Listening to the neighbor’s nonstop barking dog made me grateful for the dogs I’ve had in my life.
Max and my beloved Piezon (Paesano in Italian who is now gone 😥) have been fully obedient and only bark when someone is near our house or approaching the door.
If you don’t mind indulging me, I’d like to share about these faithful, soulful creatures. Both are black Australian Shepherds and look very much alike.
Max, my present beautiful boy, is ten years old. We adopted him when he was three, and he was obedient right from the start. Not to mention, he’s pretty calm for an Australian Shepherd.
His focus during training and play activities is unshakable. He’s so smart, you can see him thinking.
In contrast, my beloved Piezon was not calm and rarely relaxed. I couldn’t get him to focus, yet somehow he was easy to train and just as obedient as Max. He had such high energy that it took him a few circles before he settled into a lie-down or sit pose, but he always did what he was told.
However, don’t mistake Piezon’s high energy for hyperactivity, like a terrier. His energy came from joy. His cheerfulness never waned, so he appeared excited to be alive all . . . the . . . time. He loved life like no other living being I’ve ever known.
Max, on the other hand, can get really relaxed and is a moody guy. There are days he’s filled with joy, and there are days he mopes around. Sometimes he even grunts as if he’s frustrated. I was so used to Piezon’s cheerful disposition, that I worry Max is sick when he gets mopey. I have to remind myself, he’s just different.
Piezon used to help me around the house. For example, he used to follow me when I carried dirty laundry to the machines and pick up loose socks for me. He’d get the remote or shoes. He’d be so excited to help out, he’d wag his entire body and make sounds of giddiness.
Max doesn’t help me out with physical duties, but he’s a compassionate guy. He seems to sense what I’m feeling even before I do and will snuggle up to me. He gets right under my feet when I’m emotional. When I’m angry he puts his head on me to calm me down. When I cry he licks away my tears.
Piezon reacted to emotion in a different way. Because he couldn’t sit still, his hugs and snuggles didn’t last long, but he did give them. His temperament didn’t seem to understand other emotions outside of happiness, but he would come and sit by my side to let me know he was there for me. Speaking of sitting by my side, the only time he ever really got calm was during prayer time. He instinctively seemed to know something and relaxed beside me during my meditation time.
Neither one of them have been fearful of anything, not even thunder or fireworks. But at times, Max gets unsure of situations and seems a little worried. For example, he likes car rides, but gets anxious. He’s worried about where we’re taking him and just wants to get to the destination. He is wary of strangers at first, but warms up after a quick sniff.
Piezon loved everyone immediately. His car rides were an adventurous journey for him. He didn’t care about the destination. Once we arrived somewhere, he’d turn around to go back in the car for another journey. As I wrote in Piezon’s eulogy, he never worried and was afraid of nothing.
Neither dog was mischievous, and rarely got into trouble. Only once Piezon ate an entire loaf of banana bread. It was rough sleeping in the same room with him that night.
Only once (recently) Max ate an entire pack of gum out of my purse. That was dangerous, because certain types of gum can kill a dog. Thankfully, mine wasn’t that kind.
Aside from those two incidents, my dogs have been complete angels. It’s not because I’m biased either. These dogs are unbelievably smart and tuned into what their people want or need.
Both of these guys melded into me, becoming a part of my soul. A huge chunk of me was cut out when Piezon died. I just hope there’s something left of me when it’s Max’s turn to leave.
UPDATE: We said goodbye to our sweet Max on January 8, 2020.
What about your pets, past or present? Are their personalities markedly different?