Christina' Dogs... Asaph, Caleb, Eze and Ruach

Asaph (Ichthus Asaph HTM N.) (D.O.B. 1998)

Asaph is my lovely rescue German Shepherd. We got her from Hull Animal Welfare Trust when she was approx. two-and-a-half years old. She was found as a stray and had just had puppies. According to our vet she also had what looked like cigarette burns in her ears (there are times when I wonder about some people...) If she hadn't have been rescued by Hull Animal Welfare Trust she would have been put to sleep.

She is 'bomb proof' with people and sometimes visits schools with me. She seems to go into 'nanny' mode with very young children and enjoys playing with slightly older ones. She is also very sensitive to how people are feeling. The most memorable occasion was when I was working with a group of people and expected her to come in being fairly excited and say hello to everyone. She didn't. She ignored the rest of the group and went over to one lady quietly putting her head in the person's lap. I said 'she obviously thinks you need a cuddle' to which which the lady replied 'I do'. It turned out that the lady was suffering from severe depression. I hadn't realised, but Asaph had. I also know that she can be relied upon for a comforting head on my knee if ever I need it.

Sadly we discovered that her hips were not very good when she was 3 years old. We have worked hard to keep the balance of her enjoying her life to the full without overdoing things and making her hips worse and at age 12 she is still doing very well although we do have to keep an eye on how much she does (she would never know when to stop!) She used to LOVE agility and it is a pity that I couldn't have done more of it with her as she would be an excellent competition dog (but I knew that her hips wouldn't have managed regular full hight practices.) Her enthusiasm and keenness to work with you is a delight to work with. Her other great love in life are toys - you can see her whole face light up. She used to compete at Intermediate level at Heelwork-to-Music. After several years away from competing a few years ago I was very suprised at just how enthusiastic she was about getting back in the ring again and at her first competition back a couple of years ago she won the 'Veteran Star' trophy for the highest placed Veteran dog of the day. She has also developed a rather unfortunate habit of trying to make audiences laugh (she did a LOT of talks with me) and this usually involved her playing the fool! Ah well, she’s happy! She has also passed her Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold Award. She has now retired from all official activities but we do our best to make her feel special, from having some walks with just her and us (without the other dogs) to fun training times - it seems to do wonders for her self-esteem (if she's in the mood!) She may be deaf with bad hips and at times a bit dippy but she's so loyal, loving and a real charactor (and at times a perfect candidate for 'Asbo Granny'!) that we love her.

She has also grown from being rather stroppy with other dogs to being a great teacher of good manners to the puppies on our puppy walks. She would never hurt them but has an air about her that the youngsters (usually at the 6-months-old-what-can-I-get-away-with! stage) respect. Also, to my great suprise she has turned into a good stooge dog (rather from necessity after loosing Caleb) and although she is not very tolerant of bad manners when meeting other dogs, she is quite happy to ignore barking, lunging and silliness from the other whilst on the lead.

She is a joy to live with, being relaxed and peaceful around the house and a wonderfully fun filled, loving friend when she's doing things. She is and will always be my loving, fun-filled, beautiful, sensitive-to-how-you're-feeling, very special girl. I really appreciate having a dog where we’ve come to know each other so well over the years and she’s such a good friend (and is lying at my feet as I write this.)

Caleb (Ichthus CalebAntony) Tragically died in 2006, age 5 - Always loved & missed. My once in a life-time special boy whom I look forward to seeing again one day...

Caleb was my wonderful Great Dane. We got him as an 8 week old puppy and he and I just fell in love with each other. We then had the interesting time of bringing him up (as did Asaph.) No-one had quite prepared us for just how busy young male Danes (particularly from the Harlequin colouring breed lines) can be! Nothing he did was bad, just unfortunate due to his rather large size (eg. galloping around the living room.) He also learnt the art of not exactly running off but also not coming back either - he was well known for seeing a person or dog in the distance and disappearing off at 30mph. to visit them. After a LOT of training and going on walks without distractions so he didn't get into bad habits he greatly improved. He also managed to go through phases of being frightened of young children and men with beards.

Once he reached the age of two-and-a-half he grew up and turned into the most wonderful gentleman you could imagine. He adored most people and coped with the rest (children and bearded men included!) and had incredible manners with other dogs. He did a lot of work with dogs with behavioural problems and was very good at calming down dogs that may be frightened or a little over the top. His body language with them was wonderful to watch.

He was also a joy to live with being very relaxed and peaceful around the house and a delight to work with. He was so full of character and so cuddly and often went into 'puppy mode' with a wonderful curiosity and desire to be involved with whatever you were doing. He loved our training times together and I count it a privilege to have worked with him - we have really come to understand each other and worked beautifully as a team.

As far as I know he was the only Great Dane in the UK to have competed in Heelwork-to-Music and Canine Freestyle and it was such a joy to work with him. He was also doing very well with his Competitive Obedience training. After his sudden and tragic death we had approx 150 E-mails, cards and phone calls from people all giving tribute to what a very special boy he was and I know that I can never thank him enough for all that he taught me and the joy that it was to share my life with him. He will always be my lovely, soppy, FULL of character, funny, delightful to work with big baby boy...







Eze (Legacy's Eze Ezekiel, HTM I. Ex., FS I. Ex.) (D.O.B. 15.7.06.)

News flash! - Eze and Christina have qualified for the Freestyle Crufts semi-finals 2012.

Eze is our delightful Border Collie whom I love to pieces, however when he arrived he was a very big shock to all of our systems! Don't be fooled by the sweet photo - he was a cheeky young upstart and terrified Caleb, our Dane who used to climb over the back of furniture to avoid him! Tragically Caleb died when Eze was 5 months old meaning that the stable canine leader of the household was no longer there. Eze was going through a difficult phase and after being attacked by other dogs when he was very young he was going through his barking, lunging, growling on the lead phase. Once he reached 18 months he settled into the most delightful Border Collie I have ever met (although if you give him an inch when he's excited he'll still take a mile!) Having said that he's very obedient, loves to work and is very promising both with his training but more importantly his personality as part of the family.

He’s very friendly and is a real sweetie with everyone he meets. He has also learnt that other dogs are not so frightening and can happily ignore them (and sometimes play with them if they understand Collie chasing games!) He has just started competing in Agility and Competitive Obedience and is already competing very sucessfully in Canine Freestyle and Heelwork-to-Music having won into Advanced level in both (both with Excellence qualifications.) He has also passed his Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold Award. As well as all of this he has had some great fun doing some work with sheep, which he loves - you can tell that both of his parents work sheep.

Another thing that he has inherited from his Father is being very calm and settled when he is not working and he his very happy to settle and snooze when he isn't working or out on a walk. This is something that we have greatly encouraged because neither of us wanted a neurotic Collie! I did 6 months of research into different breed lines of Border Collies before choosing him which has really paid off. He's very sweet, friendly, fun, focused, fast and agile, intelligent, loves to work, calm when not working, great with people and good with other dogs and has really turned into a lovely boy.

Ruach (Legacy's Ruach) (D.O.B. 4.4.07.)

Finally it is my pleasure to introduce you to Ruach (literally meaning Breath of Life, or Wind of God, which seemed appropriate after having had Caleb.) He is our wonderful, rescue Great Dane. He arrived at 6 months old and if you count his breeder we are his 4th home. He’s settled in wonderfully (and now sleeps through the night which is fantastic news!) and (apart from re-wiring the car for us) is a really good boy. I’ve started his training and he loves to work (as well as cuddle) and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun together. He has passed his Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold Award and competes at Heelwork-to-Music and Freestyle at Novice level.

He is becoming more and more of a soppy baby and really does think that your lap is for doing head stands in and sinking into a down! The only thing he worries about is being abandoned which is almost certainly due to his very unsettled start in life. He found us moving house a couple of years ago very difficult but has now settled after our recent house move and is snoozing in his chair near me as I write this. No-one could ever replace Caleb but I must say he’s trying (and succeeding) in finding a special Dane-sized place in my heart.