Guido's Story

A few days before last Christmas I decided to give my husband a dog for Christmas as a "surprise" (our Pugs had recently passed away leaving an emptiness in our lives). We had fallen in love with our friends' Boxers (one of which came from Boxer Rescue). I secretly visited Boxer Rescue, explaining we were 50 years old and my husband would want a dog to match our "more mature" lifestyle. Ursula told me she had the exact dog I described. They had picked him up from a shelter (who was going to put him to sleep due to a massive wound infection), had surgery performed (a foot-long incision from the top of his back down his front leg!), and he was being nursed at Ursula's home. Ursula counseled me that it was better to have my husband part of the "choosing process". I went home depressed that I couldn't surprise him. I talked with my husband about getting a Boxer and he wasn't very excited (boy was I glad I listened to Ursula!). However, the day after Christmas he woke up and said "let's go to Boxer Rescue". We called Ursula and "our Boxer" was still being nursed by Ursula. She brought him to the kennel for us to meet. He was so beautiful, loving, and well trained . . . exactly what we wanted (Ursula must have a sixth sense in matching Boxers with prospective "parents")! He obviously had a good previous home because he would on command, sit, lay down, and walk obediently on a leash--I am convinced there is a very sad person out there who somehow lost his loved pet. We took him home that day (after going to the pet store and buying tons of things to spoil our new family member). One funny thing happened before we left: My husband proudly told Ursula we had 8/10 acre for the dog to enjoy and she looked him straight in the eye and said "So . . . all he cares about is the square foot you are in!" That's the best description of a Boxer I have ever heard.

Now, in all honesty, there was an adjustment period. We both work and, while we spent as much time as we could with Guido (because of his unknown past he had no name so we gave him an Italian name to fit my husband's Italian ancestry), during those lonely days Guido did let us know he missed us by chewing up a few things (waste baskets, my sewing basket and my husband's back rest from the bed). My husband threatened to take him back but I told him "You will go before the dog" whom I had fallen head over heels in love with. Those episodes eventually were replaced by Guido taking one of my husband's slippers or other item out onto the driveway each day--not damaging them, just depositing them as a message that he didn't like us gone (we'll never know how he got my husband's feather bed pillow out the dog door or why he chose one of the few days it rained to do it!). I am pleased to say that the adjustment period ended and now only rarely do we come home to a slipper in the driveway. Instead we come home to 
Guido crouched down watching under the gate for my husband to arrive (how does he know it's 5:00pm?), to his "talking" to my husband the minute he gets out of the car (a howling sound only Boxers make), and to his unmistakable demonstration of love and affection.

To show how much Guido has made his way into our hearts, he goes everywhere with us on our days off (he is so well mannered that we never have to worry about him around children or persnickety people), instead of sleeping in his bed he now sleeps with us in our bed, and friends recently gave us a painting of him that hangs in a place of honor in our family room. 

For those of you with allergies or asthma, after a couple of months of desensitizing, my husband who has had asthma since childhood has no reaction to the dog as long as we bathe him weekly (he cooperatively walks into the shower every Saturday morning).

For those of you with kids or grandkids, after a period of getting to know each other's quirks and personality, our grandkids love Guido (they know if they run, they may get knocked down because he thinks they are playing and he knows to sit when they tell him "sit" or to calm down when they tell him to be "nice").

A bonus . . . to use up some of his energy, I take him for long walks as often as I can which results in me exercising, too.

After almost a year, we can't imagine our life without Guido. I almost cry each time I think he was almost destroyed by a kennel. All the joy we would have missed!

P.S. He's really smart. We taught him several tricks including playing dead (laying down and rolling over) when we point our finger at him and say "bang". This came in handy one day at the vet's when Guido had a rash on his belly. The vet couldn't get him in a position to examine his belly so my husband pointed his finger at Guido and said "bang". After Guido rolled belly up, the vet looked at my husband and just said "I don't want to know . . ."

Cathy Vallevieni

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January 2005 Newsletter



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