Two years ago today, Nemo was presented to us as the newest service pup in training from a local service dog agency. He was rescued from the local Charlottesville shelter as someone tried to dump him and leave without completing any paperwork; he was but a wee baby, thought to be a Labrador. The picture on the left, with me in the yellow coat, was taken the weekend we got him.
He kept growing and growing and it was clear that this wasn’t any Labrador!
The picture of Nemo on our patio wall was taken during March – look at how much he’s grown in only four weeks! Those legs are getting longer…
If you’re a long-time subscriber of my newsletter, Your Smart Dog, you’ll remember the article I wrote in June of 2006 about stress in dogs. The article was written because I had noticed a big change in the happy-go-lucky attitudes of my two Labradors, Tango and Lily. They no longer seemed to enjoy being around Nemo. In the picture with the three black dogs, Nemo is the smallest and you can see that Lily’s not particularly enjoying all of Nemo’s antics. Rocky, the big Lab, is shaking off – a sign that he’s feeling a bit stressed, too. Look at Nemo, though – he hasn’t a clue that he’s not welcome.
It was a tough couple of months for us and the dogs as we tried to find a balance that suited us all, Nemo included. If he had his way, he’d play all day — bowl them over, bite their flanks, and steal their toys. It was all great fun for him. Only him, though, unfortunately.
Thankfully, we got an older service dog in training, a German Shepherd Rottweiler cross (also a shelter dog) who was able to dish out as much rough play as Nemo could take! This alleviated some of the stress and pressure from the other dogs and we regained our stable pack once again.
He learned to swim at Lake Anna (looks a bit like an otter, don’t you think?)…
All was fine and dandy until September 2007, which was when the fungus paid us a visit. We weren’t sure Nemo was going to make it. It was a roller coaster ride and I had more stress from September through December than I cared for. It was awful — literally we were going day-to-day, week-to-week, in a “wait and see” pattern that drove me batty. He had three surgeries and more blood tests than I could count. He was a trooper through all the sutures, bandage changes, blood tests and re-checks.
(Fingers crossed) Everything seems to be ok with our silly dog now. And look how handsome he is these days… We’re planning a big celebration today to mark this momentous occasion! Woofs and goodies for all four dogs!