We are about halfway through the list after today, as Maisie is my 14th dog! And the next dog we got, while we still had Icy, was Chandler – aka Channie!
Ever since Lady, I had always wanted another doberman pinscher. So as soon as Pete & I bought a house in Lansing – a sizeable 1912 bungalow with a big yard – I started looking! And besides, Icy needed a pal! I started communicating with Arda of Second Chance Dobes within weeks of moving in. We emailed back and forth about what I was looking for, and what she had available. I was looking for another female red dobe – another Lady – young adult. Finally we made plans to drive there to see one that she had available for adoption.
Pete had never been around doberman pinschers…but he had heard about them! He was pretty anxious about the thought of having one in the house, due to their scary reputation. (Too much Magnum PI, perhaps?) So when I drove our minivan onto the grounds of the rescue, there were dozens of dobies running around, playing on the hills and around the pond, toys everywhere, joyful and happy. It was heaven on earth to me! I was so excited I shoved the car into park and started to open the door to jump out. Pete tried to stop me, sure I was going to be attacked as soon as I stepped out…and I WAS! With happy friendly dogs bringing me their toys and trying to be the first to be petted! It. Was. FANTASTIC!
Long story short, after meeting little Casey, Icy, and our cat Bruce – who all came along – Arda brought out a 5-month-old black and rust boy named Dakota and said that of all of her dogs there, he would be perfect for us. We chose to heed her wise advice, and Channie came home with us that day!
And perfect for us he was! He grew up with Casey, who was severely limited at the time from her JRA. He became her nanny-dog (though he could never take Icy’s place!) and watched out for her. We always teased her that she turned our “guard dog” into a cuddle buddy. But he was playful, incredibly smart, intuitive, fun, cuddly, loyal…and yes, even protective of his family.
I have so many great stories about Channie… When we first got him we elected to take him through training. We chose the trainer with the best reputation and took him. The trainer was an older lady with a very sad miniature poodle that never wagged its tail, and always looked at the floor. She pointed at us the first day and said, “DOBERMAN! You MUST have a pronged training collar on him during our sessions!” None of the other dogs got such treatment…but we got the collar and the first time we put it on him he hung his head and wouldn’t move. Wouldn’t budge. That was the end of that. I trained him myself after that, using a regular chain-type training collar. And when he had that collar on he snapped to attention and was all business! I would describe him as proud. He strutted and was instantly obedient, and showed off his beautiful self…
Another time we had to stay in a motel while some work was being done on our house. They didn’t permit “aggressive breeds”, so when we checked in, because he had the natural ears we told the desk clerk he was a rescue, some kind of lab mix, they weren’t exactly sure. And we used that trick with good results in the future also, though he was 1000% doberman!
He also got to show off his protective instincts, though he’d never been trained as Lady had. One night there was a drug bust across the street. Once all the excitement was done, the utilities off, and the house boarded up, someone wandered over to our house from there; I assumed it was law enforcement (as we had helped them previous to the bust) but it wasn’t. I had opened the big front door and saw who was on the porch and before I could close it he had his hand in the way. Chandler, who was beside me but blocked from the strangers view, curled his lip up into a snarl and stepped up to the open door. That was all it took, the man ran off. Instinct is a wonderful thing!
The last story I’ll share was the day we moved from our house in Lansing up to Houghton Lake. We had gone ahead earlier and my sister had stayed behind with Icy and Chandler to clean up before she left. Chandler had been out in the yard while the truck was loaded and when we had taken off. When Gwen let him in after and he saw the deserted empty house he absolutely broke her heart, he walked around, totally crushed and deflated and depressed…she wanted to cry. So she hurried up, got him and Icy into her van and drove the 100 miles north to get him to us; he loved his car rides, but not that one…until she got there, he saw his family and his stuff, and was once again a very happy boy!
When Chandler was 11 he developed cancer…something common in doberman pinschers. It was in his neck. Eventually he couldn’t swallow without choking. Casey and Leelan (about 2 at the time) lived with us, and one day he snapped at Leelan when he had touched his neck, then immediately slunk away. He was miserable. He was punishing himself for doing something that, in his healthier days, he never EVER would have done. The next day we said good-bye to him for the last time. But he will ALWAYS live in our minds as one of the Best Dogs Ever!