|Pogo vom- Spezialblut - Tribute|
The Good- Shepherd - The Mighty- Shepherd
|Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 9:48pm PST |
|Always will be Pogo. I don't think about replicating it. I have had awesome relationships with many dogs, and I am sure I could come up with another were it not for him. But it will always be Pogo.
I suppose part of it is that he was a second. Not the "dog I wanted" in any specific way. I had spent all my teen years waiting on my Dobermans, and when I had them, it wasn't quite what I envisioned. And then came Flo, my very high end dog, who was and trained very well for me, but socially was my husband's dog because that was what she said. So I wanted my own bond. I knew it wasn't going to be a Doberman. Had no clue what it should be. That would take years of migration. Everyone told me to get a GSD, due to my training background. They were so common, though. I saw no hook in them. Great dogs, I knew that. So I half heartedly put them on my list. I had three or four inquiries out on other breeds.
Just because I don't love or own a breed doesn't mean I am unaware of it or don't follow it. I knew GSD pedigrees very well. I am a von Stephanitz fan. And when through my grapevine I was contacted, and heard of this puppy with this pedigree that was off the charts. I mean OFF the charts. A dream pedigree. From a border patrol guard son of Held, imported right off the field from Belgium, and was cranking huge scores in Sch, which was newer back then. And man was he stunning...looked like a bear. And from a Kirschental bitch whose female family I was very impressed by, and by Lasso, who I thought was the greatest GSD on the planet at that time. How could I say no? Ok....what color is he? If they had said black-and-tan, maybe Pogo never would have come here. They said sable. They said he was their hold back for competition, but they were overstocked and needed to place him. Sable. Hmmmm. Well that and the pedigree? Ok. Ok, I guess so.
So he comes. Not well, either. Sort of catatonic at the airport, and then after bond exercises for a day stuck to me like a magnet. Flo, my Doberman, was furious, snooting in the corner. Good! I had taken two weeks off. Then I went back to work, and all hell broke loose, and hell it would be for quite some time. I was called home multiple times by neighbors who thought he was dying. He wasn't barking, he was screaming. Desperately trying to break out of his crate. My vet said he scratched his cornea. Yet was fine with the crate when I was at home...or pretending not to be. So no crate. After a week of destruction, we got a baby gate. After two days, we got another, to stack on top of it. After two days more, a third....one stacked atop another. VICTORY! Well, no. He learned to pop open the fridge. And then he decimated all my husband's vintage guitar effects. Every day, the sheer creativity of his destruction was mind numbing.
Once, he drank a bottle of oil, and in the middle of the night starting firing poop bombs. So lubraicated, the things were shooting out like torpedoes. We had to replace the carpet due to the heavily oil content coating them....greased messed, beyond salvage.
Ok, so these issues are workable, and in time he got better. Then he tried to bite my friends face off. And was totally ignoring me in training. Reinforcers? Eh. Corrections? Eh. Didn't play. Didn't like toys. Didn't like the ball. REALLY did not like food....wouldn't even finish his supper, and I could leave a steak on the counter, on the FLOOR, and he wouldn't have touched it. He liked sour cream. You couldn't get him to wag his tail. He wagged it when he wanted to. Loved me though. Followed me around, was always within three feet.
I love my mentor, who chewed me out a new arse. My dog thought I was utterly incompetent, and he was right, and I am a waste of that dog and whatever else. So we worked on this very complicated training approach....show him what to do That was it. Just show him, and he'll do it. And he did.
My husband loathed him. We had fights. He was destructive, he was stubborn, he was weird, he was aggressive, he was UGH! I told him to wait and have patience. That this would be the best dog he'd ever known. Because he was so beyond me. So more in the know. And through it all, I never doubted his devotion. I was finally catching up to him.
Today, my husband cannot mention his name without crying. The amount of awe he came to have for Pogo is immeasurable.
He was as hard as a block of cement. He had no drive save for fight, and there he was TREMENDOUS. He was always serious, save for that he loved to greet us and "melt" after we came home, leaping up and then collapsing in our arms as we scritched him. He had the heart of a lion. And the soul of a lamb. When a foster cat had kittens and proved an awful mother, he was distressed. He been raised (at his breeders) alongside a cat momma, and with "his" kittens was constantly picking up the kittens screaming for their momma and wandering, blind and flat bellied, in his mouth. The site of a kitten's head disappeared into his mouth....and he'd truck them back into their box and sentry that. Same dog who in his protection had such mind numbing authority. He never even barked. He just DID, as if he was a lion dispatching a scarecrow. When my Dachshund puppy came, although Pogo was no player, he relented and did so because he was a good Shepherd.
He never had a leash by the time he was two. He ignored everyone who was not my family. People would come over with their "project Pogo" to get him to come, and he would just stare. Totally reliable, but he had his circle, and that was his world. One of the kittens he helped raise, Soda, was attached to his hip....I have a picture on his page of those two. Any dog who aggressed, he would stare and they would cower away. He was a VAT....a maned lion, but his perception and gentleness, layered against his steelyness, would awe you beyond measure.
I had him for eight years. He was never healthy. He was not expected to live that long, but my husband and I both believe he held in until he was confident I could tolerate life without him. And then two days of what I did not know was him saying goodbye. Unusually emotive. I wondered what was up with the oddness of him then, but it was his parting glance and one last chance to awe me at his amazing majesty.
"We shall never see the likes of him again." They said that about Man O'War. And for me, that is Pogo. Never again, and that is ok. For me to have been graced in my one lifetime I know is more than most get.
There are dogs that I have loved especially dearly. Onion I loved especially dearly....from the pits of my heart, the amount of joy and adventure he put in my life and what a good friend to me he was has no measure. I am nothing but goo about Onion, what a spectacular dog! We were exceptionally close. And for Chester....I live in abject terror at the thought of losinghim. Not sure how I'll deal. But Pogo was awe striking, as some living legend you were fortunate enough to rub elbows with. I don't even think of him as friend, but something beyond me, spending a lifetime to attain a fifth of what he was. I was graced by his presence, and today and graced by his memory.
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