My name is Ben and I have had your dog, Willard (now renamed Walden or “Wally” as I call him) since January 2017. I got him from the shelter that you surrendered him to when a member of your family passed away and you could not care for him anymore. I wanted a sled dog but ended up adopting Wally. Call it fate, but I took him on as my own for reasons even I do not fully understand. I immediately saw how happy he was to be around people, and how he especially loved children and elderly folk. Thank you for being so kind to him and showing him that humans can be trusted and loved. He is incredibly gentle with everyone and has a special liking for both of my grandmothers. You raised a dog that is truly service dog material, except for one thing; he is a total brute with other dogs before he gets to know them. I don’t know if you did not socialize him well as a pup, or if him not being neutered until I got him contributed to an alpha dog mentality. Either way, it is what it is now. I thought I could fix it. How naive I was at the time. Through years of training, I now consider it something I deal with and manage on a day to day basis. It is a huge pain in my butt and is Wally’s one downfall. Other than that, he is the perfect dog.
Wally was a couch potato when I got him. He was a bag of bones with minimal muscling. His coat looked like junk and was full of dandruff. I took care of it and switched him on a dog food made from salmon, and I gave him eggs from my chickens. He started looking better in no time. I took him in the woods on our first day together, in the pouring rain. We hiked seven miles. I am sure he was shell-shocked, but that is what I wanted. I wanted him to learn immediately that, if he lives with me, we go on adventures in the wild. It is what we do together. In less than 1 years time he has turned into what his Beagle genes were meant to do. He is a hiking monster. I mean it. He will hike forever until his legs give in, and he loves it.
So I guess that’s about it for now. He is sleeping next to me right now, happy as can be, with a full belly. He will be under my care until the day he dies. Yup. Your dog will be under the care of a vet, full time, 24/7, with love until he dies. I will most likely be the one to end his life and let him pass onto the next life. It will be an honor. I think he has a few more good years in him, even though I don’t know how old he is. And well, if he does not have many more hiking and running years in him, then he will have some couch years left. And when those are gone, just like now, I will still have his back.
I’ve always been a sucker for a rescued animal. Wally is the perfect first dog for me. Thanks for raising him the way you did.