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Arjuna is a 9 years old german shepherd. When she arrived home, my staffy Brick was 4 years old. Brick is a great nanny, the best I could ever dream to have to help me raising a new puppy. She took care of Arj, making her feel welcome and safe. Arj was a lovely puppy, and a happy soul at home.

Arj was supposed to be a sport dog, and to compete with me in Obedience and IGP. But, from the first day, she turned out to be shy and aggressive towards unfamiliar humans and dogs. It took me  years to make her feel safe around people. For the first 5 years of her life, only three persons could touch her, and I was one of the three.

walking with a dog

Brick can't get lost, when Arj is around

It wasn’t easy for me, in the beginning, to cope with her frailty. It’s emotionally tough to see your puppy reacting with fear and aggressiveness to anything and anyone.

I decided to plan our lives in a way that she could be happy, and safe. No interactions with unfamiliar dogs, no interactions with unfamiliar people. No one could approach her, touch her, make her feel self defensive. She was living under a glass bell, yes. And she was happy.

But somehow she was always the dog who could not cope with the world, could not be trained for sport, could even not come with me for a walk if it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, with no one on sight.

I love Arj, she is my dog, and I definitely belong to her.

She is a good family dog, but is that enough?

I teach people to look for the beauty in their dogs. I want people to feel proud of their dogs. What’s Arj’s talent?

There is an old saying about german shepherds: “At the feet of the master or at someone’s throat”. She is that kind of ancient shepherd dog. Protective, wary of strangers, eager to do whatever I want, I wish or I just think (or she thinks I am thinking...).

walk with a pack dogs

Arj can be quite resolute, but she would never harm Brick

When she arrived home, Brick was the one who helped her feeling safe, and welcome.

They became friends. Brick is 13 years old now. She is becoming blind, and deaf. A few months ago, I lost her in the woods, for no more than 5 minutes. I could not see her, I started jelling her name. I was scared. This experience changed my attitude during walks. I started keeping an eye on Brick, all the time, and recalling her as soon as she was moving too far to be seen. Old dogs can get lost because they do not see us, or hear us, even if we are few meters from them.

Arj could feel my anxiety, and she became my ears, my eyes, taking care of Brick during the walk. She always knows where Brick is, and whenever she feels that Brick could get lost, she takes her back. I don’t have to ask Arj to find Brick, she knows. I don’t have to ask Arj to take care of Brick, she does it.

That’s Arj’s talent.

She is a good shepherd.

family dogs

Friends will be friends

Text and article photos Alexa Capra 10 march 2019

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