As every owner knows, who needs the Comedy Channel when you have a dog? Melburnian Elena is full of funny anecdotes about her newly adopted Wolfhound x Great Dane, Amy, and said her favourite thing about her pooch is her ability to make everyone laugh.
“She reminds me of Ted E Bear (one of Strassman’s puppets) because of her exaggerated head movements and expressions,” Elena said. “She even looks a bit like it!”
The goofy eleven-month-old has amused her new family every day since they first brought her home from The Lost Dogs’ Home in Echuca in early April this year. Among her many quirks is her insistence on cleaning her new canine brother, George, from head to tail every night.
“Apart from the occasional despairing sigh (so dramatic), George doesn’t seem to mind all that much,” Elena laughed. “[Their] relationship is great. George is loving the extra company during the day, and dare I say it, someone to get up to mischief with!”
It was George — a young black Labrador — who first led Elena to find Amy, who was originally named Puffy. After looking for the right dog for several months and coming up short, Elena stumbled upon the adoptions page of the Echuca shelter, where she spotted her girl.
“Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t concerned with what breed we ended up with, but I knew George needed someone quite large, playful and they had to have a happy disposition,” Elena said. “Ultimately it was about the chemistry, not aesthetics.
“While looking on the Home’s website one afternoon, we came across the profile of ‘Puffy’. She was gorgeous and in Echuca. After a quick chat to staff at the shelter, I was convinced a road trip was in order.”
Taking George along for the three hour drive, Elena admitted she didn’t have the highest expectations but was hopeful Puffy would be suitable. She knew, however, that it wouldn’t be her who made the call… it would be George.
“Without trying to sound cliche — and failing — it was love at first sight! Within minutes, they were both off-lead, running around and playing in the water with that vacant expression of pure glee,” Elena said. “I knew we had found ‘the one’.”
Staff told Elena that Amy arrived at the shelter with very minimal training and Elena took to the task of teaching her pup manners wholeheartedly. In the three months since the big, bouncy girl was adopted, Elena said she has seen amazing progress and has found Amy to be quite intelligent and very trainable.
“We discovered she is a quick learner when you have training aids — aka treats!” she laughed. “Since arriving, she has mastered walking on a lead, greeting people politely and basic commands.
“She’s quite bright and has figured out how to open up cupboards and sliding doors — although I think George may have had some influence there!”
Not to say the large (41kg and 77cm tall) dog has been the picture of perfect behaviour… two pairs of shoes, a cushion, a couple of pot plants and some clothes torn down from the clothesline were sacrificed during Amy’s training.
“At the end of the day though, she is a puppy and will learn in time,” Elena said. “As issues arise, we approach them with the appropriate sense of humour and discipline, and train her accordingly.”
All in all, Elena said adopting Amy was one of the best decisions she has ever made. Not only is George happier with his new best mate, but Elena’s life is full of lot and laughter thanks to the new addition. One of her favourite memories so far was watching Amy receive her first ever bone.
“She didn’t know what to do with it and ended up deciding to bury it in a flowerbed,” Elena said. “After watching George with his for a while, she dug hers up and started chewing it, and the reburied it, looked at the mound and cried in frustration.
“Poor thing, it was like Sophie’s choice to her and all I could think was, ‘You can’t bury your bone and eat it too!’”
Elena has no idea how such a spunky, smart and hilarious dog ended up in a shelter but regardless, she is just grateful that Amy came into her life.
“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think to ask what her story was,” she admitted. “My thoughts are, that’s her past. We are her future.”
And what a bright future it is.