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Quad-City Creatures
By Heidi Dahms Foster, Prescott Valley, Arizona
A local blog all about pets and pet activities in the quad-city area.PV, Prescott and beyond.
Thursday, July 8, 2010

A dog's tale: wild pup adopts foals on Horsebreakers ranch

Heidi Dahms-Foster
Special to the Tribune

Reggie spends her life guarding the mares and foals at Horsebreakers Ranch in Dewey.
Photo by Cheryl Hartz

By Cheryl Hartz, Prescott Valley Tribune

Once upon a time, a wild white pup strayed onto Horsebreakers Unlimited's Dewey ranch pasture for mares and foals and appointed herself resident guard dog.

Shepherd-like in appearance, she took her duties seriously. She didn't beg food or crave human attention, but simply stayed beside her charges, barking at strangers and running off coyotes and other potential predators foolish enough to venture near.

Ranch owners John and Marywade Gilbert, leery at first of the feral dog's intentions, quickly accepted her when they realized she wanted nothing more than to hang with the horses, and observed the protective dams let her.

They named her Reggie and put out food and water for her. She availed herself of the provisions but wouldn't allow anyone to get close enough to pet her.

Time passed. When her young charges were sold one by one, Reggie followed the horse trailers all the way down the long dirt driveway to the road.

The Gilberts let her be - until she had presented them with 15 puppies in three litters.

"We managed to find good homes for all of them," Marywade said.

Thinking to take Reggie to the vet for spaying, they managed to catch her on several occasions. Each time Reggie struggled mightily, bit through the rope or leash and streaked away. She never tried to hurt her host family.

Enter the National Geographic Channel's Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan. In what would become "Reggie the Lone Wrangler," Episode 2 of the television show's fourth season in 2008, Milan worked at gaining Reggie's acceptance. His two children, pit bull, Daddy, and the Gilbert's Welsh Corgie, Brooke, helped him by serving as a living fence once Reggie was corralled in an enclosure she couldn't escape. He gently slipped leash after leash on Reggie. She chewed through each one.

He tried using the ranch's two Corgis to calm her and get her to walk toward the road, thinking to lead her back. Reggie ran away.

The Dog Whisperer hadn't experienced this kind of failure before. It was a needed lesson from God in patience, he said.

A half-hour later, Reggie returned to the feeding barn for mares and foals. With the Gilberts helping, he once again cornered Reggie. This time Milan simply tucked her under his arm and carried her to the waiting vet. Reggie did not struggle.

Rick Garcia, owner of Paws and Claws mobile veterinary business out of Los Angeles, spayed Reggie and administered shots.

While recuperating in a clean stall, Reggie bonded with and enjoyed the Gilberts' attention for six days. But she went right back to her wild ways when released.

The Gilberts don't know if Reggie thinks she's part of the herd or if the horses are her dog pack. Either way, two years later, Reggie remains both wild and close to her charges - and probably will happily ever after.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Article comment by: Robert McGuire

May God bless John and Marywade Gilbert, and all of the other wonderful people, for their kindness and compassion they have shown to this poor dog. I do believe that God has put us in charge of this earth and that it is each and every one of our responsibility to take care of all of his creatures both big and small. There WILL be a reward in heaven for the Gilberts and for all who show this kind of compassion to God's creatures. Thank you!

Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010
Article comment by: Beth Alden

Read this in the Trubine and think it is a great article, glad you shared. Amazing animal.

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