One might ask how a dog can be a wonder. Here is my attempt to post about my newest family member, Sparky. Sparky is a Collie/Shepherd/Husky?? mix. He was rescued and adopted from the St. Louis Humane Society. His name at the time of adoption was "Brody". I did not care for the name but thought I would get used to it. Well, after about a week of forgetting the dog's name I decided it had to be changed. I mean who calls a dog "Brody"? The only Brody I could ever remember was the guy in the Jaws movies. I did not want to equate calling my dog with the blood thirsty shark!
So we talked about names. It took nearly 2 days to agree upon a name. (There was another Sparky in my life when I was a young girl. He was my Grandma and Grandpa's dog. He was the best dog. He would let the grand kids crawl all over him and never ever growl. He was the ever vigilant protector. He feared nothing or so the grandchildren thought. Later when we were older we found out he did have one fear- THUNDER! The dog hated storms.) Hands down, I won on the naming of the dog. He caught on very quickly to his new name. Since he was a stray, his Humane Society name did not matter to him anyway.
Sparky is a wonder because of the 8 dogs we brought into the "family" area with us, he was the only one to play ball. I always wanted a dog who was smart enough to play games. So this did it for me. Also, he seemed very much at ease with all of us. We filled out the papers and proceeded to bring him home. This was a stray dog who thought I was his protector, so he wanted to ride on my lap as I drove the 30+ miles home from the pound. It was a messy ride. He was nervous and tried to climb over the seats and children the whole way home. Needless to say, when we arrived home I was quite content to let him run. He did not go far and was more than happy to chase and retrieve the ball I threw for him.
Since Sparky seemed to be an intelligent animal, I decided to teach him some tricks. The first was to sit and heel. He did well with both. Next, I thought, let's try "shake". He caught on immediately. He was still having trouble with "come" when called. So I enlisted the help of a shock collar but I could not bring myself to push the button. I went back to offering treats as a reward for coming when called, then after a few days, just a great deal of praise and lots of attention.
My cousin has dogs that do all sorts of tricks. So inspired by her, I decided he should learn to roll over. It took all of 2 days for Sparky to learn this one. He does it on command now but only if you have a treat for him. He does not even care anymore if it is me commanding him. All the visitors to our "ranch" thoroughly enjoy this trick. Our home is not really a ranch but the neighbors have cows and horses so we call it a ranch.
About a week after we rescued Sparky, I let him out before going to bed. I heard him yipe and proceeded to open the door thinking he was ready to come in. He did charge into the house nearly knocking me down. It took two seconds for me to realize what had happened. He had been SKUNKED! He smelled horrible.
I quickly shut the door and went to the phone to call a couple of experts. The first said to use tomato juice. I check the pantry, NONE! I called another friend. He said he had viewed a show called Myth Busters recently covering this topic. Their solution was to wash the animal with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. I thanked him and got off the phone.
I looked at Sparky a basically black dog and decided I did not want to bleach his fur so I opted to use the baking soda mixed with soap. I assembled the necessary ingredients and put on a rain suit so I could give an emergency bath. I quickly found out Sparky does not like water. He almost knocked me down twice during the 30 minute bath. Finally we were finished and he smelled pretty good. I brought him in and went to bed.
Needless to say, Sparky now stays away from those cute little black and white animals. He has learned they are DANGEROUS!
This dog is truly a wonder. He is constantly finding a new way to make us laugh or impress us. With those ears perked and the nose twitching, Sparky makes us smile and happy he is a part of our family. Welcome home wonder dog! We hope to have many years with you.