Margaret & Jeze Richardson
Blackburn South, Victoria, Australia
My first contact with Jeze was when I spotted a dark shape moving under a pile of rubble whilst I was out doing street ministry one night. I didn't even know what kind of animal she was at first, but reasoned she wasn't a fox because of the absence of the distinctive smell. I began leaving small amounts of food, and after a few weeks, my new friend had enough trust to remain out of her hidey while I was near. She was given the name Jezebel by a street friend of mine, who attempted to speed the process of getting her from her hidey, and was nipped by a terrified animal for his trouble.
Jeze, as she is now known was terribly emaciated when I could eventually check her over properly, and extremely timid. I noticed she appeared to have had her tail docked, although later, when I managed to gain her confidence enough to take her to a vet friend of mine, I discovered that she was in fact tail-less, she is a schipperke. We bathed and de-flea'd her and gave her as much of a health check as we could without causing her too much stress, and then she adopted me. She proved to be quite intelligent and quickly learnt to walk with me when I was using my frame (I have decreasing co-ordinated movement in my right side, the result of a brain tumour), and loved riding with me on my scooter, although she remained extremely nervous. I then heard about the Secrets to Dog Training series of books, and purchased a copy. Through using
Daniel's suggested training techniques, Jeze began to overcome her nervousness as well as becoming more responsive to the requirements imposed on her by my own disability.
Jeze is now a member at my Church, where she sits quietly beside me, and accepts the attention and tributes from everyone in the congregation, (although we do have to limit the number of 'just one' treats surreptitiously given to her). She is also a favourite when I'm out street ministry and quite often it is she that manages to break through the barriers of some of the more abused of the street folk. It's sometimes hard when Jeze is introduced to others ahead of me, but it is wonderful to see the change that a little patience, gentleness and training have made in her. Now that I am finding it even harder to walk, we rely on my scooter a lot more, on the occasion when it breaks down and we are forced to walk any distance, she remains seated on the seat with an expression on her face that clearly exhibits her displeasure. I even have to remember now to disengage the key to the scooter when we're stopped chatting with people, because Jeze has been known to decide it's time to move on, and depress the lever to move us forward.
I recommend the Secrets to Dog Training Training series to any dog owner, but particularly for those with rescued dogs, which often have behaviour problems, for which the reason is not truly known.
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