The “Easy” Dog

A tribute to a very special 10 year old dog who should have never been given up, but boy are
we glad she was!
I don’t deserve to have an “easy” dog because I can handle a difficult one. I love the scaredy dogs, the ones who don’t love to be touched at first, the ones who resemble cats a bit more
when you first meet them. She was nothing like that. She was nervous about all her changes,
but she was always friendly. She always liked to be pet over her head, even though she is a
small dog. However I could “fix” it if she were nervous, so she should live with someone who
can’t “fix” it, shouldn’t she?
When I first met Nadia she barked and lunged at her barrier and I understood what I was
seeing, even though it was 2009 and I had only been training dogs for about 3 years. She had
been returned for a level 2 bite to the elbow of a 13 year old… I also understood that. It was
love at first sight, and she was my dog, period.
Nadia gained so much confidence over the years and has even been my helper dog at
seminars, in front of audiences; something I wasn’t sure was in her future, but she learned
quickly and I loved to help her gain confidence. This helped my confidence in my abilities.
Nadia changed in a lot of ways, but she never was the most outgoing or playful dog. That was
ok with me, but sometimes when i had clients’ dogs over, it would have been nice if she would
indulge them. She doesn’t love strangers, which is hard for new clients to understand, but she
is my dog and she is 10 years old. I accept her for her.
When we decided to foster Bella, it was for many reasons. Her story broke my heart; that she
had children in her family and she was good with them, and she was also 10 years old and she
had been with them since she was 1 year old. Now they are just too busy. I honestly do not
know why this happened to this dog.
So it took her about 48 hours and that was it. Bella was home. She was perfection from that
moment on. Even her first two days weren’t bad although she was nervous. Once she got
over that, she fit right in. She made Nadia more playful. The two girls would run and chase in
my yard and I think even Nadia was surprised that Bella could easily out run her; she is fast!
The next time a client came over to drop off her dogs, Bella ran right up to say “hello,” so
guess what? So did Nadia! My timid little girl just needed another dog to show her the ropes.
This doesn’t always work, so please don’t think running out and adopting a puppy will help
your older dog to change. However these two dogs were just a perfect fit from the start. Bella
was the exact personality that Nadia needed, and so did we.
Considering what happened to her, Bella is an incredible little being. She loves my whole
family, she has no fear of men. She ran right up to my dad who is a tall man with a cane! She
truly became part of the family so easily. I know that people hear this story and think it is so
great that we adopted a 10 year old dog, and it is. However it is she, who has given us so very
As a trainer, I would have overlooked the “easy” dogs. However the truth is, easy or not, Bella
was part of the family from the moment she walked through the door. We are only sad not to
have had the last 10 years with her, but we are spoiling her rotten to make up for that!

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Positively Expert: Erica Lieberman

Erica Lieberman Wittenberg is the owner and founder of Pawsibilities New York. She hold two national, and three international dog training certifications from obedience to aggression. Erica has been a life long New Yorker, and a lover of all animals, big and small, from cats to horses!


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