Jasper's Journey - Part 1 - S8 Expert Recruitment Solutions

Jasper’s Journey – Part 1


Jasper’s Journey – Part 1

Our story begins much like most people’s does: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy decides to make the ultimate commitment… boy and girl get a puppy!

Like so many people who decide to get a puppy before children, our beautiful blue Staffy Jasper was our baby. He came everywhere with us. Holiday destinations were now chosen for their pet-friendliness, grocery shopping became an opportunity to parade our gorgeous puppy for his adoring public and, as he deserved, all of these outings were peppered with pats and cuddles and general appreciation of his beauty.

Despite – or perhaps as a result of – his cuteness, Jasper was your textbook naughty puppy from the beginning. At 12 weeks his confidence was sky-high, and he thought nothing of challenging dogs 10 times his size, which we were able to see, could have crushed him with one bite. Nevertheless, we were patient and we were optimistic, he was our baby and we were going to socialise him, and he would be our perfect dog.

Jasper used to be let off his lead to run freely and burn off this youthful energy until gradually, it got more and more difficult to get him back on the lead. Attempts to rein him in had become an operation somewhat like those executed by the Navy Seals, and were a demonstration of grit and determination (Jasper’s) and stealth, superior wit and crafty manipulation (ours).

The added bonus of this need to have him on a lead was Jasper’s separation anxiety. He doesn’t like to be left alone but when we walk him on the lead he becomes aggressive towards other dogs. We could only go to dog parks if they were empty; the idea of a social, well-behaved dog began to be as unrealistic as a full night’s sleep with a newborn. The love was still there; it’s just that the trust was fading.

Slowly the casualties began mounting; complete pairs of shoes became a faint, distant memory; our new Kindle substituted as a chew toy; the 100 year old wooden door frame, which may or may not have been painted with lead paint was destroyed; the antique, one-of-a-kind door fell victim to Jasper’s sharp claws but still, we loved him. The love was beginning to cloud with overwhelm but there was definitely still love.

Now that we’re a few years down the track and we’ve got our two beautiful baby boys, morning walks come with a sense of dread. My wife, pregnant with our first, understandably refused to walk Jasper, lest one of his powerful lunges cause any kind of injury. Now that there’s a pram and a little boy on a scooter, a strong, determined staffy with an inflated sense of self is not a particularly welcome walking buddy for my dear wife.

This beautiful puppy that used to sleep on my wife’s chest is long gone and his disobedient substitute needs to fall into line pretty quickly because I’m sure I feel an ultimatum coming on. Jasper is my dog. I walk him, feed him, and play with him. He’s still by my side when I do the shopping, sleeps at my feet at night, he’s my mate. This means, it’s also MY problem.

Being in the industry, I’m fortunate enough to be able to gain advice from many people – much wiser than I on these matters – and have been given the following options:

1. Dog Obedience Classes – one evening a week, I would take Jasper to a park with loads of other untrained dogs, likely most of them puppies. This will take a while and need a lot of patience but I do feel hopeful about its success.

2. One-on-One Training – this is very expensive and I don’t have a lot of faith in its effectiveness with Jasper’s issues, namely the aggression on the lead. But I’ll just clarify; my doubts lay solely on my dog, not with the trainer.

3. Drugs – this is the number one preference for my wife, but my last resort. It’s also very expensive and another one which I’m not sure about and also, if I can’t trust my dog when he’s lucid, how trustworthy will he be under the influence?!

Which leads me back to Option 1 – Dog Obedience Classes, which I’ve just found out, kick-off on Monday. So, now I say farewell to my sport night indefinitely, in this quest to save my mate. I foresee a long and arduous journey, filled with unforeseen challenges and many twists and turns. Being the battler that I am, I vow to grit my teeth and do what it takes to restore peace to our home.

So, join me on this journey, Jasper’s Journey. I’ll keep you updated on our progress over the next few months and I welcome any feedback, tips or advice you might have to guide our transformation, perhaps this is this something you’ve had to go through with your pet? Wish us well and stay tuned.

Shannon Wood, Managing Director S8 Expert Recruitment Solutions. I have over 14 years recruitment experience specialising in the animal health industry across the ANZ region. Areas of expertise include sales and marketing, technical roles (Quality Assurance, Quality Control & Regulatory Affairs) and operational & financial positions. I work extensively in the veterinary, ruminant, monogastric, aquaculture and the pet specialty industries and I look forward to the next 14 years.


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