What can I even say about this dog?
Maisy’s predecessor was a dog named Roxy. Roxy was one of The Great Ones, and the first dog I’d ever had who made me want to get the same breed again – or, as close to the same breed as possible since she was a mix.
So after we lost her and the time came that I was ready to start looking for her successor, I looked high and low at every Rottweiler mix I could find on Petfinder. But after meeting dog after dog after dog, none of them really clicked. Finally, I decided to meet a dog I’d been avoiding because her name at the foster was Roxie.
I liked that dog. She was pretty unmannerly and had demodex and could barely sit still, but there was just something about her. Soon she joined our household and had a new name: Maisy.
Without going into a lot of gory detailed, let’s just say it took a long time for me to truly bond with her, and it was all my fault. Although I either didn’t realize or couldn’t admit it at the time (actually probably a bit of both), what I really wanted was Roxy II. And while I adore her, Maisy is not Roxy. It soon became clear that despite her coloration she most definitely is not a Rottweiler mix and in just about every way possible she is just about the opposite of Roxy. She was hard for me to train because she can be very hard to motivate and engage. She can be reactive to other dogs and sometimes bullies strange dogs. She can be extremely distractible. She lacked confidence and self-control.
But through it all, she has always been one of the most reliably, steadfastly sweet dogs with people that I have ever known and ultimately she taught me more about dogs, how dogs learn, and training dogs than any other dog I’ve ever known… probably more than any dog I will ever know. And as I learned to motivate, engage, and teach her and she learned how to learn from me, I also learned to appreciate her for who she is and we finally grew the bond I was worried would never come to the party. A bond between me and Maisy, not between me and Roxy II.
One thing I never did teach her and ultimately just gave up on was her incorrigible leash-pulling – and thank god, too. Because when Squash was an adolescent and I was starting to walk him in harness, he was not at all interested in getting out in front or keeping a taut leash. Too many things to sniff and pee on. And at some point it randomly occurred to me that although I didn’t have a seasoned sled dog to help teach him the ropes, I DID have one dog who 1. He adored 2. I couldn’t keep from pulling on the leash for the life of me. Maybe he would monkey-see, monkey-do?
And the rest is history. She’s amazing. She loves to pull, she loves to work. She loves the sight of her harness and around our house “scooter” is the s-word and hearing it makes her flip her shit with excitement. She’s learned to focus and take charge, and she does amazing things I never taught her to do.
So happy birthday to my best and sweetest girl, my teacher, my lead dog, my Enforcer… Happy Birthday, Maisy Bee. I love you, and I’m so glad you’re my Maisy. (And god only knows where Squash and I would be without you.)