Our Champ, by Beth Miller

In the spring of 2014, I saw a photo of a skinny German Shepherd named Champ on a local rescue group page, and I knew that he was meant to be my dog. I was already head over heels when we met him and decided to adopt him.

In a few short weeks, we realized Champ had some issues we were not equipped to handle, so we sought out help. I was determined that he could recover from whatever trauma or abuse he had experienced in his previous home and be a wonderful companion and a running partner for me.

Eventually, we ended up at a training facility where we took Champ to group training every week for three years. He was the smartest dog in the group and could do everything they asked him to do, from basic and advanced obedience to agility work to tricks. He even joined the “Fire Hydrant Club” by standing on top of a fire hydrant.

But what Champ could not do was get close to other dogs. Among his many behavior issues were fear aggression and severe reactivity to other dogs, as well as severe anxiety. When that training facility closed, we began working with a behavioral veterinarian and another trainer who had experience with dogs with issues like Champ’s.

We worked very hard to help Champ overcome his issues and live a fear-free life. I read to him daily, we played a lot of games and puzzles. I stopped at nothing to make his life comfortable.

In March 2020, Champ finally got the peace he had never had in his life, and his demons were silenced. Champ changed my life in so many ways, and I will forever be grateful for his six years with us.

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