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Magnum, first of the Freedom Prints

Magnum, aka Maggie, and the latest, Magada (I sing to him, Magada, Magada, Magada...he looks at me like I'm insane), is one of my 'foster' dogs removed from a chain almost two years ago. Pictured on the chain he was a pitiful wretch...a thin, 45-lb. dog dragging a 50-lb. logging chain, yet still neurotic, untrusting, scared and yet scary. He wagged his tail yet lunged to bite me, grabbing my sweatshirt sleeve at the wrist, ripping it. In my naivete I thought he'd 'missed' his target...but I now know he did exactly as he'd meant to do: warned me that if I came closer or threatened him, he had plenty more where that came from.

Kim and I looked at each other like "oh crap, what're we gonna' do with this one?" Not sure if he was salvageable, we made the caretakers bring him to my home, as we were both afraid to take him off the chain ourselves. They didn't have a leash, and so brought him dragging his whole big chain behind him.

Once released into the yard, he ran around the perimeter for a bit, keeping his distance, afraid to come near us. We weren't keen on approaching him either, so we left him there, hoping he'd work off some of that crazy energy and we could have a proper introduction.

Approximately half hour later, he was calm enough to come to us. He made no attempt to bite, and was submissive and even docile. At the time we thought he just needed to be off the chain, and while that was true, he still retains to this day some modicum of fear aggression, especially on a leash or near the front door or fence. If a stranger comes into the home, particularly a male, he will lunge and has even nipped, but once again, it was a warning.

Heather just adores Magnum (she's one for the 'challenging' dogs), and she tells the story of bringing her husband here to help her take care of the gang, but he stayed outside because of Magada. Maggie would run out to the fence, bark and slobber and carry on ferociously, and then run inside and lay at her feet, belly up, totally submissive and sweet and hoping for a rub. Then he'd get up and repeat the pattern.

Well, he's not easy...but he's our Magada, and we protect him from himself. He shreds toys, steals food, and sleeps beside me in bed. Wow, he's become a real dog!

This piece is now out of print.

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