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A few months ago, I suddenly lost my good buddy of many years. While I've had many dogs in my life, Jesse Lee was absolutely my dog. While she was deeply loyal and at times fiercely protective of the whole family, she was mine and it showed in every way. It hurt to lose her and I still miss her. I've gone all these months debating if I wanted to get another dog. Not so much because of my sadness over Jesse but the truth is, dogs are a commitment and maybe more so, I just didn't know if I wanted to go through that loss again.

The wife and the still-at-home youngest daughter started hinting around about it a few weeks back. They were very cool about it as they knew my feelings but their desire for another dog was not lost on me.

This past Sunday, started out like any other, but then I stood up and said I was gonna get dressed and maybe hit a couple of the local shelters. The wife and daughter were a blur of quick hair combing and shoe donning in both excitement and fear I might change my mind. As we piled into the car, the wife said she saw a couple days previous where one particular shelter had a litter of small breed mix pups. So we went there first. Well, those pups were gone but we entered the kennel area to see what they had. The wife and kid went down one row and me another.

I spied this little orange and white pup with light brown eyes and I knew right away he was gonna end up in our house. Sure enough, when the ladies saw him they melted. There was no paperwork on his cage so I asked one of the volunteers about him. She said he'd just come in on a rescue truck from Los Angeles the night before and hadn't even been processed in yet. She let us take him out to an outside cage area to test him while she looked for any paperwork on him. Well, he passed all my tests with flying colors and the girls were in love. I warned them about the trials of raising a puppy and they eagerly assured me they were up for it. I was skeptical as I know how easy words like that come in the face of a cute, cuddly puppy. But the truth was, I liked him too.

So, I agreed, we could adopt him. I was thinking he was some mix with Corgi, Daschund, and/or terrier but beyond that I had no idea. The shelter folks said they couldn't find his paperwork and beyond what they first told me they just knew he was fixed, chipped and had his first series of shots. Fair enough.

My daughter immediately named him Bentley and while I wasn't sure about the name at first, I've come to think it fits him pretty well.

When we got him home, the neighbor kid came over and said, "He looks like a red heeler." Now, I'm quite familiar with blue heelers but I'd never heard of a red heeler. Don't know why, just never had. I looked them up on the net, and sure enough, his marking did look like one, although it was obvious he was a mix.

Now, for pet dogs, I'm partial to labs (and mixes) and females. I relented on the male aspect at the time of adoption but this new revelation of it being at least part heeler concerned me. Red or blue, I know heelers to be herding dogs and that means energy. I'm a strong believer that many dog behavior problems are the result of pent up energy and/or anxiety. I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried. As attached as we'd all already become I thought maybe we'd made a mistake and maybe we should take him back. I knew he'd get adopted out in short order.

I decided to mull it over and at least get him to his first vet visit that we got scheduled for this past Thursday. Bentley quickly impressed me with his intelligence. While he showed signs of not really caring what you thought there was no question he was smart. I figured being a male and a stray of unknown background his aloofness shouldn't be a surprise but I still wasn't sure I was up for that. I mean, if I couldn't make a connection with him and combined with him possibly being seriously high strung...man, was this going to be good for any of us?

So the wife and kid took him to the vet. The wife took the envelope the shelter gave us because it had his shot records and a certificate for a free wellness check. We never looked inside the envelope because beyond that we just thought it had the contract and receipt. But when the vet opened the envelope she discovered that somewhere along the way the shelter people found his paperwork and had put it in the envelope.

Little Bentley, who I guessed to be 4mo's and the vet put at 4.5mo's had already had one helluva tough go. There was small photocopied picture of him from when they found him in LA and it is a miserable sight. He had scabies on nearly 100% of his body, was almost completely devoid of hair and was pretty much one big nasty sore. There was a line about evidence of physical abuse. However it worked out, he made his way to a foster home in Oregon where they treated his scabies and worked to nurse him to health. Eventually, he recovered enough that they got him fixed only to discover he had a recessed testicle that needed fairly extensive surgery.

When I got home from work and read all that and looked at that sickening picture and contemplated his demeanor and weighed it all out, well, I just couldn't turn back.

I'm pretty good with dogs and fairly well versed in training but I have been open to learning new techniques and ways of thinking in order to be successful with Bentley. I've already got him pretty comfortable with a crate but he's understandably a little leery still. He's only had one accident in the house and that was my fault for not noticing he'd been gone for a bit without me knowing where he was. My wife and daughter have been great and extremely attentive and involved.

I got some work to do on the backyard fence and a gate. Jesse Lee never cared much for getting out, especially as she aged but having an active pup I realize there's definitely some gaps.

There's no question Bentley favors our daughter and I know he won't be my dog in that same way but the new journey has begun for all of us. I'm committed to doing my best to give Bentley a good home and am hoping that between a little mix breeding taking the edge off the heeler, play, and work we can make this successful. There's no question he's cute and like I said, he's extremely smart, which will be a blessing and a curse but I just see it as a new challenge.

So, wish us luck folks. Bentley has had a tough start to life and I'd like to see to it that he finds goodness from here on out.





 

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Nice Heeler pup Erik.

Mark.
 
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Wouldn't hurt.:biggrin:
 

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Beautiful, what a good looking pup! I think you found a new member of the family. Cheers!
 
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Great looking pup, congrats.
 
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Like the spots! Going be a good looking companion.

All of my four legged kids have been rescues. They love no matter what.
 
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It will work. Those two faces in the first picture testify to that. I've seen that look before.
 

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For every good treated animal, there's probably 3 that are not, great job on the rescue, I too I'm looking for a dog, a outside dog, the last one we had picked us, and risked his life to be with us! He was a very loved outside family dog, indoors for only very cold nights or Thunderstorms! I'll know when the right one comes along!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, two weeks in and Bentley is doing very good. My wife and daughter would say he's doing excellent and I'm just putting too much pressure on myself (not on Bentley).

He's pretty much crate trained. He went a little crazy after a couple days, crying, barking, mad scratching, etc. I figure he had gotten comfortable and wanted to explore his new surroundings and that coupled with his obvious negative association with cages came flooding out. But, after a lot of work, even more patience, and some sleep deprived nights he's doing great. He's about 80-90% on kenneling on command and he doesn't make a peep. He sleeps through the night and doesn't make any noise if one of us walks through the living room during the night. He'll hang out in there during the day for a while if the kid is doing chores or if we're bringing in gorceries or what have you. Bentley is not real keen on just running into his kennel on his own. And that's okay. He took to a small rug in the kitchen (can't block it off due to an old arthritic cat) and I couldn't see him. So I got him another bed and if he isn't laying at my feet, which is often, he's on his bed. As long as he kennels okay I'm fine with that. Did I mention it took a lot of work and even more patience? :vollkommenauf:

Potty training is going great. He's had exactly four accidents in the house, three of them in 24hrs and all of them my fault. My only concern here is getting him to tell us when he has to go out. We were letting him out so often that he never had to really alert us in any way. We'll need to work on this.

He's learning good manners but is still of course a puppy. He's smart as can be, maybe the smartest dog I've ever had. That's a blessing and a curse. :)

One thing we do have to be careful with is tug-of-war. He's pretty good about dropping the toy but there is no question it triggers possessive behavior in him. So we take that one in short steps while we work on it. He loves fetch, when he loves fetch. There are soooooo many distractions outside that often fetch loses his interest fairly quickly. Neighbor dogs, airplanes, sticks, grass, bugs, etc. all conspire to distract him.

He does have this funny habit that my daughter calls his yoga move. He loves to push his hind legs straight back. He'll drag them this way to stretch in the morning but he also likes to lay like this when he's nawing on something. It's pretty funny.

 

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Eli, It sounds like you two are getting along pretty well. A few thoughts on potty training. I didn't want to teach our dog to bark or to scratch on the door or frame, so I hung a strip of jingle bells
by the door. Every time we let her out we tapped the bells with her foot . It didn't take long before she started ringing her "tinkle bells" when she wants out.
She also does the same yoga move in the morning. She slides her front feet to the floor and drags the back till they're off the bed, pretty funny.
 

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Firstly, Heelers are some of the smartest dogs to roam the earth. I have had heelers { red and Blue } my entire life. At first sight i can see a bit of heeler in Bently with the speckled coat, But one thing is that Heelers do not have that colored eyes, reds or blues. You can get a DNA test at the vets for $25.00. Not that it matters, because you got yourself a new member to add to the family.
One thing most heelers do is poke things with there nose, a kinda jab if you will, and all my heelers have always pushed there food bowls around.
Congrats on your new friend. Shameless Leo pic added, best smartest, fearless dog i have ever had.
LIFE IS BETTER WITH DOG !.
Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Eli, It sounds like you two are getting along pretty well. A few thoughts on potty training. I didn't want to teach our dog to bark or to scratch on the door or frame, so I hung a strip of jingle bells
by the door. Every time we let her out we tapped the bells with her foot . It didn't take long before she started ringing her "tinkle bells" when she wants out.
She also does the same yoga move in the morning. She slides her front feet to the floor and drags the back till they're off the bed, pretty funny.

I saw this other day and thought it was a pretty cool idea. We just might to give this a go.
 
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