Sometimes when my sweet dog is face to face with me and I can see her teeth up close, I wonder what on earth humans were thinking when they decided to domesticate hunting animals with sharp teeth over an inch in length. But her warm snuggles quickly remind me how wise they were!
I am a proud best friend and caretaker of a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP). Abbi is 5 years old, and a member of our family and companion to us all, but there’s little doubt that she is my dog.
This designation occurred largely because GSP’s are high energy dogs, so I, as a runner, took to running with her to channel her energy. As with most high energy dogs, she’s obedient and happy when she can use up a good portion of her energy, and a bit frustrating when she doesn’t have a good outlet. In order to truly enjoy running with Abbi, I also trained her when she was a pup. There are plenty of philosophies about dog training, but we decided that it was ideal for us to train her, and though that sounds like an enormous undertaking, really, all it took was 5-10 minutes 2 or 3 times a day during her first year of life and regular obedience use in daily living. She also hunts, which is my husband’s territory, so he works with her on the specifics of that type of training. Abbi is fully capable of a prolonged sit-stay, and will heel during a walk or run without ever tugging the leash. No, she doesn’t shake hands, she’s entertaining enough without being made to follow a silly command like that.
It might seem like a lot to have a high energy dog with our family being fairly complex, but she gives back far more than she requires…even on the days that she digs up and eats the potatoes from my garden.
And speaking of that, she’s a quirky little girl, which is really one of her best qualities. From the time she got caught between the screen door and slider while pointing at a bee we knew she would add joy to our years.
I know, I know there are those of you who think that rescue dogs are the only way to go. I hear you, I do. But please understand that her breeders had us sign a contract saying that we would return her to them if circumstances arose that would prevent us from keeping her, as they do with all of the dogs they breed. And we committed to her for life. We have never put a dog into a rescue situation, and feel strongly that with the needs of our family, that doing our homework and finding a reputable breeder was the best way for us to go. I do appreciate those who rescue dogs, but instead of vilifying people who own a dog for life, how about we agree that people who adopt dogs and then change their minds are the problem, not those who give excellent care for life to a cherished pet.