I originally posted this in 2008. Yesterday nearly 5 1/2 years later, we had to set Jingo free.
Just 2 days after being diagnosed with bone cancer, Jingo is free at the Rainbow Bridge running care-free and picking up sticks and rocks as he pleases! I’m sure his favorite toy, a giant blue ball that we bought for him, is with him also! Rest peacefully, my faithful friend, until we meet again!
I’d like to introduce you to Jingo, my blue Weimaraner.
Jingo has a special story.
In March of 2004 we were approached by our trainer about a very young blue Weimaraner who needed a new home. He was only 18 mos old. He was going to be put down. In 2 weeks.
We agreed to meet him, and his owners and see if he would blend into our family of a pair (brother and sister, but not litter mates) of grey Weimaraners. Now there has been years of debate about blue Weims as opposed to the traditional grey. I’m not going to get into that, I have my opinion…
Well the good news was that, indeed, he got along with our dogs–rather, he ignored them. And us. We figured this was fine, and that within a short time he would get on just fine. The bad news was that his owners didn’t tell us the whole story.
As time went on, we learned that he had been neglected. He had never been socialized, or trained. He had been a gift from a husband to a wife in an effort to ‘fill the hole’ of not having another child. Big mistake. She didn’t want a puppy she wanted another baby. So she resented the puppy. She ignored him, crated him way too much and then got upset when he jumped on her, or her 4 yr old son. She did get pregnant again, and at 8 mos along decided that having a 65 lb dog jump on her was not a good idea. So she put her foot down: either the dog went or she went. The husband was broken hearted. He had bonded with the dog but wasn’t home enough to make a difference. So he went looking for a new home for his beloved pet.
Enter us into the story. We wanted to know everything. They told us that he hadn’t been trained, and because of that he really didn’t do well on a leash. They said he liked people, but he was a little shy in the beginning. They told us he was fine. They lied.
On the first night, he went around the house and collected all the dog toys and put them on HIS bed. He claimed the living room, the kitchen and the dining room. I couldn’t get him to go upstairs, so at bed time, I crated him and slept on the couch next to him. I had no idea what he was used to, and I wasn’t about to take a chance that during the night he would destroy something precious. Needless to say neither of us got much sleep that night!
On the third day with us, my in-laws came for a visit. My father-in-law rang the doorbell and walked in the house. Big mistake. Jingo (who’s name was Griffin) froze. He didn’t bark, he didn’t even growl. He froze, ears down, tail down, head down, eyes fixed. Anyone who knows about dogs knows this posture and knows that it means only one thing: don’t move or I am going to attack. I eventually crated him, and by the end of the visit, he was resting his chin on my father-in-law’s lap. But I learned a very valuable lesson. He had no idea how to deal with strangers.
A few weeks went by and things were not getting better. Oh sure, he was fine with the dogs, but heaven forbid he should get something in his mouth! He wouldn’t let go! Going for walks was horrid! He would turn on the ‘stick radar’ and for the whole walk be scanning left, right, left, right…weaving along…looking for a stick, or a rock, or something to carry around. Finally I bought a rubber stick thinking that would help. It didn’t.
We started him in doggie day care. He would spend the ENTIRE time, 9-10 hrs, pacing around the room. No interaction with other dogs, NO interaction with people. I started to get worried. I had conversations with the vet, the trainers, friends, owners of the training center. The vet wanted to put him on Prozac. Trouble is they don’t know how to wean dogs off that stuff so I wasn’t ready for a lifetime of that. One of the trainers suggested Benedryl. Just to take the edge off. So we did. We used it before training classes, before and during doggie daycare days. We started to see a change. He was becoming more relaxed, better able to focus on us and learn to trust us.
Fast forward to present. Jingo, renamed since we just couldn’t make Griffin work for us, is now a well adjusted love. He does sometimes have issues with meeting new people, but he has shown me that he does trust me, and that he will respond to me when he needs to. He is the most loving and affectionate dog in our pack. Everyone who meets them goes away saying that Jingo is their favorite. He has a fabulous sense of humor, and is as playful as a puppy prancing around the kitchen when he thinks he’s going for a ride in the car!
He does, however, have one small problem: