another had been given up, dumped, abused....Why was this such a prolific problem? It slowly dawned on me that there were so many canine/human relationships out there that were at the least a little strained.
The more interest I took, the more I saw it all around me. People walking their Dogs in the street, friends and their dogs, and a boom in tv shows on almost every channel, depicting Dogs and their human companions undergoing therapy in varied forms, led by people with varied views and techniques as to how to solve the even more varied issues!
Then as to answer my questions, along came Bruce. Bruce was a Boxer who I had come across via a friend of a friend. My first experience of Bruce was walking down the path of the home he was at that time living in. The Garden was overgrown, the bins were defined only by the border of hedges, where the black bin bags seemed to climb one atop the other to escape. The delights of the Garden were quickly paled when thuds at the window and loud aggressive barking caught my attention. There was Bruce, fierce looking, slobbering, teeth gnashing with hard eyes, trying to remove the glass that separated us with every lunge. I'd always felt confident around Dogs, Bruce had me questioning it all in seconds.
I got up the courage to enter the house, entering the living room and avoiding eye contact with Bruce, I immediately understood this Dog had no actual desire to eat me, he was a Dog full of pent up energy. His display at the window was just an outlet for his energy and frustrations. Once inside, though a little over excitable, it was obvious that this Boy was of no immediate threat. By the end of the visit I'd made up my mind that If there was a God, he'd see to it that somehow, one day Bruce would come and live with me.
Over many visits I learned more of his situation. He lived with a family who though well meaning, didn't have the means to provide for his needs. The needs that were within their capability to see to, were still not always met, and his access to the outside world was virtually none existent. They had taken him from a Dogs home, been unable to control him on walks, and as a house full of teenage testosterone fuelled boys, play fighting was his main exercise. And guess what? Bruce wasn't neutered. He toileted on the floor wherever he stood, because he'd come to learn getting someone to open the door to the garden, was often a plea that went unheard. He slept wherever he pleased, he chewed whatever he desired, including doors. He knocked drinks from the table "accidentally" so he could suck the contents from the carpet, and with each visit, my heart ached to take this boy away and give him a better life.
Call it Divine intervention, call it what you will. The Day was soon to come were a twist of fate meant me being asked to care for Bruce. And thus began my baptism into a life where the Human/Dog relationship would be something I examined more than ever, Where my confidence would be tested and where the Bond and trust between myself and my Canine companion,would come to be the Greatest I'd ever experienced in my life.