A dragonfly alights on the gunwale of the canoe, and Henry is on it in a flash and catches it! Meanwhile, Melissa Behrens and her husband, Max Lynch, are busy counterbalancing the launch of his sudden attack, trying to keep the canoe afloat and their camera dry.
But they are also beaming with pleasure. Henry has come such a long way from the scared, 5-month-old pup they adopted two years ago after seeing him on Petfinder.
Henry, affectionately called Sir Henry (a name befitting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) by the couple, was tiny when a family surrendered him to Shelter from the Storm in Madison, Wisconsin. They said they didn’t have time for a puppy.
Melissa has always wondered if there were other circumstances. They themselves have had to be patient, and she says consistency and a daily routine has been important in helping him adjust.
“It’s hard to say what he was like before we adopted him,” Melissa says. “I think sometimes people just see a cute puppy but don’t realize the amount of work and training required.” She and Max had to hand feed Henry at first because he was afraid of his bowl, and he frequently vomited. Their veterinarian put him through various tests to see what was causing the vomiting, but the diagnosis was simply nervousness.
Eventually he became less timid and, Melissa says, as time goes by, he’s getting much better. “He’s learning to trust people more and more every day.”
He loves the canoe, but just about any outdoor activity suits him. “You wouldn’t think he’d be so outdoorsy for a little guy, but he loves it and keeps up with us,” Melissa says. “Actually, he’s usually dragging us along. But when he’s done, he also loves lounging on the couch.”
Sir Henry gets the royal treatment around the house and insists on belly scratches and snuggles before breakfast. It’s only right since his breed is descended from the dogs of King Charles II.