Home
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
In Conversation with Justine van der Leun
Pages:

Pages

J: I rehabilitated Marcus with the help of a very generous behavioral therapist named Nikki Wood, whom I called crying when I returned to the States. I was at a loss for how to live with Marcus, who, because she lacked socialization and had been mistreated, trembled and ran whenever she saw a stranger or heard a loud noise. Nikki sensed that Marcus and I had a special connection and agreed to work with us as long as I would put in the effort. Did I ever! Training Marcus for nearly two years, I got a crash course in dog-human interaction. We think we know about our dogs, but we’re really so uninformed. I read all of Patricia McConnell’s books and really delved into the brain and heart of the dog, which was fascinating. I still have much to learn, but my new, more intricate understanding of her has really bonded us. I’ve seen such tremendous improvement in Marcus, who has overcome most of her fears. She will never be that super-confident dog with a great puppyhood, but she can now accomplish nearly anything. She’s more resilient than I could have imagined.

B: You weren’t expecting to meet up with the dog-of-your-heart when you went to Italy. If Marcus hadn’t come along, how differently do you think your experience there would have been? Would you have come home sooner or later? Do you think you could have settled there permanently?

J: I would have been home in two months, and that would have been a shame. I was wildly lonely and unfocused at first, living in such a remote foreign place. My relationship with Emanuele wouldn’t have been strong enough to keep me there. But when I found Marcus, I couldn’t leave her. Her existence also made me wonder what other surprises lay in store for me—and there were many! Marcus acted as my unwitting anchor and my little spotted tour guide. Because of her, I had the most illuminating year of my life so far.

 

Pages:

Pages

Print|Email

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.

thebark.com

More From The Bark

Robin and Linda Williams, and Tessie Mae.
By
Claudia Kawczynska
By
Claudia Kawczynska
Bo Obama with kids visiting The White House.
By
Claudia Kawczynska
Montreal Gardens - Hachiko
By
JoAnna Lou
The Bulldog Cafe, Los Angeles, Calif., 1928
By
Alice Jurow
By
Cameron Woo, Nellie McKay