Time to tame

Time to tame

Maryse’s relationship with her rambunctious dog got off to a rocky start. Today, Skittles helps Maryse take care of the whole family.

July 5, 2020

Skittles is unlike any other dog. A mix of German Shepherd and Brittany Spaniel, she is stubborn and always does exactly what she wants. But Skittles is also blessed with a high level of emotional intelligence and is very perceptive to the moods of her humans. During their first years together, Maryse had to be patient. She devoted time and energy building a relationship with the adopted shelter dog, who did not have an easy start in life.

Despite the challenges of training an unruly dog, a deep bond eventually forged between Maryse and Skittles. Their desire to look after one another is evident. "If I'm not feeling well, Skittles feels it," Maryse explains. "She stays close until she's certain I'm feeling better. It's impressive."

Skittles and Maryse during a photoshoot

Nevertheless, even after intense training, life with Skittles doesn’t always flow smoothly. After the initial adoption transition, another challenge arose. Maryse and her boyfriend Carlos decided to move in together, a transition that did not go smoothly. For starters, Carlos didn’t especially like dogs, and his daughter Emma was frightened. The first meeting between the 8 year-old-girl and Skittles was a complete flop. "When she stepped into the doorway the first time she immediately spotted Skittles and refused to come in," recalls Maryse. "Obviously, Carlos and I respected Emma’s feelings. We understood that she had to go at her own pace. So we postponed their meeting."

They cautiously tried a second time, determined to proceed slowly and gently. Maryse convinced Carlos’ daughter to once again step inside the house. Skittles immediately sensed the child’s reluctance and approached very cautiously. She simply sniffed Emma’s hand. It was enough for a second meeting.

The brief encounters between the child and dog paid off. One evening, while the entire family watched television, Skittles sat at Emma’s feet, practically glued to her. The dog instinctively knew that she had to tread carefully. The result was worth all the effort. Today, Emma is a teenager and absolutely loves Skittles. They’ve become the best of friends. "All children should have a pet!” insists Maryse.

Skittles in relaxation mode

Maryse is thankful for having such a caring dog as Skittles in her life. In her heart of hearts, she always knew that everything would turn out fine. The secret to their happy ending? The gift of time to tame.  

Cover: Catherin Arsenault
Photo credits: Personal collection

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