Trooper, a 11/2-year-old, 65-pound German Shorthaired Pointer-American Pit Bull Terrier mix, arrived at the Northern Arizona Second Chance Center for Animals without any social skills. Named after his first owner’s position in the Marines, Trooper was relinquished when his owner was sent to Iraq.
“He was very, very timid,” says Second Chance’s Diane Jarvis. “This huge dog would cower in the back of his kennel.”
A volunteer dog trainer came in to work with Trooper, and everybody at the rescue made an effort to help socialize him by petting him and giving him treats. Within one month, Trooper was comfortable with women, but still shy around men. “Everybody loved him,” Jarvis says. “He had these big beautiful eyes.”
Two weeks after their honeymoon, Seth and Jane Muller walked into Second Chance rescue. “We didn’t want a puppy,” Jane says. “We wanted a larger dog, but not huge. Shorthaired and housetrained.” As she looked around, her husband saw Trooper. “This dog with these beautiful amber eyes was staring right at me,” Seth says. “I felt like he was picking me. I called Jane over and said, ‘I think this is our dog.’”
Jarvis recalls that when Seth walked up to Trooper, he didn’t walk away. “For whatever reason, he trusted me,” Seth says.
Today, Trooper, renamed Tanner, spends a lot of time hiking with his owners. “He loves to go outside,” Jane says. “But he also mellows out. He is a really sweet dog.”
Jennifer Quasha is a DOG FANCY contributing editor and author of Don’t Pet a Pooch While He’s Pooping: Etiquette for Dogs and Their People (BowTie Press, 2004, $8.95). She lives in Connecticut.