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rwinner

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About rwinner

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  1. He looks pretty short and fat in it, but he's really tall. I can easily rest my palm on his head and my fingers on his shoulders, and I'm very tall. He's got about 4" of hair all over, so it hides how skinny and lanky he actually is. I don't think he's ever been clipped.
  2. This is the only picture I have of him for now, will try to post more later. Its his adoption pic.
  3. Well some people had asked for an update on my last post about Hazel, and what will happen with my future dog. Everyone likes happy (ish?) endings. This week has been a crazy mix of emotions. We picked up Bear (the bernese x poodle) last Saturday with no expectations. He is basically the perfect dog for what I need. Super sweet and cuddly (never thought I'd meet a dog that could out-cuddle me), very calm, learns quickly, and absolutely nothing phases him. Hes been around construction, screaming children, bathed, HV dryer, people in strange costumes, model rockets shooting off, all body parts messed with... nothing bugs him, which is perfect for service work. He is 8 months old and basically no one has given him attention (or training) for his whole life. So he has gotten very attached to me, and because he is so calm, he just heels naturally and focuses very well on me. Training comes pretty easily as well. Spent two days training eye contact, and he was able to do it at the vets with a dog barking like crazy at him. He's also the perfect size. He can relax and cuddle for a full day, or run his heart out depending on what I want from him. So long story short, he's great and I've fallen in love. We took him to the vet, and luckily he is in great health. No heart issues, no weird eyelash issues that these breeds can get, and most importantly his hip x-rays if rated by OFA (our vet does tons of these x-rays so I trust him) would be excellent on one side and between good and excellent on the other. Elbows, shoulders, and knees are also good. We lucked out considering he's from a byb that we know very little about. Vet also says growth plates should be closed by 13 months, but he would wait until 14-15 for harness work just to be safe. Only thing is he's on the backside of a giardia infection (got it from a dog that boarded in my trainers kennels) but it's under control. Only downside is grooming will be a pain (he is a giant black shedding mop), so I will just have to suck it up and invest in decent equipment and do it myself. And I need to watch out for separation anxiety since he's never had a person to bond to before (he was a gift to his original owner by the owners daughter, owner didn't want to train him, and just abandoned him with my trainer when he got too big). I'm still pretty broken up about hazel, so that has been difficult. Especially going to the vet that diagnosed her, and going to parks and things she used to enjoy. It's still really fresh. But its good to have another dog, and extra good to see him able to run like a dog should. He is very like Hazel in his play style, and it makes me happy and a bit sad to watch him play like Hazel always wanted to. Anyway, hopefully everything will work out. He's only 300$ to adopt and that comes with unlimited training for life. I'm really excited to see the dog he can become.
  4. Thank you all for your kind words. I finally managed to be able to type up her story without breaking down. Its in the appropriate section if you'd like to read it. She was an amazing dog, who was very loved.
  5. Hazel was your typical puppy. I always jokingly referred to her as the "demon puppy" because she was much more nippy and intense than any other pup I had raised or met. However, that intensity served her well as a service dog. I remember at just 3-4 months old, we took her to a 4th of July parade as a socialization experience. They fired a cannon off 10 feet in front of us, she briefly startled, then was like "what was that? lets go investigate!!". That dog could bounce back from anything and was absolutely fearless. She loved everything: Dogs, People, and most especially children. Although extremely energetic, she had an intuitive sense of how much energy a situation required. When with a dog, she'd put her whole heart into it. When with a child, she'd lay down completely still and let the kid hug her, touch her face, whatever. The only sign that she loved it was her furiously wagging tail that she just couldn't seem to make as gentle as the rest of her. The greatest joy she had was in working. She loved being a service dog for the brief time she was able to work. Her first "official" outing as a service dog, after her many months of training, was to a movie. I was so nervous. We sat in the first row of seats, right where the rail is for the handicapped seating in front. She laid quietly under my feet, with her head propped up on the rail, watching the movie with me. She went everywhere with me after that. The first time we took her to church and everyone started singing, she started singing along!! I was quite surprised and embarrassed, because she had never done anything like that before. However, the people around her were entertained and very forgiving, and she learned to not sing the next week. She was my PTSD service dog. Her main job was to sense dissociative fugues and panic attacks, and alert and respond to them. She was so proud of her alerting, pawing me on the leg with an excited look, "did I do good? Where's my treat?". She got so good at alerting, that she must have done it by scent after awhile instead of the body language cues I taught her to respond to. She could tell if something was wrong with me through two closed doors and a kennel and would bark until I came to let her out to take care of me. Before Hazel, I was always uncertain. I could "wake up" after a black out two hours away from my house, with no idea of where I was. Hazel changed all of that. She alerted far enough in advance that the dissociation almost stopped completely. One of my most impressive memories of her was waking up, about to wander into a street, with her positioned protectively in front of me barking her head off and jumping up on my chest to stop me. I hadn't trained her to respond in that way, but thank goodness she did. My husband, who was uncertain about even getting a dog, always said she was worth her weight in gold and he was right. She gave both me and him tremendous peace of mind. She helped me to grow as a trainer, and as a person. After losing her, I realize now how much I depended on her, but also how much better I am now than before having her. Teaching her to be a service dog helped me to grow along with her, better understanding myself and my condition, healing me without me even realizing it. I always imagined that everyone in heaven can't be happy all the time. Maybe this is an unconventional view, but I just can't imagine pure happiness while waiting for my loved ones to cross over too. I think to myself now that maybe she is up there now, passing her time pawing the legs and licking the faces of those who are a bit sad as they wait for someone they love, trying to make them feel a bit better. Continuing to do the work she loved and was so dedicated to here. The house is quieter and lonely now, but she left her mark. I will never forget the lessons Hazel taught me, or the unconditional love and service she gave.
  6. Hello everyone. I made the decision and put Hazel down this morning. It was a difficult thing, but honestly once it was over I felt a lot better knowing her suffering is over. Yesterday we went for just a 5 minute walk to let her blow off some steam, she got the aggressive zoomies and bit me, then fell over trying to go up the 3 inch step on our front door, took a five hour nap afterwards moaning. While I would have loved for the rescue situation to work out, I just knew in my heart after that that she couldn't wait on a hope of rescue and continue to suffer. (she did have a definitive diagnosis, and has been on multiple different pain control options, I don't know why this didn't come up, probably just wasn't clear with all that is going on - stuff happened fast and there were a lot of vet appointments.) Also, I didn't even think of this until a while after I got home. But I realized that despite us dieting her, her physical condition getting better (bigger tuck, can feel ribs), and her skipping about half her meals recently, she still gained five pounds over the last few weeks (they weighed her for the euthanasia). I'm not going to torture myself over this and have no experience for why this would occur in a dog, but honestly my cousin had bad cancer and had the same thing happen - got skinnier, stopped eating, gained weight. I wonder if maybe that was also an underlying issue that no one found, and this turned out for the best even though it certainly was an awful decision. I will probably post in the memorium forum as a way to process, grieve, and celebrate her life. If any of you would care to read it to know the kind of dog she was, and the wonderful service and great impact she had on me and others around her. I will certainly remember her that way. Thank you all for your opinions and advice - regardless of whether you agree with my decision or not. I needed to hear all sides. In the end, I needed to go with what was right for both hazel and me, like everyone has been saying. Please do not post anything criticizing me for this difficult decision.
  7. I realize dogs can be rehomed into different situations and still be happy - sorry, I'm very emotional and am probably anthropomorphizing her a bit... She just got SO excited when she saw her vest when I was unpacking. It was like a five minute miracle. She could be in a pet home, but would do best with a stay at home mom, or a retired couple... someone with time to spend with her. Thats more what I was trying to get at - shes used to the companionship that comes with a 24/7 job and would miss that, not the job itself. One of the reasons I am hesitant to put her in rescue is just what was stated - what about all the other dogs? That is A LOT to ask of a rescue that could probably save several dogs with the resources it would take to save my one. Of course I love hazel and want the best for her, but what about all the other borders that are surrendered to shelters from minor behavior or herding behavior "problems" and end up euthanized? That's one of the things that kept coming up in my mind during that couple day break I took from this forum.
  8. FHO - since this is what would have to happen in a rescue situation... Vet says they dont like to do it in dogs over 50lbs? Hazel is right at 50, but does have well muscled legs so has that going for her. Can they still develop arthritis in that joint after a while? Or no because its not really a joint? Reason that I ask is that we had a dog that needed a pin put in her hip. Fixed the problem, but then developed arthritis after a while that eventually she went lame from anyway. Bilateral FHO - bad idea? okay idea? she may need both done. Been reading a lot of people's blogs that had it done. Seems like small dogs - miracle, larger dogs - depends. Everything from great to terrible. I do hate the idea of not having say in her life anymore, or knowing whats going on all the time. I already think about Brahms often, and hope hes doing well as a cow dog. Obviously I won't let that impact decision making, still sucks though.
  9. D'Elle, thanks for that kind reply and saying what I wasn't going to have the guts to say... That post before you ripped my heart in half. Guys, please don't make rude snap judgements on things that I have been thinking about, crying about, and losing sleep over for over a month now. It is true that I had a dog with behavior issues before hazel, his name was Brahms. I will take full responsibility for making a crappy decision to get him in the first place, but I will NOT take responsibility for his behavior. He came to us at four and a half months old, from a good breeder. The breeder did not live in our state but had several working sheepdogs in our area and came well recommended. The reason he was so old was because the breeder held him back as a herding prospect, then decided they didn't have the proper time needed for training. When I went to go get him, he seemed a bit skittish, but I chalked it up to only meeting him the once. The breeder said he hadn't noticed fear issues. His skittishness gradually developed into full on fear aggression. He was sweet with us, and exactly what we needed at home, but we live in a city. His only exercise options were walks, which he HATED and would always come home drooling in fear. We worked with him, and got him to where he could accept a person we had worked with. But each new stranger started the process over again. Obviously, he would also never make a service dog. We did the right thing and contacted the breeder for help. The breeder took full responsibility, he had probably just been left alone too much before we got him and had missed the appropriate socialization period. He was rehomed to a trainer on a farm, they trained him to be a cattle dog. Much more appropriate home for him. It still sucked, and it was a rough decision, and I think about him often. But it was the right decision and I made it. Implying that I am making the decision to euthanize hazel because I am somehow responsible for her behavior and want to save my ego is just crap. This was a dog that I trained well enough to sit through a 10 hour flight, attend all the festivities of a wedding, stay in a hotel, etc all without a hitch. She sat through the whole rehearsal dinner, which was quite loud and cramped, under the table completely focused on her job. I spent a month going back to basic training with her when her behavior slipped. Nothing helped. I felt horrible and I DID blame myself. So I worked harder with her. Finally, we got the the vet who said - she has terrible hip dysplasia, you are wasting your time with training. Its not your fault she cant learn, because all she can focus on is pain right now. You dont know how much of a relief hearing that was (in a very strange way, obviously I was not happy she had HD). I had been berating myself for 'letting her training go' and somehow 'failing her' or somehow not being good enough. The diagnosis finally let me let go of all that and realize the truth. In my experience, it is not easier to say shes better off dead or a lost cause. Its much easier to blame yourself than admit that you are out of control of something, and that life just sucks sometimes.
  10. Also, just so everything is clear shes not a purebred, theres an aussie or two somewhere way back. Thats where her "flashy" colors come from. Doubt that affects the rescue, but thought I'd put it out there.
  11. Laura - I know you arent trying to be difficult, and I really do appreciate your concerns and help. Part of me really wants to do it. My concern here is very similar to the horse story above. Will it even ultimately do her good? Will she really end up happy? Something inside of me just doubts it very much. Dont get me wrong, I would LOVE for that to happen. However, if she were a pet, she would be very unhappy unless she had a constant companion (and one who didnt mind her alerting to stress or licking their face and barking if they were distressed...). Shes okay with being alone in a kennel, but dislikes being loose and alone very much. Also, you mentioning placing her in a working home after medical care worries me very much. It wouldn't be fair to the dog OR the person. An unsound dog should not be worked as a service dog, period. Its demanding work, and hazel is very good at hiding pain, she seems to have done it her whole life. Also irresponsible to whoever the handler was - I don't want the risk of an unsound service animal, why would I put that burden on another disabled handler...? In addition, yes dogs that have surgery are limping from the structural changes and not from pain, I understand this. However, they still can't do as much because of their altered gait (the ones I've met anyway). Her whole life she has been slow. She has looked after dogs chasing balls and running after each other her whole life. She looks at them with this sad look, she wants to be able to run and play, and certainly has the energy to do so, but has always just been too slow. Instead, she found joy and an outlet for energy in service work. Now she doesn't even have that.
  12. also, thank you all for your support and advice, whether you support my decision or not. This board has taught me a lot, and makes me a bit sad that my next dog, whatever it will be, will not be a border collie. They are all I've ever had other than a couple of english setters when I was very little left from my parents breeding program, and I will miss them and all their fun quirks.
  13. Sorry I have not responded in a while. I needed time to myself to sort things out. Guys, I just want her to not suffer any more. She has started barking at me for no reason, picking at her paw/hip, couple days ago found her hiding under the linen closet shelf where she barely fit. When I went to try and see what was up, she tried to bite me. Has nipped at me a couple times since and is clearly a bite risk from the pain. Will not let me touch her backside. Moaning in her sleep. She can't ride in a car. I think trying to find her a rescue/money for the surgery is going to take awhile and will just prolong her suffering. She is truly miserable now. In addition, she is no longer well trained, and at least from my personal experience, dogs that develop behavior issues as a result of pain/trauma have a hard time going back even when the pain is gone. There tends to be permanent consequences. Also, she has been raised to be a service dog since she was 8 weeks. I don't think she would be happy without the work, I think thats half of where her frustration is coming from. I just can't watch her like this. She spends about 90% of her time in her crate now anyway, thats no life for a young dog. I have been crying for days straight trying to figure out the right decision. Time to let go. Trust me, her service work was NOT physically demanding, I know better than to put that kind of stress on a pup. She's a psych dog. And only worked a few hours a day in public 99% of the time. I have (had?) complex PTSD. Have learned to cope with the emotional stuff, but my brain has learned to shut down under stress, and that's permanent. What I mean by that is I get random memory gaps. Whatever I'm doing when I blank out, I seem to just go on autopilot and keep doing whatever I was doing until I "wake up". I'm a student and walk everywhere, I have literally woken up after trying to walk home, 2 hours away from where I live, lost, with bleeding feet because I was wearing inappropriate shoes for that kind of walking. It was terrifying. Hazel learned to alert to this before it happened, like a seizure dog, so I could get myself safe. I went from having these episodes every couple of days to almost never. It was absolutely wonderful for the brief time she was working. And she loved it. Worked happily every day, and slept soundly every night, never left my side. Program dogs - first off, its impossible to find a reputable organization that will train "alert" type dogs, and most will also not train for someone who is not a veteran. It's hard for an organization to do properly because each individual is different, and you are much better off training your own. Second, even if I could find one that trained a useful psych dog and not just one that was trained to lick on command or some nonsense like that, they typically have 2-5 YEAR waiting list with quite the hefty fundraising requirement (10-20k). Its hard, trust me. And I enjoy training dogs, it's very rewarding, I have the skills to do it, and its therapeutic for me to learn to put aside my own feelings and problems to train a healthy minded dog. I will be able to take care of it. It's not that we don't or can't find the money to continue trying to help hazel, its just that we know her better than you guys, have been to ALL of her vet appointments, and just can't see the merit in dragging this out longer when she is a completely different dog and clearly in a lot of pain. The doodle - is just a possibility. We have found a way to check it out in person for a week without spending money and without flying it here. We will have it vetted after we meet if it seems to be a good match. I know its a health risk, but a pup from a good breeder is a behavior risk (temperament tests only tell so much) and will take much more time to train... The risk sort of balances no matter which way I go, and no way will be risk free. Thats not life unfortunately. At least with this dog, the situation is a bit better than your average rescue - it was surrendered from the owner straight to my trainer (not for behavior or health reasons) and my trainer has trained the dogs brother. Brother was very trainable, had the right temperament, etc. Obviously no guarantees, but we know a lot more about it than that its just some random rescue doodle. Also, have found a decent amount of organizations that use bernedoodles specifically because they tend to live longer than either the poodle or berner, and are a good size for mobility for people like me (tall!). People keep saying to get a lab, but I have never met a lab tall enough, and will NOT put undue stress on a dogs joints from getting a too-short dog. I will need a giant breed, and they just have health issues. Theres no getting around it. Best thing to do seems to be either get a giant breed from health tested lines that tend to live 10-11+ years, or get a hybrid that tends to live longer than the giant breed alone. The only healthier giant dogs I can think of (great pyrs come to mind) don't have the general temperament to be a service dog (as a breed, obviously individuals vary.)
  14. Also, luckily we have found a way for me to go with my husband for cheap. Almost everything is covered by work, so we can evaluate the new dog with no risk of spending money to fly it.
  15. I'm really uncomfortable with surgery. Maybe its been my misfortune to meet too many dogs recently that have had the surgery, and STILL cant run or live normally. we are talking a 12k surgery here. Even if cost were no issue at all, you'd be looking at doing one hip, a six month difficult recovery, and then turning around and doing it again with the other. Is all that pain and suffering fair to her when she has no idea what's going on?? We are talking a year long process here. Maybe someone here has had experience with it that can enlighten me. All I know is that I have met three dogs with hip replacements. None had a normal life. One had bad complications that made the recovery process even longer and more painful. This is why I haven't been considering surgery as an option (also there is no way I could come up with 12k, 2 probably, 12, no.) Shes too old for the less invasive surgeries, so the only option is THR.
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