November 21, 2013

TbT: Bad Dogs Are the Best Dogs

I have been thinking about and missing my Norwegian Elkhound, Freya, lately (you can read a little more about her on my Pack in the Sky page).  I've even called Ruby "Freya" by mistake a few times, which is odd as they look nothing alike, and Ruby is a very different dog personality-wise.  The only things they really share in common are leash-reactivity (though Freya's was only dog-triggered and Ruby's includes anything that moves) and some fearfulness (one of Freya's many nicknames was "Afraida" as she was literally scared of flies. A moose-hunter she was not).

I lost both Freya and my other dog, Lasya, this July, only ten days apart.  I will write more about Lasya in the future - she was my first dog of my own and gave me little preparation for the larger canine challenges to come as she was so naturally good, nearly perfect.  Freya sounded like a screeching Banshee every time we encountered another dog on a walk.  She snapped at several people in my home.  She had to wear a muzzle at the vet's office.  She was the cause of two trips to the emergency room for poor Lasya.  She was not an easy dog.  Why, then, is it Freya that is on my mind more?   I feel a little guilty that this is the case, but there is something to be said for the dogs that take us out of our comfort zone - there is a saying about that being where the magic happens.

While Lasya was independent and self-sufficient, it always felt like Freya truly needed me.  The way she looked up at me with those dark brown liquid eyes - it was clear that I was her favorite, and it's hard not to be flattered by that.  Freya didn't care where she went or what she did, as long as it was with me.  Freya taught me how to creatively avoid other dogs, how to manage a dog that is wary of strangers and one with food-guarding behavior, and most importantly, how to love the imperfect dog.  She is in my heart on this first real snowy day in Colorado, and every day. 


  1. This is quite true - my first dog, Shadow, was not an easy dog either. We bonded so very closely that we only had to look at each other to know what the other wanted/needed. She had anxiety issues and didn't like strangers - my own family members had to earn the tiny amount of trust she extended to them and only after about 6 months of them continually trying to get on her good side. She too had to be muzzled at the vet - although the last couple of years she finally didn't need to wear it anymore.

    Blueberry is an "easy" dog and I've caught myself calling her by Shadow's name a couple of times. I know Blueberry needs me - but it isn't quite on the same level as it was with Shadow.

    Freya sounds like she was truly special to you - and you to her. Thanks for sharing a little bit about her. :)

  2. I've often thought of writing a similar post. My current dog, Honey, is an easy dog. And I love her.

    But my first "difficult dog" will always have my heart. There is something about striving with tough times that really builds a bond.

  3. I loved Freya. She was such a funny, sweet girl.


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