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Before the Bump.

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This is a summary of Bogart’s life before the amputation. Just some fun things we did and highlights of our time with him! 

Bogart the Hellion

Right off the bat Bogart was an amazing dog. He was smart, energetic, and wanting to please, but he was also a handful!  We knew he was going to take some effort, but figured that a few weeks of exercise would be all he needed to calm down. We were so wrong. We would get home, immediately walk him to do the dog park behind the house, spend 1-2 hours there letting him run around, get home, go through an hour of training, and after all that he would look at us like, “Whats next?” We would take him on an additional walk before bed and if we were lucky he’d settle at that point. This went on for MONTHS.

11 month old Bogart

Bogart had unlimited and unyielding energy that could not be tamed. Being first time dog owners, we had no clue how to cultivate that energy into positive behavior. Looking back, I think we built up his stamina with all of the dog park time and created an unhealthy fixation on other dogs.  Instead, we should have spent that time bonding with him and learning how to get his energy out with us.  Of course, being super dog friendly isn’t a terrible thing to be! 🙂 We quickly learned how to manage dog play and how to spot bad dog behavior – a skill we would later use to help shelter dogs.

Young Bogart playing with his friend. 

Along side of our hours of dog park time, we also put a tremendous amount of time into his training.  We felt that since we were bringing home a pit bull we had an added responsibility of raising the best dog we could.  We poured our time into watching videos by Zac George, who is a Positive Reinforcement trainer, and eventually signed up for a group training course.  His first class was a wonderful demonstration on how all of our dog park time wasn’t smart!  He threw the funniest temper tantrum, refused to listen, rolled on the grass, and Awoo’d at all the other dogs. He was so upset that he wasn’t allowed to play with them!  He turned around during the next few classes and graduated with Most Improved.

Bogart the Helper

About six months after rescuing Bogart we ended up moving a three minute walk away from the shelter where we got him. By this time his training was really kicking in and we had a good grasp on dog language. We had started volunteering at the shelter again where we met Arlie. Arlie was terrified of everything except her human and her dog friend. She hadn’t been out of the shelter for a walk in almost a year because she was so afraid of cars and strangers.  After her playmate got adopted, we brought in Bogart to fill the void.

Bogart and Arlie

Bogart was an excellent friend for Arlie. His calm and playful nature balanced out her anxiety, and whenever her play got too rough he would back off. We would take him over to the shelter twice a week before work for playtime.  Eventually she was bonded to Bogart enough that she would crawl out of the shelter behind him and make the three minute walk to our house. Here they would play again, then make the journey back.  With Bogart’s help and example, Arlie gained the confidence that had been gone for 11 months. She was adopted 5 days before her 1 year shelter anniversary and we all credit Bogart as the reason. We ended up using Bogart to help other dogs as well.

Callie, Bogart, and our roommates’ corgi, Winston.

Bogart the Brother

In the Spring of 2018, Thomas and I came to the realization that both of our companies were at risk for going down. We work in the video game industry where jobs often last 2-5 years before you go to the next project. We were living in expensive San Francisco and knew if either of us lost our jobs it would be catastrophic to our survival. We decided to start looking in Austin Texas for work.  We were fortunate enough to have a contact who got us interviews with his company in July. We used this opportunity to take a vacation and meetup with our families in San Antonio. It was here where I got the phone call that my company was shutting down and I was out of a job starting the next week.  It was also here, and that same day, where we found Benny.

Benny was a stray who was in rough shape. We called Animal Control and decided that if he was still available when we moved, we would adopt him.  We both ended up getting hired by the company and moved to Texas two weeks later. Bogart, who usually was excited to have other dogs come to his space, wanted NOTHING to do with Benny. Bogart would leave the room when Benny walked in, and Benny would slyly find ways to cuddle up to Bogart.  It was cute watching their back and forth antics and eventually they became brothers.

 

Bogart the Agility Dog

When we got Benny, Bogart’s training went out the window.  Benny was such a handful that all of our attention was focused on him and we often left Bogart on the sidelines.  To make up for his lack of attention, we would take Bogart to dinner with us or out on solo trips. We always made sure to set aside time for Bogart.  Over time Benny started to calm down and in the Spring of 2019 we signed them both up for an agility class with Zoom Room.

Bogart EXCELLED at Agility!  His mind, which we hadn’t been working as much, was made for it. You could tell he was thinking and loved the physical requirements to get through the obstacles.  Some dogs just get it, and Bogart was one of those dogs.

He made his way through the first set of classes and quickly graduated to the next level, leaving Benny and his peers in the dust. He was beginning to work on some of the more advanced contact obstacles (A-Frame, Dog Walk, Teeter) and as always, was learning them well. He had no fear of heights and was often used as an example in class on how to do them properly and safely.  I know I am bragging, but I am extremely proud of what we accomplished in this time frame and had big plans for him to become a future agility champion!

It was in the Summer of 2019 when we started looking to get into our first agility trial. We hadn’t yet decided on a venue, but knew it was only a matter of time before he was ready to begin competing.  It was at this same time when we discovered the bump on his leg that would change every plan we ever had for him.

 


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One Response to “Before the Bump.”

  1. jerry says:

    You have such a great way of telling Bogart’s story! You paint so many fun details and give such a helpful peek into your life together. I loved meeting Arlie and Benny too. Bogart has a way with dogs, he’s clearly the one and only Dog Whisperer.

    P.S. When Admin Guy and I look back at all of the dumb things while raising Jerry, we cringe. That first heart dog is always such a learning experience isn’t it?

    Love the blog. Keep on keepin’ on!

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