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The Story of Luke

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The dog in this story started his life on New Year’s Day 2004 in Mineral, VA. His mom and dad are AKC Registered and come from the West German Seiger Show lines, hence his reddish color. When he was old enough, he was sold to a family that lived nearby. (I think they named him “Zeke”.)

When he was about 6 months old, “LP” (the breeder) received a phone call that he had been run over by the family’s SUV; the owners remarked, “Well, we didn’t see him, and he didn’t move.” It turns out that they weren’t treating “Zeke” very well. They were keeping him tied outside and his diet was lacking, to say the least. Since this family didn’t have the money to provide the veterinary care “Zeke” was going to need, “LP” took him home with her and told this family that they would not get him back when he had recovered. The vehicle had rolled right over him, breaking his right hip.

Fast forward two months…I had recently lost my German Shepherd, Megan, to old age and spinal stenosis. Even with 7 dogs, my “pack” did not feel complete without a shepherd, so I asked around for the name of a responsible breeder and was given LP’s name. When I gave her a call, it turned out that she had a litter of puppies that would be ready to go in about a month. I made arrangements to drive out there and pick out a pup and leave a deposit. While on the phone with her, she mentioned she also had an eight month old male that she wanted to find a good home for and she told me what had happened to this dog. At this point I already had seven dogs, I was really only interested in the pup. But there was something else at work here; I still don’t know how to describe it … a sense of deja vu, but skewed…it felt very unsettling at the time.

A couple of days later, I drove out to the farm (about two hours from my house.) When I got there, LP took me down to the kennel to see the puppies. What a cute bunch! There were nine of them falling all over each other to get my attention and it was very hard to pick just one. I finally settled on a little female, whose name would be Lindsay. LP then let this older pup out to play with them. She had been calling him “Max”. They seemed overjoyed to see him, jumping on him and trying to grab his tail. She told me he and these puppies have the same mom and dad, so they were full siblings (eight  months apart). He was very gentle with them, trying not to step on them as they swarmed around him. Other than a funny twist to his tail, he showed no evidence of having been injured.
Then he looked up at me. And it wasn’t just “at” me…he looked me right straight in the eyes. I felt that strange shift again. He came over and leaned into my legs, as if to say “what took you so long?” LP was astounded, as he had never done that to anyone, not even to her.

I put a collar and leash on him and we walked around her property for a bit. He immediately fell into the “heel” position, right at my side, not pulling ahead or lagging behind. When I stopped, he sat. There was just no way I was going to leave without him. LP was a little hesitant at first; she didn’t know me, and she wanted be very careful about who she let him go to. Because he had been injured, she was not looking to “sell” him again; she just wanted him to have a good home. I offered to send her pictures of his new “siblings’, where he would be living, and the name of my vet, if she wanted to call him and get a reference.

So, I came home with him that day. On the way home, he was in the front seat of my van. He settled down and had stretched out so that his head was resting on my leg. I was thinking about what I was going to call him.”Zeke” just didn’t do anything for me, and I already had a “Max”. Once more, that strange feeling came over me and the name “Luke” came into my mind. I looked down at him and he was looking me right in the eyes again. It was as if he was saying “Hey, did you get that?” Yep, I got it … Luke it will be.

I went back a month later and brought Lindsay home. They had a fine reunion! At that point, I was up to nine dogs. {On Luke’s first birthday, two puppies were dumped on our road: Enter Murphy and Emma to the pack, putting us at an all time high of eleven dogs}.

I called the vet where he had been treated when he was injured and had them send his radiographs to my vet. As we looked at them, even I could see that his hip had been pretty well smashed. Dr. A. went over him and said he had healed remarkably well. The best thing we could do would be to keep him a little on the lean side, and build up his muscles to support his lower back.

A few months later, I enrolled the two of us in a Canine Agility class. At the end of the seven week class, they had a “field trial”… we came in second! Since he enjoyed it so much, I built an agility course at home, and when we would go through the course, the other dogs would follow along.

He has always been an intense individual and needs to feel like he is doing something. I decided to intensify the obedience training with the goal being to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. When the evaluators saw what he could do, they suggested he also take the Therapy Dog International test, as well. He passed them both with perfect scores.

In March of 2006, I had the opportunity to do a demo at a wallcovering workshop in Springfield, MA. The title of the demo was “Get the Dog, Get the Job”. Luke won over the participants at the workshop and has attended the annual event ever since. It’s the one time each year when we are lone traveling companions, riding up the road, staying in nice hotels, and partying with the paperhangers.

Due to old age, we’ve lost six of our dogs over the last four years: Oscar, Nitro, Hannah, Chevy, Max and Asa. But Luke is going strong and reigns over his pack with gentle discipline and an even temperament.

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