My oldest dog, Theo has been with us since he was about 6 weeks old. He'd had a rough start in life. Some evil person dumped him and his litter mates in the woods. Luckily some kids found them and they ended up in the hands of a woman who found them homes. He was a funny little thing, his back legs were swollen from malnourishment, he had demodectic mange which made the hair fall out around his eyes, and was generally so good natured and sensitive. He had a habit of drinking water when he was upset, to the point of throwing up. We called it his "drinking problem" and imagine it was because of his abandonment.
He was also smart and eager to please.
He was our first dog, so of course we made mistakes. He slept on the bed. We didn't know how to address his abandonment issues, so he developed separation anxiety. In his early years he ate through a wall, part of a door and countless homemade dog gates. He also drank from a can of paint, chewed on a nail and various parts of game controllers and cords.
Theo playing sock elephant.
Eventually we got him a dog friend to keep him company and his anxiety calmed down, he outgrew his puppy chewing, and also eventually, his insane Labrador energy mellowed. Now 13, he really is the ipitome of a good dog, even tempered and tolerant, loving and attentive, and goofy and funny. Sometimes we see shadows of the poor puppy he was, he hates being confined (eating the old linoleum when confined to the kitchen recently), and drinking too much water when he is upset. He also is the dog that always knows when I am not felling well, and tries to sit on my lap, even though he weighs 55 pounds. And almost always, that is enough to make me feel better.
I think if there is anything Theo would say to the world is that every dog deserves a chance to be a good dog.
Good boy, Theo.
Update: after a long illness, Theo passed away April 2012. He is terribly missed.