Mercury welcomes new pack member, Max

Posted by Nerilie Watson on 3 January 2011 | 3 Comments


Thank you very much for finding me such a lovely family. I have been with them for two months. They have learnt to take me for walks on and off the lead. I like going to the nearby parks to chase a ball and meet other dogs, although it can be a bit of a challenge to keep an eye on everyone while enjoying myself. Occasionally, I have to round them up and make sure they keep up.


Even though there is an abundance of bright green tennis balls to play with, I have discovered that if I drop one in front of a family member, they will throw it for me. I am a very good “guard” dog. Everyone who comes to the house has to pat me and give me a cuddle. I have a very comfortable dog bed, which is almost as soft as the couch and the outside mattress and the masterbed, and I aim to ensure that no single piece of furniture remains untested during the night (however I am yet to scale the lofty heights of the boy’s bunk bed).

Once a week, I take the family to soccer. My team is not doing well in the league tables, but the players’ dog-patting skills are improving rapidly. I am yet to convince my family that everyone needs an after-game hotdog, but I am sure that with a little time and some encouragement, they will soon come round to my way of thinking.

You might like to know that about two weeks ago we were adopted by a second dog from Shenton Park. At Shenton Park, he was called "Boombah"; we thought it was not a good name for a dog that was on a diet to lose weight so we re-named him "Max". He's still a sooky, lovely rottweiler, but the diet and exercise are already working.

There was a short period of adjustment as Mercury and Max established the dynamics of their relationship and how everyone was going to work in the pack / family. Initially, all Mercury's resource guarding behaviour surfaced. We'd been warned about it but hadn't experienced it when Mercury was an only dog. Having been given some guidance from Nathan and Mel, we were able to work with the dogs (especially at feeding time) so there was never any real problem.


We weren't given as much information about Max, but it was easy to see from his reactions that he'd been treated very poorly in the past. He was frightened of new people, and would cower every time he barked or picked up a toy or went into a new room of the house, as if he were going to get into trouble. Max was immediatle put on to an intensive behaviour modification programme, which consisted of excessive, frequent amounts of praise and cuddles. It seems to have worked - we took both dogs to Xmas lunch where Max was able to manage a dozen people in a new environment without being scared (Mercury, of course, just worked the room to find the most accomodating lap).

Max's anti-car attitude has disappeared as well. From having to get a Shenton Park volunteer to help us lift him into the car to take him home, to having to coax him into the back seat, we now just open the door and he goes (a combination of positive reinforcement + following Mercury + "don't leave me").

Mercury and Max found ways to tolerate each other and live together. Mercury quickly taught Max the walk routine (on and off lead) and the dogs took one couch each for their evening snooze. However, it took the anti-social behaviour of another dog to turn them into mates. While in the park, off-lead, a larger dog got very aggressive with Max, and Mercury felt the need to step in and rescue him. Fortunately, the relevant humans got involved before things got serious, but it was a real bonding moment for Max and Mercury.

Max and Mercury are now good mates. Both have turned into guard dogs - Mercury is quicker but Max has a bigger "woof". Max gets vocal with Mercury if Mercury is not using his best doggie-manners, and Mercury patrols after Max to make sure he his safe. Mercury lets Max have one or two tennis balls, and Max doesn't try to take the ones Mercury has deposited under the dining table. Both dogs get the humans up early for walks. There is still a bit of competitive hugging, but the humans in the pack are getting quite used to "group hugs".

We feel very grateful towards Shenton Park. We ended up with two wonderful dogs, both completely different and both perfect for us. The pack - three two-legged creatures and two four-legged creatures - works because of the information and support we received from the staff at Shenton Park - from Nathan, Tracy, Karin and particularly Mel.

Humans are easily trained and make great pets!

Kind regards,

Mercury and Max

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  • Such a sweet story, so happy they have found a loving home

    Posted by Sabrina , 10/01/2011 11:37am (8 years ago)

  • I enjoyed reading this amazing story about the wonderful new life Mercury and Max now have - so much love.
    I can only wish other people might read this and realize the joy these dogs bring into your life. There are so many waiting for the opportunity of having a home and loving family like M&M.

    Posted by Jackie, 05/01/2011 12:32pm (8 years ago)

  • Mercury and Max you are so lucky to have been adopted by such an amazing family! We always hope we can find perfect owners for our dogs and you guys certainly are that - thanks for all your patience in finding the right dogs for you and for adopting M&M - we all wish there were more two-legged creatures like you out there! Karen

    Posted by Karen from the Home, 04/01/2011 9:32am (8 years ago)

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