Ari-Man …..there will never be another….

Conversations with Marilyn

Ari - 4/19/99 - 12/18/09

February 3, 2006 - First Conversation with Marilyn and she didn't know any of my dogs. (When she first asked me to describe Ari I said he was my skinny dog and my only short coat. She said does he have a big chest, I said yes he does and she said he’s telling me he’s proud of his big chest!)

What can I do for you to help you not to be so stressed and vocal when you’re doing bitework? You have such awesome obedience until you see someone who has a sleeve or is in a suit and then it’s all you can think about He really, really likes to bite so much so that he can’t focus on what he has to do. It’s hard for him because all he can think about is biting….that’s what he’s focused on. He said I didn’t screw him up that it’s just part of his personality.

(This was on a Friday…that weekend was the Mike Ellis seminar at Donna’s. I brought Ari in, put him in a down to wait and he rolled over so I could scratch his belly. He did this EACH time I brought him in and he’s not done that before so people were commenting about it. Normally he would whine…loud! BUT, he did BETTER than he’s ever done and I heard Mike saying as we left one time – Beautiful! He’s NEVER said that about Ari! People asked me what I did to him and I said “OH, we just had a conversation!! Minna knew what I meant!)

Also, what can I do so we can be a team on the field? You looked so good when Greg handled you.
(This was in Baltimore last June when I had him entered in a PSA trial. He BLEW ME OFF in the first obedience to the point where he picked up a tennis ball and wouldn’t give it to me. I don’t think he thought he was doing wrong, I think HE thought we were out for a walk and he didn’t have to listen. On the way off the field I stopped by a guy that I had trained with the week before the trial and asked him to handle him or I would pull him. So Greg did handle him and they scored 84 one day and 88 the next in obedience. 88 ranked him 5th nationally in obedience, according to an unofficial survey at that time and that’s how tough the scoring is. In protection there are 3 scenarios and you have to pass all three and he missed one by ONE point. His over all percentage was 83% which is very good and other dogs that passed didn’t get that high a percentage..

There was a discomfort level with him and he had to focus. (It could have been anyone who is a trainer.) With me there is a comfort level. He is SO tuned in to me, he knows my mannerisms, etc. (Analogy is if I have a dinner party at my house, I’m comfortable with the place. If I have to host a dinner party held at a friend’s house, I would have more focus because I don’t know what’s where. He HAD to concentrate.)
(She said that I have to switch things up with him so he HAS to focus. Different places. Different locations on the field. Switch obedience and protection. Stay outside a fence where bitework is being done.)
How do you feel about the other dogs?

Olivia – she and Ari are friends, like business associates. He Respects her, likes her, reveres her. (She and Ari are the ones that travel together to training and trials…)

Tori – he calls her the Princess. She’s the newest but she never incorporated into group. He feels sorry for her. She’s not “street smart” but “book s smart”. She doesn’t understand dog language and can’t relate to the others. (I hadn’t talked about Tori and I’ve always called her the princess and she hated the other dogs)

Kobie –
says she’s HIS GIRL. Arm around her….protects her. …not necessarily girlfriend but could be father/daughter relationship. (They do play together better than any of them)

Teddy –
is bigger than him. ….has a bigger personality. ….bigger aura. No real opinion. Doesn’t want Teddy around and wouldn’t mind if he went away. (And he IS bigger than him and he and Teddy do NOT get along!)
Are you feeling ok? If there was one thing I could do for you, what would it be?
He said he loves to run the fence line and would love it if it were longer. It’s the Best thing in the world.

(It’s already 250 feet long and he spends HOURS running it. Every morning from 6am until I bring him in he’s out chasing the school bus and anything that moves. Sometimes for 3 hours if I’m home.) I talked to her for about 30 minutes about Ari.


May 2006 .......Ari – feeling ok to trial – leg? Yes.. needed a break. (he had been limping)
Looking forward to trip with “his girl” he said it’s just the 2 of us going. ….wants to be introduced to everyone as my dog. We’ll do well he said if I do my part. He'll be fine. (this is where we took first place and I made a point of introducing him to everyone.)

Wouldn’t answer about if he was with me before because he doesn’t want to ruin what we have now.


December 6, 2006 .............. Why did you go after the Irish terrier the other day at the dog club – he was really concentrating or gearing up for something (he had just gotten there and he and Kobie were running around the room) She had an attitude and it was purely reactive and only between him and the terrier. It had nothing to do with me or Kobie. She was moving into his space and was rude and selfish. He had to keep track of things and in hindsight it was probably not smart. He never intended to hurt her only tell her who was in charge. It was like the perfect storm and all came together at the same time and he reacted. Physical – back legs fatigued – very fit – not to worry body building competition - Arnold -Training – ok…grand scheme of things ok… winning team. Overall very good.. frustrated and not enough fun.. too long.. not huge reward.. no one available …. Train someone… be able to bite and bite and bite… that what he can do.. on first day let him bite without having to work… chomp on him.. he really likes Greg - Chris ok good too… testerone… he knows I am doing the best I can.. opportunity to offer 2 cents has to… not bitching or complaining.


February 2007 ...............after he almost died from an Addisonian Crisis how are you feeling - *******pretty good…muscle ache between shoulder blade – maybe stress – maybe not stressdo you feel well enough to work*******yea….doesn’t like the surprises like people coming from behind - this is disturbing to him… maybe too much pressure. He likes what he can see. He knows what to expect because it’s the regular guys … when a strange helper it bugs him.. He likes working in defense. do you know how close you came to not being here ******yes he does – at one point he really zoned and was balancing – he was very aware and so on the edge that he had no strong opinion. He is glad to be back and is excited about the working again. He’s sorry he stressed me out and when asked what he likes he answered being outside and being with girls.

I’m thinking about getting a girl puppy to train so when you can’t trial anymore we can still go and you can get fun bites…. How would you think about that? And a girl so you could hang out together. ******* A new puppy should be a girl and he could teach her to work very well. I said bad things too like chasing the bus and he said he can’t help it if she learns those things and that’s not bad anyway.


June 2007
Ø How are you feeling? ……strong and perky – just fine
Ø How do you feel about continuing to train? What else is there? Upcoming trial? – win – win – we’re gonna win…
Ø How do you feel about Brita?....alot to learn but wants to learn…
Ø What else would you like to tell me? Stop worrying about him running – this is what he loves to do and he’s fine.


February 27, 2008................ Ari – Feels great…..Great… GREAT!!….. Likes to run and roll in snow. He thought he wouldn’t like retirement but seems to have settled in with it – keeps tabs on the critters in the yard and knows what’s going on in the neighborhood. Regarding Brita – she’s good and she has a good attitude and good personality – she’ll never be as good as him when it comes to working but she does some things better (like listening to me). She doesn’t have the drive he has and if I would train them together he could demonstrate so things to help her. Regarding running with her – there would be an initial who’s in charge then things would be ok. That’s very important with her because she thinks she should be. Kobie takes things too personally – when I went after her it was more of displaced frustration – she was in the way. He loves me and wants to go on rides more often – it would be great to find a place where he can get out to run and explore. That would be something different and interesting.


4/29/09 Notes
….Whole back end wobbly not losing use of only one leg but actually a leg and a half. Right leg can’t support and he can’t compensate. When he shifts his weight he falls over.
No headaches but dizziness.
Is your time up? He won’t answer it because he doesn’t want to think about it. He's in denial. He knows he’s not making it easier for me or him. He likes being a dog and doing things with me and sometimes being a clown. He’s been with me many times before… cliffs, centuries ago, involved once, dogs together (street dogs). What can I do? Love him and hold him.
Stomach bloated but dry mouth which is why he drinks so much water. He feels kind of spacey or tipsy. He sees his mental capacities leaving but not dementia. Something physical pressing … most likely brain tumor.
He hates putting me through this and he wonders how I’ll ever survive without him to keep the girls in line. Loves me and hates the way he has to pee. (squatting)
Not long… 0-6 weeks. Very hard to say…
Kobie’s report (the caretaker – empathetic) · Ari vomits in the back yard in the corner and doesn’t want to tell me. · He’s trying to be strong and he’s not the dog he used to be and it’s sad.

Olivia’s report (into herself) · Knows nothing she is so itchy. Give her drugs.(she says). it’s maddening…

Brita’s report (matter of fact) · She knows that he’s not long for this world. Animals die. (Not rude but a reflective statement)· Nothing she can do so she’s accepting it.· She’s sad that I’m sad and everything is heavy around here now.

Teddy · He’s (Teddy) everywhere….everything’s fine….comfortable…at ease…· Fine with his resting place · Ari’s coming soon but that’s ok since everyone gets along – they were together before. · He’s watching all of us and he’s everywhere.

July 20, 2009................
  1. How are you feeling? Hurts in knee – might be something affecting nerve… achy in ankle – wobbly – bright light in brain… dragging whole back end also - is he leaking can’t seem to feel it – tail crocked… not sure of anything that happens in his low back – peeing pooping… likes to do it and when he does it feels good. – sensation…
  1. Are you in pain? More frustrated with immobility… doesn’t really say… likes to run but now hops..
  1. Laying in hot sun… always choose shade?? Couldn’t get up to go to the shade… can’t seem to know where he is… doesn’t want to poop in house and stays outside.
  1. What do you think? ….not going to get better… how much put up with… rubber band around waist and squeezing tightly… side and stretch out… only real pain in leg…
He loves me… something up with nose… hard to breathe – cotton… does not want to leave because who would take care of me and keep the girls in line… not the same – planned to spend more time after teddy passed… likes to lay next to me…
How much longer – 3 weeks… 3 months… hang out in front yard… not in training area… next to me… showing flashbacks… learned stuff together … he’s running a picture show for marilyn from the past.

Ari and Samantha

PSA Trial in Baltimore MD in June 2006 (click photo for trial details)