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When All Hell Broke Loose

From Tasmanian devil to Teddy bear

You never know what temperament a dog may bring with him. I was so in love with Teddy, a Pomeranian-Papillon mix, that I figured I could deal with any little problems that came with this five-and-a-half-year-old rescue from death row at a pound in Baltimore.
    He didn’t like children, I was told. He was touchy about being touched on his rear quarter, and he didn’t like raised voices.
    No problem. We were just two old retirees, the ideal couple for this dog.
    I’d prepared myself for this adoption. I’d read dog training books. I’d gone to a lecture from my vet, Dr. Glen Gray of Muddy Creek Animal Hospital in West River, about how it takes a patient, committed human to train a good dog. 
    Before I got to know my new pet and his habits, my daughter visited with her two children. All hell broke loose. Teddy barked anxiously as bodies moved about. I had warned everyone not to approach him suddenly. “Let him come to you. Please just sit down.” I was barking orders — “shut the door, don’t pet the dog” — as he became more and more agitated.
    I Picked him up and my beautiful rescue turned into a snarling, growling, biting devil.
    Dr. Grant didn’t touch on aggressive behavior, but I’d watched The Dog Whisperer. I grabbed his thickly furred neck and, giving sharp jerks, set him on the floor. He scampered under a chair and viewed me with great respect. When he was quiet, we all left the house. 
    Showing Teddy who was boss, me not him, was a one-time event. A few weeks later I felt it was safe to enroll him in an eight-week obedience training program. He did quite well. His aggressive behavior subsided as he realized no one was going to abuse him.
    Today Teddy is a Teddy bear of love. Time and patience — and no children — were all it took to give this dog a new life.