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It’s just over two years now since Yume came into my life and boy what a rollercoaster ride it’s been. I was training at our Southern Centre when I first met him and I can honestly say it was love at first sight. He was stunning, perfect symmetrical markings on his face, brown eyes and he looks just like a wolf, a Husky. I was in love and he needed a home! I was torn, although he needed a home, I was living somewhere that was way too small to home a big dog and I was also leaving to go to Australia for a month, who would look after him? The training ended and it was encouraged, strongly, to take him for a trial. So off we set on our 3 hour journey home to Yorkshire, no idea what was to come.
Yume was a rescue dog. Someone had reported that they had found him tied up in the back yard of their neighbours garden. They had sold up and moved on and left him there. They weren’t sure for how long, he was thin and very sad.
The first four days
I’d had dogs all my life so was well aware of how to look after them and train them but what was to happen I was not ready for. Nearly home, I had decided that the dogs, Yume and my Jack Russell, Musha, could run down the mile long driveway to get their walk for the evening as it was now very late. I’d always done this with Musha and had presumed that the new dog would just follow. OMG how wrong I was. As I let them both out of the back of the truck Musha just waited for me to get going in the car, however, Yume did not. He just started running, in all directions, as fast as he could. I’ll never forget the terror I felt, for his safety, my heart rate and all the animals on the place. It was a disaster. He wouldn’t come and I certainly couldn’t catch him. He was 2 years old with all the instincts of a wild animal in hunting mode, I’d never seen anything like it. Don’t ask me how, but he did somehow make it back to where we were. Home we went to settle everything down.
It was suggested to me that I keep him ‘on line’ for a year so we could build a relationship. It went against everything in me to keep an animal that confined, so I’d taken a risk he’d be ok. The next day I took their advice and took him for a walk on line. Off we went to walk around our fields and check the horses. Oh dear, another bad choice. My horses have always been around dogs but what happened really surprised me. There we were happily walking around the field when next thing I looked behind me and the whole herd is following us. Before I knew it the lead mare had lunged forward to attack him, front foot stamping down in full force. Thank goodness I stepped in front of her or that might have been it for him. Another very stressful day of trying to keep a dog on line who looked like he’d never been on a lead before. He would pull and jump around, it was exhausting.
Day three brought another exciting event where he managed to slip away from me and took off again causing absolute chaos everywhere. People and other animals getting up set, everything was a complete disaster and my perfect looking dog was not quite so perfect.
By day four I’d had it, given up, he’d beaten me. His energy was too much, he never even knew I was in the room and all he wanted to do was run, which caused such chaos. I’d surrendered, and as I picked up my phone to call the guy whom I’d got him off something stopped me, it’s like I heard a voice, stick in there, make the commitment to work through your issues, something I’d never really been good at.
The next year was tough, but we worked day in and day out on getting to know, like and respect each other. It wasn’t easy. We still had disastrous moments, but I found a big high fenced compound that he could run free in and we could practice our recall, which helped a lot. I still took chances too early and paid the consequences when farmers, neighbours and the public vented their anger on me. We would head home with our tails between our legs and think of how it could be better tomorrow.
I have no idea why I stuck in there with Yume, only a sense of we were meant to be in each other’s lives. He has certainly brought me one of my biggest lessons, as I to used to run, run from all of my problems but he has taught me to stick in there, time and time again.
We still have occasional moments when the ‘run’ takes over his brain, but generally now on a daily basis we are settled and happy. We run or walk 90% now off line, we’ve not quite mastered the deer parks yet, but life is good and it is so wonderful to see him run free and come when I need him to. He supports all our work with the children who visit our Charity Autism Angels and he’ll often be seen laying at the feet of the children, a real gentle being. We are so grateful to have him in our lives and I’m so glad I never made that call nearly three years ago.