Our Story: It all started with Vinny

Although this blog will be about Chief, our story all starts with my rescue dog Vinny. Vinny is a 4-ish year old German Shepherd mix. He had an extremely difficult and abusive life before coming into mine, and with this baggage came extreme behavior issues. He is an excessively sweet dog to the few people in his inner circle, but otherwise he is reactive and aggressive with a (unsuccessful) bite history. Vinny forced me to seek extensive personalized training. Through my experience with Vinny, I realized how rewarding dog training is and became obsessed with the process of improving dogs’ behavior and quality of life.

Vinny and I were failed by many trainers before finding our way to My Dog’s Mind in Hampton, New Hampshire. Here, we were welcomed warmly and taken very seriously. We had a standing private training session with the owner on a weekly basis, and improved greatly. The family that owns My Dog’s Mind has a red heeler named Rio, who is from a 2021 A-Line Australian Cattle Dogs litter. Our trainer knew I was considering adding a second dog to our family, and heard that one of Rio’s siblings had yet to find a home. I reached out to A-Line that same day, and the breeder Jackie let me know that the dog had been placed in a show home. She took my information for future litters.

Fast forward to summer of 2022, I am in Boston visiting my sister, scrolling on Facebook while waiting for a beer. I see A-Line’s litter announcement of the “Snow White” litter, and immediately feel compelled to reach out about the puppy named “Happy”. Jackie responded that puppies are not chosen for specific homes until the family meets the puppies and they are assessed for appropriateness of placement. A few weeks later, Jackie called to ask if I wanted to come meet the puppies to potentially take one home. Let’s add some detail to this story- this call came two months before my wedding. I hung up the phone, walked down the hall to where my fiancé (now husband) was sitting, and nervously asked if I could get one of the puppies. He said “sure” (best guy ever) and that was that.

A few weeks later, we traveled to New Bedford, Massachussetts to meet the puppies. They were WILD. We spent about an hour getting to know each of them and trying to decide which would best fit our goals. When we were about to leave, my husband noticed that we hadn’t spent any time with the one puppy that was sleeping soundly under a cabinet the entire time we were there. I pulled him out and we played with him for a few minutes. He was friendly, energetic, and fearless. Turns out, this puppy was Happy.

In the car, we sat in silence for a few minutes. I asked my husband which puppy he liked while trying to think of an answer myself. He immediately said “I want Happy”. To this day, I still can’t believe that Chief was the original puppy I chose from the litter photos, as well as my husband’s first choice. He was truly meant to be ours! A week later, we returned to pick up Chief and our story begins.

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