Who Am I to Judge?

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She’s baaaaack!  After a indulgent vacation on an island far, far away, we reluctantly came home. This meant Lily could also come home from her week spent with another foster mommy (thanks Chris!).

Lily jumped right back into our household without missing a beat. My youngest child says she is a snow-caller because her reappearance coincided with another big snow. Lily is quite the snow bunny-

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It seems that one week was all it took for us to forget about Lily’s amazing chewing abilities. She has jaws of steel and a puppy-sized desire to eviscerate pretty much anything she can get her teeth on. Including

My lipstick….

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I left it out while swapping purses, completely forgetting that Lily is a world-class counter-surfer. Of course, the lipstick sacrifice led to the secured safety of the bag of a dozen fresh bagels that was lounging very near the edge. So far, there’s been no ill-effects from the consumption of the lipstick. Kind of assuming that lipstick is non-toxic!

A new twist on fingerless gloves….

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No comment on the green one.

and the undestroyable dog toys that were a present for my first destructive foster dog nearly a year ago and have survived every foster dog since.

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The cats were none too happy to see the return of Lily and took it upon themselves to reassert their dominion, smacking her every time she wandered innocently by their chairs.

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I love having Lily around. Despite the destruction, she is a sweetheart.

I recently heard from Foxglove’s (now Teddy) adopters as they received the results of a DNA test on their new puppy. Turns out Lily is no black lab after all. The family tree indicates that Lily is a boxer-Rottweiler mix.

I have to confess that this has caused me pause. I’m ashamed to say that had I read that Lily was a Rottweiler mix, I would have never agreed to foster her. Isn’t that horrible? It is.

I like to think of myself as a nonjudgmental person, but when it comes to dog breeds, most of us have plenty of judgment to pass around. My aversion to Rottweilers comes from an incident that happened over ten years ago when my young nephew was attacked by two Rottweilers while innocently walking down a sidewalk and narrowly escaped with his life thanks to a quick thinking passerby who fought off the dogs with a shovel and a car. The little guy required plenty of stitches and a hospital stay. I’ve been afraid of the breed ever since.

Lily has taught me that it wasn’t the breed. It was the owners. I should be afraid of people who do not care for their dogs properly, raising them with an unkind hand. I should be afraid of irresponsible people who don’t secure their aggressive dogs. I should not be afraid of Rottweilers.

I could never be afraid of Lily. She is gentle and sweet and one of the most obedient foster dogs we’ve ever had. I trust her completely. I can still picture her trusting eyes the day I met her. She was in the midst of giving birth to ten puppies in a strange place with people she had only just met after a long journey northward. I remember being stunned at how brave and loving she was, driving home thinking- how could anyone give up a dog like that?

Now, when I look into her wide face, I can picture her Rottweiler daddy. He gave her those strong limbs and broad shoulders. He gave her those powerful jaws. But he also gave her a sweet temperament, a sharp mind, and happy manner. Shame on me for judging him sight unseen based simply on his breed.

Another life lesson for this foster mama. We should never judge the heart of another – dog or person.

Maybe that’s one of the best things about adopting a mutt. You can’t hold their pedigree against them. You can only love them as the dog they are right now, right here.

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Published by

Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

6 thoughts on “Who Am I to Judge?”

    1. This post was wonderful and I have tears of happiness in my heart. Those pictures of her enjoying the snow are wonderful! I do that agree, whole heartedly, that people contribute almost 90% to the temperment of a dog but wanted to share an unusual observation about my neighbor who had two dogs from the same litter.
      From the time they were puppies, one was sweet and docile (the Male) but the female always had an “edge” to her personality. She was territorial and responded aggressively to other dogs other than her littermate. When she got older she attacked a dog at the park ( nearly killed him), she attacked the neighbors dog through the fence and she went on to attack any dog that crossed her path. My neighbor was heartbroken! She sent the dog to a professional trainer spent a lot of money on the dog and the trainer told her the dog was predatory. The trainer told her “you can’t train a predatory instinct out of a dog!” After the training, the dog attacked her mother’s dog and because she couldn’t bear to put her down she gave her away. My neighbor moved away but I always wondered about the new owner and the dog. Any thoughts on “predatory” instincts?

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      1. I know so little about dogs. that’s what I’m learning from this whole experience. my only idea for a dog like this is to place her in an environment where she can succeed. Obviously she needs to be kept from other dogs and securely controlled whenever she has any interaction with another dog. i don’t know much about predatory instincts, but just like other characteristics, they probably vary widely by individuals, as you experienced with these two dogs. My former dog, Lucy, couldn’t help by attack my chickens no matter how much we tried to convince her that they were part of the “family”. It was instinct and couldn’t be trained out. So we settled for keeping her away from them as best we could. Didn’t stop her from getting several over the years. And we didn’t hold it against her.

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  1. After all her ‘retreiver’ instincts, who would have thought that?! Too funny. That being said, I’ve never met a mean Rottweiler personally. I adopted a purebred in 1995 and she was a part of the family for 10 years – and would let my youngest daughter practically sit on her head while my pup was eating. I must say though – Lily is a breed of her own! 🙂

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