Stories from the Writers Cubit: Love that Lasts by WrenBy Sharon Brown (Sharon) on April 6, 2010
|Here's another story from the Writers and Words Cubit. Wren has been writing stories about all the animals in her life, and this is about her most recent love, Andre, the Demon Child, a Belgian Tervuren. If you'd like to read more stories from Wren, visit the Storyteller's Forum in the Writers and Words Cubit. And if you'd like to chat with Wren, please do so in the comment threads that follow this article. The following words are Wren's.|
Love that Lasts
Andre the Demon Child
After I lost my second Dobie I decided to find another breed, but my next breed found me and I fell in love. This breed was the Belgian Tervuren, a very intelligent breed that matches my quirky sense of humor. I tell people that living with one is like living with a mischievous, hyperactive, intelligent 2 year old, and they never grow up. I have now lived with three of them. They are so smart that you must keep on your toes to outsmart them. But now I understood the breed standard: I know they are active guard dogs, and are reserved with strangers.
This story is about Andre the demon child from H__L! and why he earned his name.
After I lost Hilokee who was almost 11, I needed another dog fast. Unfortunately the co-breeder of my first one and Hilokee's breeder were not due to breed a litter for 6 months and she had a long waiting list. One of the things about our breed is the breeders do not breed a lot of them. Tervs are not a breed for everyone, but she knew of someone who had a puppy. This breeder told me the puppy was very active and with lots of drive. At that time I wanted to get back into doing obedience, agility and herding, so the puppy sounded perfect. I should have run for the hills, only problem, there are no hills around here.
Problem number one. She lived in Tennessee, and I live in Florida. Mom and I liked road trips but that distance was a little more than our normal road trip. But no problem, my sister lived in Dallas, Georgia, a good halfway point. So off we went.
Problem number two. We got to the breeder's home but she had a migraine headache. And I had to deal with her teenage son who did not know where the puppy's papers were. Well, we could not hang around all day so I picked out my new 12 week old puppy and put him into the crate in the car.
Problems number three and four. Unlike the breeders that I got my first two from, apparently no one had bothered to train this puppy to a crate or a car. He screamed and he was sick and pooped in the crate. He screamed for 45 minutes.
Finally we got back to my sister's house with the puppy that I had decided to call Andre, after my favorite author Andre Norton. His registered name is C___(cannot pronounce or spell it) Story Teller. He was great playing with my sister's two Staffies, but that night he did not want to sleep in the crate and cried most of the night.
Next morning we had a repeat of the first car ride. Andre hates the car, even to this day he will run and hide if you say 'car'.
At last we were home and the real fun began. I quickly found that he was the sweetest most loving dog I had ever met, but 'stop', 'no', nor any other word used to mean 'not to do something' were not in his vocabulary and he did not plan to learn. The curtains, the table cloth, and anything he could get his teeth into were destroyed. Once he walked past where I was working on my plugged in laptop and bit the cord in half. And food. You would think I never feed his fat butt, if food or anything remotely like food was left out, he had it. He had his stomach pumped once and there were a number of things that I just managed to catch before they made their way to his stomach.
Now I have trained dogs. My second Dobie earned his CDX obedience title. And my last Terv was well trained but I was soon at my wits end with this one. And the surprising thing was, in obedience class...yes, we went...he was great! He loves to learn except for house manners. No one would believe me when I told them that he was a little demon.
You see, to Andre life is a joke and people are the funnest things, their sole purpose in life is to amuse him. He has no idea what a stranger is, to him all people are wonderful. I found him and the UPS driver playing ball a couple of weeks ago, he also loves the postman. Guard dog? No way. But mischief, now that is his joy. He is always looking for fun things to do.
There was no question of giving him back, because for all his faults, the brat had wormed his way into my heart. So now I go through life trying to keep up with this Trash can diving, Counter surfer, Paper shredder, Mischievous demon child from H__L! Besides, he makes me laugh even when I want to kill him. I just shake my head and call him Demon Child, and clean up the mess. And he laughs at me.
How smart is Andre?
Sometimes people do not believe me when I tell them that a Belgian Tervuren is one of the smartest breeds out there. I do not mean the most trainable of the breed, but with the best reasoning ability. Now though the Golden Retriever people might get mad at me about this, a Golden is a breed that can learn anything you want to teach them, but they are as dumb as rocks when they have to think for themselves. Border collies are both trainable and can reason, but they have an overly powerful work drive that tends to take over. A Terv can learn anything you can teach them, and they love to learn, but they also think and reason. Unfortunately their thinking does not go in the same direction as yours a lot of the time.
Take Andre. He was great in obedience classes. And I was able to teach him to help me. He loves food, so will try hard to do anything I ask, IF he wants to learn. He quickly learned to pick up his food dish, paper (which he was the one to tear up), his toys, in fact anything I point to he will pick up and bring to me. The other day the bucket that i am using to prop my foot up on, got knocked out of my reach. All I had to do was point at the bucket and ask him to bring it and he did. I taught him to help me with the laundry. Now he quickly learned to pick up the clothes and hand them to me, but he also quickly figured out that if he gave me a sock, I gave him a treat and put the sock on the table. If it was something else, he had to wait while I folded it and only then would I ask for another piece of clothing. Soon he was rooting around in the bag looking for the socks. Then he started going around behind me and taking a sock off the table and giving it to me.
Now you say that only proves that he thinks about what the job is? But what about the reasoning: that of adding the things he learned together?
One day he decided he wanted a treat. First he sat in front of me and licked his lips. I told him 'no'. He licked his lips again. I told him 'NO'. He once more licked his lips and I told him no in a half dozen different negative words. He sat there and thought. He got up and went out of the room and brought me a sock. I took the sock and told him 'NO'. He sat and thought and then went and got a piece of paper and gave it to me. I told him 'NO'. He sat and thought. He got up and got his food bowl and dropped it into my lap, then stood there and I swear the look he gave me was 'DUMDUM, I want something to eat.' I laughed and got up and gave him some treats.
It is fun to watch him figure out things. You can almost see the wheels turn in his head.
Another time I gave him one of those cups of dog ice cream. When he finished, he picked up his cup and put it in my lap and sat back and watched me. Clearly he wanted more. And if I am eating anything, he will get his food bowl and give it to me.
I have to keep the door closed so he can not get clothes out of the laundry to trade for treats.
I swear that dog has a notepad and pen hidden in his fur. I think he notes down where I put things that he might want. I turn my back or leave the room for a second and he moves quickly and has what he wants...the thing may have been put away days ago, but he remembers.
Yes, Andre the brat is smart, too smart. I am still trying to keep him out of the trash can. I finally found a locking trash can that he can not get into but unfortunately neither can my mother, so she usually leaves it unlocked. Nor can I train my dear mother not to leave food out.
One day Mom asked if I knew what happened to the food left over from when she fed my dad. I looked to the heavens and counted to ten. Then I told her: "If the food is not on the counter, then you know who ate it!" She came back with: "But I pushed it all the way back."
I counted to 10 again: "MOM, he is a tall dog with long legs! HE CAN REACH!!!"
About that time, you know who came to me and I asked him if he enjoyed his food. The brat grinned at me.
One day not long after that I had had surgery on my knee. The brat came in the room with a whole roast in his mouth. "MOTHER!!!"
I think I need to train my dear mother instead of Andre. Or maybe I will just sit back and enjoy this crazy ride. I just wish I had a little bit of control over where we are going.
~My thanks to Wren for sharing her wonderful adventures with her animals~S.B.
|Belgian Tervuren, dog, dog trainers, dogs, pets, stories, storytelling, training dogs, words, writing|
|I am a retired Art and Humanities teacher. I write a lot and I paint a lot and I enjoy gardening here in western Kentucky.|
|« More articles|
Comments and discussion:
|Subject||Thread Starter||Last Reply||Replies|
|Smart pooch!||plantladylin||May 23, 2010 10:10 PM||0|
|Too Smart||Ridesredmule||Apr 7, 2010 4:45 PM||3|
|LAughing and shaking my head,||Zanymuse||Apr 6, 2010 4:54 PM||7|
|Here's my comment...||Nanubunny||Apr 6, 2010 1:05 PM||0|
|Great story!||icsmallfruits||Apr 6, 2010 9:59 AM||0|
|This is great!||Seray||Apr 6, 2010 9:26 AM||0|