Primary Friday: Puppy Love

It's been a very light practice week, for a few of reasons.  First, I have been teaching practically full time (8-10 classes/wk) plus weekends waiting tables, so I'm a little worn out.  Second, I had a touch-up session on much of my ink, so I am freshly tattooed in multiple places, making practice difficult.  And third, I spent the mid-week carefully selecting and adopting a new dog from the city shelter and I am so completely in love with this dog that I can barely stand to be away from him for any length of time.  In practice yesterday morning, I was rather pleased with myself for making it all the way to Marichyasana B before rolling over and cuddling with my new boy, who insists on being at my side at all times.

My little samurai
This is Ronin (roh-NEEN), seventy-two pounds of pure, unadulterated Pitbull love.  Without exaggeration, he is the sweetest, calmest, and most polite dog that I have ever met.

He spent two long, lonely months in the shelter with no adoption interest and nary a walk or pat on the head from prospective adopters because of a nasty but non-contagious skin condition that the shelter staff determined to be mites, but which we now know, thanks to the thorough and proactive efforts of my wonderful veterinarian, is in fact an easily treatable skin allergy.  

He was picked up off the street and brought to the shelter by animal control.  When he first arrived, Ronin had nothing but a few scabby patches of hair on his body, his eyes were infected, and he was covered with pustules and scars.  There is one particularly frightening scar at the base of his neck that seems to be an indication of brutal mistreatment, as if a rope or chain was dug deep into his flesh.  God knows what he's been through, but bless him for his ability to move on with peace and gratitude.

And bless Cesar Millan for empowering me to be the pack leader in the face of such cruelty and for revealing the power of calm, assertive energy and alignment with nature.  I have been doing my homework, watching his show and seminars on Youtube while I considered bringing a new dog into the family, and with Cesar's techniques, not only has the behavior of Opie, my neurotic, dog-hating 6 year old Aussie, been completely transformed, but the introduction of Ronin into the family has been a huge success.  Contrary to what one might expect, the abused shelter dog seems to be having a great influence on her, teaching her how to be a canine and forcing her to fall back to her place in the pack.

Close-up of his condition
If I'm being totally honest, I went into that shelter with the intention of rescuing a dog who could serve not only as a companion to me and to Opie, but also as guardian and protector.  I had eyes only for big bully-type males between 1 and 4 years of age.  And Ronin, at three years, is definitely intimidating.  His war-weary appearance and size are deterring -- he stands just an inch taller than Opie, but carries nearly thirty pounds more in muscle on his frame -- and, even though he's as sweet as pumpkin pie, he has the capability to do some serious damage.  Yesterday, he picked up a bone that Opie had been working on for months and ate it like a chocolate bar.  Suffice it to say, the boy is strong, which makes it all that more important that I remain a powerful, competent leader.

Ronin's successful integration has skyrocketed my confidence, and his submission empowers me as pack leader even more in Opie's eyes, so her anxious energy has been nicely subdued.  It's a beautiful thing when the three of us walk, Opie prancing on my left and Ronin marching on my right.  Her markings and plumage are gorgeous, and his easy aplomb is striking, even with his scars.   We receive many compliments and admiring glances.  Our walks have become the highlight of my day.

These dogs have already brought me so much joy, and I look forward to the continuation of our bonding as a pack.  With twice weekly baths and daily antibiotics, Ronin's skin is healing well, and his eyes are shining brighter every day.  I intend to email the shelter staff and ask them to send me his mug shot so I can post a before and after comparison once all his fur grows back.  He is going to be one handsome, happy dog.


  1. Great story Megan! We have 2 rescue dogs, such sweet animals. Ronin sounds like a great addition to the pack.

  2. Welcome to Ronin! And bless you for making a home for him and loving him.

  3. Beautiful!!! I am not really a dog person,but your story is inspiring. I love that you saw way beyond this pup's scabby exterior and created a place for him to blossom and shine. So lovely!