We received Hunter “Jake” in May of 2001. When he came to us he was such a wreck. He only weighed 75 pounds and his hair was very mangy. We immediately got him on a good food and supplemented his diet with vitamins, especially “E”. He had been neutered right before we got him so I didn’t take him to a vet for about 2-3 weeks. During which time we tried to get him to adjust to living inside of a house, since I think he spent his whole life in a kennel. He was afraid of everything, and I do mean everything. He wouldn’t leave the living room even if you dragged him. He would run right back in to the living room sit patiently on the edge of the carpet until you returned He wouldn’t move an inch and would look so happy when you returned it almost made you laugh. He wouldn’t walk through doors, wouldn’t go near beds or stairs or anything for a long time. We used to have to put him in his kennel to settle down because he was so stressed out. We felt bad for him and didn’t know what we had gotten ourselves into. We were worried that he was completely wrecked. But he was so absolutely sweet and gentle we just couldn’t give up on him. And actually, he came around rather quickly. He tries so hard to do what you ask him to do.
So now it’s almost May which means we have had him almost a year. It doesn’t even seem like the same dog that we started with. He is a true testament to the bravery and unwavering spirit of a Chessie. No matter what they’ve been through, they never seem to give up the hope of being loved.
Good old Hunter, We have had our share of laughs over the year. We had him trained to hunt. That was really hard on him. But, he did a great job when he was at the kennel club. However…………………The first time my husband took him duck hunting, when everyone shot for the first time, Hunter took off in the opposite direction. He ran across the entire island, jumped in the river and swan across to get to another island, where my brother found him sitting 1/2 hr later like he was expecting to be picked up and it was no big deal. they took him back to their island and tied him to a tree while they finished their hunt . He proceeded to dig a hole and play with Rick the rest of the afternoon. Never flinching at the gunfire. That’s Hunter. Who knows what he is going to do. Bryon took him pheasant hunting a few months later. Hunter stood by the truck the whole time. He wanted nothing to do with it.
We decided not to give up on him. He loved to be outside and when we had him trained, he did a great job of hunting and retrieving. The next pheasant hunt he stood by Bryon instead of the car. We felt like that was a major improvement. The third time was a charm. He stood by my husband most of the time until about halfway through the hunt. Something clicked in his head and he started hunting. Running like a dear with his nose right up in the air. Not down on the ground like the other dogs. Straight up and prancing. We laughed at how happy he looked.
It turns out he is a great hunter. He has a great nose too. Who would have thought.
But, I do give us some credit. When other people would have probably given up on him, we just kept coaxing him on. He’s just not good at new situations. It takes a while to be o.k. I think that he thinks he getting taken to a new home (because he’s had so many). He’s afraid of being left somewhere. Now, he is my shadow. He follows me everywhere. When I blow dry my hair he has to stand there with his head down to be petted. His big furry lips flopping forward. He is a big baby, I hope that people read our story and learn that dogs can do a lot of rehab if you love them . Don’t listen to other people, you know your dogs heart. and I do believe that Chessies have an unbreakable spirit. They are such a beautiful dog and they get so unbelievably attached to you. You become their world, that is for sure.