Above: Thor the Day After His Rescue of Our Neighbor
Above: Thor as a puppy
In February 2010 we rescued a pit bull terrier/rottweiler mix puppy from S.O.A.R. (Southport Oak Island Animal Rescue) and we immediately began his training. He has learned commands, in German, English and silent hand signals. His intellect is incredible, and he loves children.
"Thorzilla" is an 80 pound love monster, no doubt. Despite the bad press regarding his two breeds, Thor is really not the exception, being a caring, clownish, yet disciplined and easily trained dog. He loves to do his tricks, and knows a lot of them, from playing dead (we call it the dying cockroach), rolling over 1,2 or 3 times depending upon the number called out, dead cockroach, the combat low crawl, high fives, "big love" and "paw" bumps. He also has a bad habit of opening kitchen drawers and cabinets. If he had thumbs, he would have a rap sheet.
Thor is featured in this National Geographic book on amazing rescue animals. Also featured is George Clooney's dog.
We can place food treats on his paws, nose or head, and he will remain motionless until given the "OK" command to eat them. He also learned to toss treats into the air off of his nose and catch them. It is all about the owners, and how they train (or fail to train) these magnificent animals. When we had chickens, and he was very protective of them, and our property. Twice he chased a fox away, once catching a fox twice in the same engagement, although he never harmed it. To him it was a game. He also saved one of our chickens from a wildcat.
Thor was house trained in a couple of days, and he learns new things very rapidly. His understanding of English is so precise, we must be very careful as to what we say around him, resorting to spelling words as we speak. The word "bath" is one example. When he hears "wingman" he knows that he is going for a ride in the car.
Above: Thor and Thibault in 2011, best buddies
Thorzilla "chillin" with his shades and treat balanced on the nose. He loves popcorn.
His intellect and instinct became apparent many times, but none so apparent as over Labor Day weekend 2011 when he saved our 78 year old neighbor, Barbara Simmons, from possibly dying from heat exposure when she collapsed in her driveway.
Above: Thor in protection mode
Barbara had fallen in her driveway while checking her mail, and had been there a while after injuring herself. Thor was the only reason she was rescued, when he ran around the corner, hearing her cries for help. He came back twice, barking, making Colin eventually follow him, leading him to Barbara. Colin called 911 and then called the house, and told us. Thor stayed with her until we arrived, laying down next to her, and then Colin and Anne waited until the ambulance transported her to Dosher hospital. Of special interest, he had never met Barbara before.
The media caught the story and Thor was featured on local TV and in the various newspapers. We have posted the links for those interested to read about him. He really is an amazing boy, and we hope that people considering getting a dog to consider adopting rescue animals.
Thor also did something remarkable in 2011, when he kept sniffing a spot on Colin's face. Every morning he would come in and go straight to his face. That gave is cause to have this examined. A very deep and rapidly spreading cancer was detected, reaching toward the right eye, and required two surgeries to remove. Thor saved the eye, and probably even Colin's life. His instinct was right on target.
See the stories about Thor in the media links below.