Magic was my inspiration for many things. He came to me as an aggressive dog from someone who didn't want the liability anymore, but also didn't want him euthanized. He had been trained using very harsh methods and was distrusting of strangers. I could tell by looking in his eyes that he needed someone to trust; someone who didn't think that everything he did was a try for "dominance". I thought using more humane methods, and rewarding him for good behavior would be the way to get to him. After all, force obviously hadn't worked in the past.
So, Magic and I began our journey. It was a journey that would teach us more in the 4.5 years we spent together than either of us had learned in the almost 10 years previous. I learned that you needn't use force to deal with a strong dog. They are usually just as willing to work as any other dog, you just need to find what motivates them. Luckily, Magic's motivators were tennis balls and food - anytime, anywhere, from practically anybody.
In a very short amount of time I was able to have Magic greeting strangers at the door (including his nemesis the UPS man!!), playing ball with my young nephews who could take the ball out of his mouth, and letting anyone at the vet's do anything to him without a muzzle. I learned a lot about dog training in those 4.5 years, and I have Magic to thank for it.
In addition to what I learned from Magic about dog behavior, I learned about the importance of feeding a healthy diet, and the effects the environment has on our animals' health. Unfortunately we had to find out the hard way.
In April, 1994, Magic was diagnosed with a splenic hemangiosarcoma . We removed his spleen and were told that with chemotherapy the life expectancy for hemangiosarcoma is about 6 months. Although we chose to do chemo, I also wanted to support his body from the damage the chemo would cause. This decision would change my way of thinking forever. I learned so much about the junk in processed pet food, vaccines, pesticides, flea products, chlorine, pesticides and herbicides in the water, etc.., and how they affect our animals. When Magic became ill I wanted to do all I could to help him, and hopefully prevent my other animals from getting sick, too.