This is Simba, he is a German Rottweiler, here at 5 weeks. He came from a litter of 10 and being the only male he was given a small dot on the head to differentiate him from the girls.
At six weeks this boy never looked back. Just look at those paws! I knew he’d be a beast!
I spent the first month with him with my hands and fingers in his mouth. I prefer to get the nibbling out of the way before they can swallow you whole! Simba learned quickly and now at one year he is so gentle you can barely feel him take your arm. Simba was Sean’s puppy and he had to take him while he was renovating the house he would live in. That meant I got to keep Simba with me and begin basic training for the first 4 months. I knew he was exceptional from the start. Even then, I secretly wished for a dog like him for my mobility dog.
At 4 months Sean’s family moved to the house in the country and Simba lived in dog heaven for awhile. Strong, caring owner and 4 boys to play with, Simba reveled in the freedom to run down the block to where his dad lives and play. His sire, Khan, is just 2 years older than Simba and has plenty of go left in him.
Simba brings his toys up on the bed so I can play tug of war with him. Front paws on bed, back paws on the floor. Love this dog!
When Sean died on July 4th, 2016, Simba was nearly killed by police for protecting his body. He was so fierce that friends who knew him were afraid. Since Sean’s death, Simba has been back with me. He’s not the same and it took me about 2 weeks to figure out he’s been waiting for Sean to come and take him home. He’s been visiting his dad for the kind of rough play only big dogs can handle. But I was still faced with how to help him.
I was told a story about a Rottweiler who was ex-military. When his handler died he was adopted by an older man who wasn’t active. The dog steadily declined until the man took him to a handler/ trainer and was told he could easily adapt but needed a job to be happy. The man trained the dog to retrieve his paper in the morning then sat waiting as the man read each page. When finished he would place each page on the floor and the dog would take it and throw it away. The dog then returned and waited for the next page. Apparently this was enough of a job for the Rottweiler who settled in happily thereafter.
This story just clicked in my head and I realized I had the perfect solution. Since I have still not had an initial interview with the service dog agency, I started asking questions and after the funeral one of Sean’s friends in Colorado, who is a handler, offered to do Simba’s initial service dog training. He has a pure pitbull at home who will love Simba. I believe sending Simba to Colorado will change his scenery and routine enough that he’ll adjust and be much happier.
I haven’t yet spoken to the service dog agency but all involved feel they will accept him more easily if he has already finished his basic training. This may be a “hand of God” outcome I never could have expected. I am hoping there will be shared healing all around.
(After spending a lot of time researching, I realized how much I don’t know. Stay tuned for part 2, which will focus on the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES Act and laws regarding service animals)