Seriously Epic

That’s the dog’s full name.  Seriously Epic, but we call her Epic(a) for short.

Rescue-Dog-Mexico-Epic

Epic, our awesome dog.

Maret informed me that I hadn’t actually done a post about our new dog so here it is!

For decades our kids have asked for a family dog.  Back when we had just Layne and Rauchelle we did the dog thing for awhile.  We dog sat Banjo {that was a sorry excuse for a dog.  However, I give him more credit than I naturally do for chihuahuas that are more like overgrown rats than dogs (sorry to chihuahua lovers, but I’m free to have that opinion ….and I know I’m not alone!)} but Banjo was in a sorry state: old, nearly blind and deaf.  Before his owners had even left our acreage I thought that dog was going to die either from heat stroke or a seizure, especially when he rolled into a pot hole in the drive way and he couldn’t get up!  Like a turtle on its back Banjo yelped and yelped, and snapped ornery-like to anybody who offered help.

About the same time that we were dog-sitting Banjo we rescued Keisha from the SPCA. A beautiful Alaskan Malamute who easily fit Banjo’s head in her jaw.  Keisha thought we didn’t notice her slowly climbing on to our lap; first her chin, then a paw, then another one.  We would chuckle, knowing the back paw would claw at our lap, at which we put a stop to this 75 pound lug climbing right atop of us.

Keisha wasn’t with us for all that long.  But during the winter Everette created a harness to connect her to a sled to take the girls for a ride.  She LOVED to crouch down and pull….malamutes are made for that.  She was a wanderer, a chicken-stealer, a howl-er clearly related to wolves.  Eerily, she disappeared from our lives that summer.

We had better luck with our kittens, Gemana and Charlie (Chaplin) that lived long cat lives for about 18 years each, quite an accomplishment for outdoor cats on acreage with hungry bald eagles and such.

Traveling just doesn’t seem conducive to having a dog.  Maybe taking the four-legged family member with you when you Hit the Road, that’s understandable (and expected?).  But seriously, why get a dog when we’re already traveling?  Packing 9 of us in a 15- passenger van is bad enough, then to add a dog-breath creature?  Crazy.

Well, some people see a dog as protection (like a gun)…but still legal to cross international borders.  Sure, Epic might be a good guard-dog, alerting us to people approaching our abode.  But that isn’t the reason we got an intimidating black dog with a good bark (that jumps from fright if I toss an empty cookie box within earshot).

The real reason we got let Maret get a dog was because honestly…dogs are her forte.

Forte: a person’s strong suit, or most highly developed characteristic, talent, or skill; something that one excels in.

We weren’t absolutely positive this was going to be a smart move, to take on not only a dog for our big traveling family…but getting a BIG dog!!  Crazy!!  But we did.

“Dixie” was a rescue dog.  About the time that snowbirds headed north before Easter she showed up, abandoned at a construction site in a wealthier expat part of the Lakeside Community here at Ajijic-Chapala, Jalisco state, Mexico. The racquetball community of people took it upon themselves to make sure she had food and water every day while they posted pics online and FB to try and find her a home.  She was looking like she had been taken care of, so she wasn’t an actual street dog out supporting herself.  But two weeks passed; she was unsheltered and chilly in the unexpected heavy rains of early April (rainy season doesn’t start until about June 15th).  When it was apparent that “Dixie” had sustained a gash on her left back leg that needed attending, John coaxed her with food and she willingly hopped in his car for a ride down to the vet’s office.

Dr Louis stitched up “Dixie”s leg and housed her at the clinic for a few days while a notice went out for somebody to be able to foster her until a permanent home could be found for her.

In stepped Maret.  She had been monitoring the needs for fostering pets here in the Lakeside Community, had even offered to do some of the fostering but none of it had worked out for her.  Yet.

After spending usually 6 days a week last winter volunteering at the dog ranch, she was wanting something more hands on, so me-thinks, something she could have more positive effect on rather than just washing bowls and taking dogs for short walks.  Some entity to pour her love and knowledge into on a 24 hour basis.

Over the years Maret has invested hundreds of hours researching dog training and behavior mostly via YouTube.  Her and I often end up in discussion about the different philosophies behind dog training (Dominance Training  vs Positive Reinforcement) very much like the differences in child training of which I can totally relate.  So although I am typically not interested in dogs (and even afraid of them!  Yes, a slight phobia) this was something that united us.

We agreed to take “Dixie” as a foster dog, to help her mend back to health, put some weight on while we waited for her fur-ever family to show up.

"Dixie" the first day

“Dixie” the first day

She was somewhat timid, wary of her new place, the tight quarters to share with 9 humans.  She bonded with Maret almost instantly, following her throughout our suite.  Every time Maret got up to move “Dixie” was there immediately.  And of course, Maret was the one to feed her consistently so her attachment increased exponentially with just that gesture.

I didn’t feel (much) intimidation from this large black dog in our home.  She accepted petting and quickly revealed her silly bum-in-the-air-for-an-intense-rub idiocyncrosy.  At least half of her body sways in each excited wiggle, adding weight to that moving thick tail (ask Laars how that feels at his 8yo height!)

The vet figured she was about 1-1.5 yrs old, still very much puppy.  She showed her good side to us enough that we decided within 24 hours to change her name to Epic and make her ours.

Well, really she’s Maret’s.  She is responsible for all things pertaining to the dog (except paying the bill…she puts in what she earns but not being able to work here in Mexico is a bit limiting to a 15yo…but keep your eyes peeled regarding her incredible digital art for your 4-legged friends….coming soon).  And in just the 3 months we’ve had Epic Maret has done fantastic work with her.  Epic is quite a quick learner, and Maret has taught her many things (Gracias, Victoria Stilwell & your Youtube videos) in a short period of time.  They appear to have a great relationship.

I know there are times when Epic seems to go backwards in her training and Maret gets frustrated, but I equate it pretty much to parenting and homeschooling.  You think your kids have learned a new lesson in life only to discover a (temporary) set-back.  Such is life!

The hotel is full of dog owners, and many comment about the natural relationship and intuitiveness Maret seems to display with all the dogs.  No wonder she’s been getting dog-sitting jobs frequently now!  She picked up some ideas at the dog agility that was held here at Hotel Perico, and even received some individual training by some of the event organizers.  And she’s considering developing a career with dogs (possibly) in the future.  We didn’t let Maret get a dog just because she asked….we felt there was something erupting from within her, some talent trying to spring forth.  Seems like we were right.

 

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