I showed up as a stray at the Willamette Valley Humane Society, very thin, weak and looking like a rag dog. I also had inflammation and infection of my chest due to scooting along on it to get around. It probably didn’t help that I couldn’t keep from urinating on myself. Wow, was I ever a mess. I was born with incomplete front legs, blind in one eye and was still an intact male when I showed up on their doorstep.
One problem I didn’t have was fear. I loved everyone that came close enough for me to show how happy I was. I thought that life was a grand adventure. Must be part of my Rat Terrier heritage. Life is sooo good! I think that is what saved my life and sent me where I live now. Ahhh, what bliss.
It wasn’t easy at first when my new Mom & Dad took me home. They expected me to let them look in my mouth, ears, eyes and inspect/clip my toenails. Thank heavens they were slow, gentle and patient with me. I soon learned how wonderful it is to be pampered in this way. Come on, any of you can take a look, see how much fun I am now? See what big teeth I have, aren’t they just gorgeous, all the better to catch mice now. : ) Yes, I can and do catch mice out in Mom’s yard, out by the potting shed. She says she is very proud of me, but I already know that. : )
After a week on the best of food, and adjusting to my new surroundings, Mom started me on a physical therapy routine. The time spent in a dog harness and leash really paid off. I learned how to move in a forward motion using my back legs. Mom would throw treats out in front of me; I really wanted those treats. At first I cried because my back legs didn’t know how to move forward, but she told me it would all be worth it soon. She said something about ‘Tough Love’. Sure didn’t take me long to get my brain and legs moving together, boy did those treats taste good. This was all in preparation of getting my new wheels - my very own walker special made just for me. At first it scared me, but oh boy, there are those treats again. And look at how fast I can get to them all on my own now. I can do wheelies, jumps, 360’s and I could run all over the house in seconds without getting tired. I could even chase Susie my cat sister. Sometimes she lets me catch her and we have mock battles. Then she has to go ruin it by cleaning my face with cat kisses. How embarrassing.
My new wheels
I finally graduated to outdoor training. What an adventure that was, I was not familiar with the great outdoors. The wheels didn’t work so good on grass and gravel, so Mom and I had a talk. We decided I really needed to learn how to walk on my back legs if I thought I was up to it. ‘Bring it on’, I said. So here we go again with those treats, this time not the kind you eat. Bird feathers, yes bird feathers. Did I mention I will do anything for a bird feather. Not sure why, but they sure do get me excited. Well it only took me one lesson to get the concept of walking up on my back feet, was that ever exciting.
It took many hours of massage and flexing my back legs and feet to get them strong and working, but we did it. Now my veterinarian says I am one buff looking guy. I have little hams for back legs. Want to feel my muscles? Go right ahead, don’t mind at all.
My favorite thing to do is go to school and read with the children, or tell my story to encourage them. We all have a purpose in life, would be a shame not to fulfill it. That’s what my Mom says. It’s our attitude that determines what our life will become, Mom showed me that. She was right. Look at my life now; it is filled with the riches brought by love.
My favorite science teacher
Some of my favorite kids One of Mom and Dad's grandchildren
As Petrie’s Mom, I would like to tell you how far he has come in such a short time. By the time he had been with us for 6 months he had passed his obedience testing (sit, stay, down, come and heel), there wasn’t a dry eye in the building when he finished the last part of the test. From there he went on to be tested for basic temperament in order to start schooling for Certified Therapy Dog. I am happy to report that he passed all testing and is a working certified therapy dog. In the three years he has been with us he has touched many lives besides the children he has worked with. He makes special connections to children with learning, emotional and physical disabilities. He has a message for them, ‘God gave each of us the gift of life. It is up to each of us to find a way to use this gift to do good things’. He also visits occasionally at our local rehab hospital.
One of his favorite fun things to do is go with Dad to the golf course.