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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ridge Tales of Morgan and Curtis

Hello everyone. I'm new to RRUS by way of Bob, Evelyn and of course Curtis. Mr. Curtis joined our family 2 weeks ago when we made the 8 hour trip to meet him at Evelyn's. I can't really say who picked who, but when Evelyn's pack rushed to greet us, Curtis called dibs on us. When we later brought our 3 year old Ridgeback, Morgan, in to meet him, he called dibs on her too and spent most of the time just hanging out with us. We were nervous about how Curtis would handle the long trip home with strange people and a strange dog, but our worries were comforted when 2 minutes into the trip Mr. Curtis was sound asleep with his head resting on Morgan's rump. When we finally arrived home he jumped out of the car with his tail wagging (we call it his helicopter tail) and graciously greeted the rest of the family. He proceeded to make himself right at home. He loves everyone he meets, except for Annie the cat (she's still hiding out behind the safety of a baby gate), but we're working on that. He's just a happy go lucky, mellow guy. Such a joy compared to Morgan's homecoming. I guess I should explain that and what brought us to Mr. Curtis. This may take awhile...When Mark was a bachelor he had a RR/Boxer puppy named Ezzie. The key words here are bachelor and get the picture. When Mark and I started dating, Ezzie was 25 pounds over weight and the only thing Mark had trained her to do was sing when she heard music. Not a pretty picture when you're in a compact car with the radio on. She was sweet but totally out of control. It took me about a year to teach her manners and she ended up being a wonderful dog and friend to the two children who came along. She developed stomach cancer at 9 years of age and we made the very difficult decision to end her pain. When our third child turned 3, we decided it was time to add another RR to our lives. We found our Codie through a reputable breeder and brought her home at 8 weeks of age. She was a great dog who loved everyone. When someone rang the doorbell, she would grab a toy first and then greet the person as if they were there just to play with her (very unridgeback like). We lost Codie at the age of 12 almost 2 years ago. One morning she just collapsed and within 15 minutes she took her last breath with me and 2 of her kids with her. After grieving, we started to miss that love only a dog can give you and we started discussing another dog. We didn't really want to go through the whole puppyhood thing so we contacted the breeder we got Codie from and inquired if she had any older dogs in need of a home. Ironically she had Morgan, a 3 year old liver nose female who she was only willing to adopt to someone she knew. She had Morgan since she was born and had her pegged for a lure coursing career. Morgan had other ideas like, "You want me to chase a plastic bag for what?", "Well, maybe if you smeared some peanut butter on it, I might think about it." So, this is how Morgan came to live with us 8 months ago. It has not been an easy ride with her. She was used to being with 8 other dogs and one woman, so her social skills are limited. She takes a very long time to trust new people so the past 8 months have been spent just socializing her and introducing her to new situations. She handles things pretty well except in her home. The doorbell sets her off and if it is someone she doesn't know the barking and growling begins (so rude). We are still trying to convince her that she does not need to take the job of protector so seriously and that we have things under control. It's all fear based from the lack of socialization so I know it will take some time. There has been much improvement, but they are little steps. She attached herself to me right from the start (very liver nose like) and the kids and Mark take back seat to me with her. So the new family dog turned out to be my shadow who waits outside the bathroom door for me. This is where Curtis comes into the picture. We started talking about adding another dog to the that would actually like the rest of the family members. I contacted RRUS and that is how Mr. Curtis has come into our lives. We knew the new dog would have to have a temperament that would balance Morgan out and Curtis certainly fits that criteria. He is just a happy guy who loves everyone. Very gentle and mild mannered. He's not the most handsome of Ridgebacks with his sway back, short legs, scarred ears and black face which's just scary looking. Morgan comes from good stock (her brother is the #1 lure courser in the USA and she comes from a long line of conformation winners). Curtis is the Beast to Morgan's Beauty, but we couldn't have asked for a sweeter guy. He's had a good effect on Morgan in the short time he's been here. He will actually correct her when she barks and growls at visitors. he gently mouths her snout as a Mother dog would do to her pup and when he is soaking up all the attention, Morgan sees she's missing out and noses her way in for a pat. So, things are good and Mr. Curtis will start his training for Therapy work on Dec. 28 and Morgan will remain my Therapy Dog. Wish us luck.


At 11/30/2006 7:27 PM, Blogger sibtigre2 said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing. It's so nice to see the siblings get along so well together, isn't it! And Curtis - you are such a good, handsome boy! Just keep doing what you're doing! :)

At 12/01/2006 5:13 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Curtis as a therapy dog -- how wonderful! Please keep us updated on his progress with is an endeavor so worthy of pursuit. And from the reports of Curtis while in foster care with Ev, he sure seems like he would be a natural.

At 12/02/2006 4:21 AM, Blogger Mich Melis said...

What an uplifting story. Thank you for sharing. Loved the pictures from the other post and your Annie story made me laugh out loud! What a wonderful idea - this RRUS blog!


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