I met Lord one night in May 1994, he was just over 3 years old. I was traveling with Beth Lynch at the time. She had recently rescued him and 12 other Hovawarts, a rare breed of dog, from a dire situation in Florida. I don’t know much about that time. (That’s Beth’s story). I only know that when I met Lord, he was afraid of his own shadow. His brown eyes betrayed the worry and fear he carried with him. His face was so tense and his tail tucked between his hind legs, as if it were glued to his belly. His experience with people had him frivolous and frightened, as he had spent most of his life in a kennel.
Two months later, near the end of July, Beth called me in a panic. He needed to get Lord out of his house because Lord was trying to take advantage of Beth’s dog, Ditto. Ditto is another Hovawart and was recovering from hip surgery. Lord finally felt a bit sure he wanted to try climbing the ladder. Beth showed him love and made him think there might be good people out there. Lord wanted to love Beth and be her main dog and Ditto was on the way! ….. I really can’t blame him.
This time the timing was better, so I said I’d be happy to help and indeed if it worked I’d love to stay with it. (Beth also has a story about this event, but again it’s her story to tell.)
Lord actually started out as my oldest daughter, Amanda’s dog. But when school started, three weeks later, he needed more and I needed him and we needed each other, so poor Amanda lost the dog, but she tells me that she understands and I hope she really does. Amanda knows that he was my best friend during the almost 4 and a half years that he was in our lives.
It really took me years to bring this magnificent dog, but I did. From a tail that took at least 6 months to loosen using TEAM methods, class work, patience and above all love, to a dog whose entire body was like putty in my hands. We learned to play shove and he rolled and loved it. In the field, his tail was always raised and curled on his back. The new house we had just moved into had two other happy people and now their tail was up even inside. His entire facial expression had changed over the years. He became soft and relaxed, showed that he knew about love. It was a long and difficult road that we both took. Through each other, we both learned to love ourselves. We both had the same problem: getting off of a lousy start before we could allow our individual beauty to flourish. It was a special animal and we had a truly unique bond …
Unfortunately, Lord died on Thanksgiving weekend 1998. Lord was almost 7 1/2 when he died, but I knew I gave him the best years of his life and in return, I learned the lessons for myself. I was teaching him. I miss you best friend.