Pete is our family dog. He is a dog that my husband, Jon, and his first wife rescued about 10 years ago. Folks knew that they fostered rescue dogs and told them about this poor dog that was always barking, always tied up, and was being taunted by the neighborhood kids, and who looked unfed and neglected.
So they rescued Pete, who was a young adult dog with no social skills at all, and who lacked trust in humans totally (especially young boys). Jon knew that Pete was not a candidate for adoption. He knew that Pete would have been put down due to his behavior, so he felt obliged to work with him, to see if he could “tame this savage beast”.
Over the next many months and years (and even continuing to this day), Jon works with Pete to teach him through lots of love and patience that humans can be trusted. I think he took on the challenge because he saw something greater in Pete behind all his fear and ferocity --- a strong, canine presence that he loved.
Pete bonded with Jon, knowing Jon was the alpha pack member. Jon worked with him patiently and slowly, sometimes pairing him with a specific dog that could teach Pete, but often having to sequester him from the other dogs and people until little by little he became sociable. Pete takes on the alpha roll to most other dogs but now, he obeys me and displays his love and affection daily. He lives outside mostly, barking only rarely, but whenever I go out to feed or see him he just puts his head on my leg and soaks up the love.
Even though Pete has come a long way, we always stay with the grandchildren when Pete is around because we feel it’s better to be extra safe. We are just not sure of Pete’s limits – especially around young children. Last weekend, Pete came in the house without being invited (we have a dog door) and I had my 5 year old granddaughter over...she was sitting on the floor playing and Pete just came up to her and licked her little face. Before that day, my granddaughter had only pet him minimally and given him treats when I am there. For any ordinary family dog, this little licking gesture would not be remarkable, but for Pete, it’s a huge accomplishment.
Pete gets along very well now living outside with a large kennel and a big yard. We have one other dog now named Benson, who is definitely the submissive dog. Pete does not hurt him, although sometimes he does exert his alpha status a bit. He used to steel his food sometimes. Benson is his buddy, and if Benson is not there, Pete seems to mope a bit.
I came into Jon (and Pete's) life about 2 years ago. Jon kept him gated around me for several months until, little by little he began to trust me. Then he began to just love the heck out of me (and I him). Pete is a very strong, loving presence in my life. Every day, I feed him, walk him and pet him. I also brush and clean him. He just lays his head on my leg and moans in pleasure. This loving dog has been through so much and has been transformed into a noble creature. I call him noble because, unlike many dogs, he is not needy in any way. Pete is the canine sentinel of our property. He brings the qualities of a wise soul -- steadfast loyalty, and calm strength.
Jon and Pete are very close. I am sure that, without Jon's love, patience and dedication, Pete would not have had the opportunity to be with humans at all and we would not have had the opportunity to know such a loving, noble dog.
Jon and Pete
Wishing everyone the gift of selfless love,
Pete & Benny