by Marty Harrison
(Powell, Ohio, USA)
My Beautiful Boy.
My dog Gyp (name taken from James Herriot Novel) is a Mini Australian Shepherd. His eyes are brown at top and blue on the bottom of each eye. He is 8 years old. He is the love and joy of my life.
My dog was mistaken for a guinea pig when he was a pup because of the mottled coat and he was that tiny.
Prior to purchasing Gyp, I suffered from severe anxiety/panic disorder and had been agoraphobic, (staying in my home) for over 12 years. I had several psychotherapists and medicines that helped a bit, but Gyp, is the real object that helped me heal myself.
Once I got Gyp, I ventured way outside of my comfort zone, because he was my inspiration. Gyp always had a smile and always greeted me with devotion like I had never experienced in my life.
When Gyp is with me I can go anywhere. Several years ago I traveled to New York City (which was at the very height of my fear). I have since traveled to Chicago, several times, Atlanta, and plan to travel more as time and money allow.
When Gyp was just 2 years old, a neighbor's Pit Bull attacked him. He tried to fight back but the Pit locked her jaws around his neck and was killing him. As he had literally saved my life, I was down on the ground and fighting for my dogs life. I had to use a spade shovel inside the pits mouth to pry her jaws open. Gyp had to undergo several surgeries to repair his neck. Amazingly, he now knows the look of pit bulls and gets very aggressive when he sees one. He is still trying to protect me.
I will care for him for the rest of my/his life. I will give him all the love I can.
He is the most intelligent breed in people emotions and intuition that I have ever had the privilege of owning. I always say when I am calling him, he is already standing right behind me ready to please.
My sister who has suffered from Friedreichs Ataxia (Muscular Dystrophy) has Gyp's sister Rose. Rose is always with my sister as a tiny dynamo protecting and loving her.
Australian Shepherds are an amazing breed. I have raised Labradors, German Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, Welsh Terriers, Yorkies, and I loved them all, but Aussies are in a league of their own.