The value of a gentle mentor dog with pups cannot be overstated.
This video was recorded way back in 2018, so about nine litters ago. I came upon it today as I was looking for a different video and decided to share this one too.
Tessa was remarkable. She never lost her patience with pups, no matter how young they were or how rowdy and irreverent they were with her. She'd take a read on the pups each time I brought her in to work with a litter and then set her boundaries.
If puppies really pushed at her, she pushed back, which is exactly what I needed her to teach the pups, but she always did so fairly. If a stern look didn't work, she'd curl her lip and give the pup a low rumble. If that didn't work, she would get up and walk away. If that didn't work, she'd put her leg across the pup and flatten it to the ground, just for a second or two, and then she would let the pup get up as she turned and walked away.
I saw her do this over and over with at least sixty pups. She never held a grudge. She would also play with the pups and walk perimeters with them, and she just seemed to enjoy them. I never bred Tessa, so I think her willingness to mentor pups, as well as her understanding of how to do such a great job with them, is even more impressive because of that.
There have probably been two hundred Maremmas in my life since Tessa; many of them are still here. Even so, I miss Tessa every-single-day, for many reasons. I just thought I would take a minute to honor her and share her with you.