I fell in love
with my beautiful Bewitching Tyra as soon as I saw her. There were little
pups at the kennel, but I was smitten by her. She was 20 weeks old when
I adopted her.
I put that furry girl on the front seat of my truck
at 3 o'clock on Monday February 3, 1992. She put her head on my lap as I
backed onto the road, and never lifted it for the five and a half hour drive
home. I didn't want to leave her alone in the truck, so I only stopped at
gas stations with full service, and passed my credit card out the window.
I cannot describe how excited and happy I was that day. I never felt that
good before, and I doubt I will ever be that happy again. At the age of thirty-eight,
a lifelong wish and dream was now fulfilled.
As I left the Toronto city limits behind I began to
hear a strange noise which really scared me. It sounded like the radiator
or a hose was spewing fluid every couple of seconds. I pulled off the highway
and stopped. When there was no more wind noise, I realized it was the poor
frightened pup exhaling through her flews.
I was a first time dog owner, and now I was responsible
for a huge Kuvasz pup who growled at literally everyone but Karen and me.
A vet and a dog trainer each told me she was going to be a fear biter. They
were experienced individuals, who thought her lack of socialization and exposure
to normal stimulus would be the death of her.
Despite the gloomy predictions about Tyra’s future by
the experts, I knew in my heart that if I spent the time I could shape my
companion’s personality and she would be a nice dog.
I took her to downtown Ottawa every single noon hour
for most of February, and all of March and April. My pockets were full of
treats, and every single person who came toward us those noon hours got a
treat to give my girl. Ironically, the pride I felt being with her, hid any
fear she might have sensed from me. My uneasiness was not fear of these strangers
as she might have thought, but fear that she was going to eat one of these
people on my behalf.
As each day went by our confidence in each other grew.
On the last day of May we met a woman with two little boys. They gave Tyra
treats and pet her while I bragged about her. A few minutes went by and
then it was time for us to continue on our walk. I told her to heel when
the traffic light changed. She didn't move. When I looked back I realized
both the little boys were standing on her tail. She hadn't even glanced at
them. Time had turned Tyra around.
On Canada Day July 1 1992, Karen and I took Tyra to
Parliament Hill. We joined one hundred thousand people who gathered to watch
thirty minutes of thunderous fireworks. She met many of the people, and then
the fireworks started and I sat on the ground and put my arms around her.
Her heart was pounding wildly, but she sat there calmly with me. People around
us commented on how well behaved she was.
I knew an old fellow who had many different dogs in
his lifetime. He had a theory about raising a dog. When I got Tyra he said
to me, "to train a dog you must be smarter than the dog." He never had a
Kuvasz. Tyra (the female equivalent of Thor the god of thunder, because her
growling at people in the early days sounded just like rolling thunder) taught
I still have a lot to learn about dogs in general and
Kuvasz in particular. As slow as I am eventually I do learn. Tyra brought
me so far along. That's why I feel so badly she spent the last weeks of
her life confined after patella surgery. Amiga and I were with her literally
all of the time, but at the end all this fifteen month old puppy could show
us was how to accept the worst circumstances.
Any dog can be a great dog if someone spends time with
them. I really believe it just may take a little more time with a Kuvasz.
Triumph and Phantom teach me my lessons now.
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