By Jon Cornwell, Point of Purchase Manager
If you knew everything good that was going to happen to you before it happened, would you be thankful for it after it occurred? Or would you take for granted everything that happened since there was nothing to be surprised about?
Sometimes unexpected events are upsetting and best forgotten. Other times, however, unexpected events, while they may be difficult, often end up paying dividends that make us very thankful for the entire experience.
One such unexpected experience occurred on July 28th when my wife Kristi and I found a scrawny, mangy black lab inside our garage. Once we saw him we knew things were going to head in a different, unexpected direction. Since July, we’ve put about 17 pounds back on him. His coat has a healthy sheen to it. We’ve cleared up the tick-born illnesses and intestinal worms and we just completed the first of three heart worm treatments. The remaining two treatments are scheduled for the end of November.
Outside of his medical condition we also have been working with him to improve his behavior. It gave me a chance to work with some of the products we market. Some of Lazarus’ behavioral issues included jumping, nipping, excessive barking and separation anxiety.
For the jumping, nipping and excessive barking I had great success with our PetSafe® Elite Remote Spray Trainer. With time and consistent use I was able to discourage and redirect Laz from the unfavorable behaviors. He’s to the point now that I can use an audible tone on the Remote Trainer to correct his behavior. Using the spray has really become a last resort.
For the separation anxiety we began leaving him alone in the backyard for about thirty seconds at a time and worked up to leaving him back there for most of a day. He’s not thrilled about it, but has grown out of some of the excessive and destructive behavior he exhibited when we first tried to leave him alone.
With all that said, the last few months have been very difficult. My wife and I have bickered more frequently than any other time in our ten year marriage. And through it all, I’ve learned three very valuable lessons, for which I’m very thankful.
1. Learn about pet ownership, and the makeups of different breeds prior to getting a pet. Know the temperaments and nuances of the different breeds you may be interested in and what that could mean for you and your family. (Perfect example, don’t get a Great Dane if you live in an efficiency apartment!)
2. Accept going into it that owning a pet is an investment. Of time, money and emotions. Weigh the cost before getting a pet. Now while we didn’t go out and get Laz, we have learned a lot about this with him coming to us. Lazarus requires a lot of time and attention. But I can tell you first hand, working with him and seeing his behavior improve is extremely rewarding. Not to mention he’s fun to be around. Black Labs are an extremely charming and fun-loving breed. It has required, however, nights after work, mornings before work and a lot of what little free time we have. With a heavy heart, Kristi and I have weighed the cost and determined we cannot keep Laz long term. We already had one pet, a Shih-Tzu named Priscilla. She’s our four-legged daughter, and unfortunately, she’s terrified of Laz. It’s been very difficult to integrate them together. Secondly, he’s a big dog and we’ve got a little house. We don’t want him to be a back yard dog, but we don’t have the internal room to keep him inside. (See #1 above) But we are committed to getting him trained, getting him healthy and placing him in a good home. If we cannot find a home we’re satisfied with, then we’ll find a way to make it work at casa de Cornwell.
3. Pet Fostering is important. Never really thought about it before Laz, but essentially doing it has shown me the importance and need of temporary owners making the sacrifice to help save pets from euthanasia. If you foster – thank you!
All in all, with the ups and downs, we’ve made memories that will last a lifetime. Kristi and I are very thankful for Laz. He’s charmed us for sure, and now looking back, I can’t imagine the last few months having gone any differently!
As Point of Purchase Manager, Jon directs the packaging team from design and engineering to photography and tradeshows. He makes sure that when our products hit the shelves, they are bundled in the best package for the consumer and retailer. He came to PetSafe from Goody’s Family Clothing Corporate Headquarters, where he was Copy Chief in the Advertising Department. In addition to fostering Lazarus, he also has a Shih-Tzu named Priscilla.