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NOTE FROM BOSTON TERRIER NETWORK:  Dear Readers sometimes in the dog world we come across a true life story that just breaks your heart, especially if it happens to you or a dear friend. As an foster parent I have been very lucky and have never had to deal with the issue of Canine Rage. Our Cofounder of Boston Terrier Network has had personal experience with this and although she tried everything possible including training for handling Canine Rage, they had to in the end put the dog down. Although very rare, it does happen in all breeds.    

Because we feel strongly that you and your family and other pets can be harmed. We feel it is very important to share in the next couple weeks a real life story. This is something that most of us are just not prepared to deal with. This is something that our love alone will not fix. The causes are not always clear. There may not be any outward signs to explain what is going on. Without knowing the cause of idiopathic aggression, treatment is difficult and frequently unsuccessful. The condition is also virtually impossible to manage safely because of the sheer unpredictability of the outbursts. The prognosis, unfortunately, is very poor, and many dogs with true idiopathic aggression must be euthanized, for the safety of surrounding humans. If you have such a dog you know you must seek professional help from your vet and a behaviorist. Do not wait until a human or other dog gets harmed…

First the definition: Idiopathic aggression is quite rare, but also quite dangerous.
The term “rage syndrome” – never knowing when your beloved pal is going to turn, without warning, into a biting, raging canine tornado. “Of, relating to, or designating a disease having no known cause.” It applies perfectly to this behavior, which has confounded behaviorists for decades. While most other types of aggression can be modified and reduced through desensitization and counter-conditioning, idiopathic aggression often can’t. It is an extremely difficult and heartbreaking condition to deal with.
• No identifiable trigger stimulus/stimuli
• Intense, explosive aggression
• Onset most commonly reported in dogs 1-3 years old
• Some owners report that their dogs get a glazed or “possessed” look in their eyes just prior to an idiopathic outburst, or act confused.

A variety of studies and testing over the past 30 years have failed to produce a clear cause or a definitive diagnosis for idiopathic aggression. Behaviorists can’t even agree on what to call it!

Your first step is to find a skilled and positive trainer/behavior consultant who can give you a more educated analysis of your dog’s aggression.¹

We advise you now to go get your tissues. You will need them.


PART ONE : Don’t Stop Believing-OZZY AND ROBERT

Hello everyone.  Robert here...

Last time I left all of you, my beloved Akiles passed away. Life has a way of being too real sometimes.  This is a bitter sweet story.

Before reading the story and journey of my first rescue I'd like everyone to know my sweet OZZY, also known as BIG SEXY, is now at the rainbow bridge along with my Akiles. His story is being told in three parts. Not for dramatic effect, but so people can experience my journey of rescuing Ozzy and so his story may save another dog or persons life.. it's for people to understand not all fairytale beginnings have a happily ever after. I only had Ozzy for 6 months but we shared a lifetime of love in that short period. I apologize now if I seem out of character at some points of this story but the emotional whirlwind I experienced was overwhelming..



It's funny, as I write this listening to the radio, Journey’s, Don’t Stop Believing, is playing.  It was Akiles’ song for his memorial video that included not just him but all dogs, not just bulldogs. I created a group aside from our fan page Silly Akiles, called Akiles Heals. Our mission was for all dog, animals and people to have a safe place to go when feeling troubled to express them, a sanctuary.  To paraphrase one of my favorite movies, Star Wars, Akiles became more powerful in death than I could ever imagine..

Photo: OZZY


The same day Akiles passed, I was contacted by Roberta Lorimer McMullen, a woman who helps rescue Bulldogs and has a group called Bingo for Bullies.  Once a month people play bingo, and winnings are donated to an approved rescue in the winner’s name.


Roberta messaged me and showed me a picture of a beautiful white bulldog.   I asked, "Who's that?" She replied, "A bully that needs a home, you interested?" I was but I was still in shock over Akiles.   I told her "Can we talk about this tomorrow?"

 I was hoping she wouldn't  recontact me and take the choice away from me. But wouldn’t you know first thing in the morning I saw a message.
Roberta told me there was a bite incident. The story was Ozzy bit the owner’s son and they couldn't keep Ozzy because they ran a daycare out the house.  The bite was reported because the son went to the hospital for an infection. Ozzy was going to go to a shelter if no one acted. We know he would have been put down (PTS), without a doubt.


Roberta told me she felt Ozzy needed someone like myself, no other pets, not a lot of chaos in my life that would give 100 percent attention to Ozzy and work with him. I might be his only chance.  I'm by no means a dog expert or claim to be a dog whisperer, but I know how to devote myself to these beautiful dogs, and have the patience.

Yes, I felt guilt over Akiles passing and me saying "yes" to Ozzy.  But this is what Akiles prepared me for and why he saved my life. Akiles left this world on his own terms when he knew I'd be strong enough to start my life again and begin living life, not just existing in it.


We spoke to Ozzys owner;  I assured them this dog would have a wonderful life, and they’d see him every day on my fan page. (They were in Illinois  and I live in Florida.) He was going to be a star.  The fact we were both of Hispanic background made them feel comfortable.  I promised them I would keep his name.

The preparations began to get Ozzy to me.  Roberta took charge of everything and said just heal and prepare yourself for your new baby. She posted what was taking place and all our followers and supporters were so happy and excited for me.  

I can’t tell you how wonderful our fans were during Akiles passing.  I got thousands of messages and support. They didn’t want to see me fall back into a life of drugs and chaos. Luckily, I had Brent, a bulldog I was bully-sitting for a friend who contacted me to watch his bulldog, while he entered recovery.

Ozzy's journey to me became known as the Ozzy train. Everyone wanted to be a part of it. People donated for his vet visit to make sure he was healthy and neutered. I told Roberta  "I don’t want people giving money. I work, make ok money, I could pay."  Her answer was that "You do so much for people and dogs". She told me,  " 'that warm fuzzy feeling I get when I see someone get past their struggles'. Don’t take that away from us".  So I let them help.     

A bully-train was organized. Eight total strangers came together and drove him to Roberta from Illinois to Tampa Florida! I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. I always heard of Pay-it-forward but to experience it was magical.

Ozzy arrived in Tampa, and to Roberta's house. I had to wait to get him as he would go first  to the vet for examination and neutering.  I felt best to let Roberta check him out, have everything done, then go get him.  All Roberta said is "You have no idea how beautiful this dog is. The pictures don't do justice."
tennisracket balls


The day came to go get Ozzy.  I took two of my tennis students with me, teenagers, to share this moment with me.  I coach world class juniors.  I know having played at a high level myself how draining and stressful competing can be and the toll it takes on one’s mind.  They were pleased at being invited to come with me.



I said "Guys ROAD TRIP!"

Everyone on Facebook and bulldog groups marked the day on the calendar. I planned on recording the moment and people were eagerly anticipating. We arrived at Roberta's, a woman I never met.

As my student recorded I opened the door to see Ozzy looking up at me.  I bent down and in one second he got up on his legs hugged me and started kissing me as if he was waiting for me. I began to cry and was hit with so many emotions.


Follow this link to see  Me meeting Ozzy for the first time.    I RESCUE OZZY  video Published on Nov 17, 2015

People  who saw the video said how happy I looked and cried with me.  The truth. I wasn’t.  All I thought was this isn’t Akiles.

However if Ozzy was willing to give it a shot so was I.  On the way home I stopped several times along the way because I needed to breathe.  Every time Ozzy looked at me from inside the car as if to say, "Hey Where you going dude, don’t forget me!"
I was like "oh boy". We got home I showed Ozzy to my family and he was wonderful. My sister, mom, nieces were excited; they had a new playmate to fill the void of Akiles.

My sister has an American bully who we knew wouldn’t take to Ozzy right away so we kept them separate.  After a three hour drive I was drained emotionally. I put Ozzy in the RV out back and walked into the house to read comments from the video I posted. There were so many. It was my way of avoiding bonding with Ozzy. I felt so much guilt cause of Akiles.

I questioned what I had just done. Was it to soon? Why did I do this? I asked God for a sign, or even something from Akiles. Wouldn’t you know I found one.

Out of so many comments on social media, I came across a comment from a 6 yr old girl named NEVAEH, (Heaven spelled backwards). It said, "Rob, don't be sad Akiles is heaven with Jesus and wants you to be happy and have Ozzy".  I was blown away and balled liked a baby.


Out of a thousand comments it was a 6 yr old girl who saw I was sad in the video. I immediately contacted the mother and said, "Who is this beautiful wise child of yours?".. We talked and instantly became friends.


I ran out the house opened the Rv and let Ozzy out and ran around with him on my sisters 2 acre property.   We stayed up all night together.  I talked to him as I pet him in bed telling him all about me and his brother Akiles who made this all possible. The bonding began.


I had to return to Roberta to make the adoption official and get Ozzy’s stitches out. I wanted this to be big. Only the best for my dogs.  One of my students is a pilot who owns a flight school and has planes. He always offered to take me flying but I was like "yeah OK".  I talked to him and he wanted to be part the Ozzy train. This was the last leg.
I chartered the plane, well let’s just say I’m still giving him free tennis lessons.  We took Ozzy on this small propeller plane and I recorded it. I called it the first bulldog in space. We arrived at the airport where we met Roberta, got the stitches out, signed the papers and returned to Miami. Ozzy was mine.


ozzy2I did it; I was now part of the rescue club. I couldn’t wait to have all these adventures with Ozzy and show him all the love Akiles and I reciprocated with each other. I knew Ozzy was a little wild but so was I in my past. Akiles taught me, and it was now my turn to teach Ozzy.  Our future looked bright and I said we are going to have so many fun years ahead of us.  If only Ozzy's adventures had been longer and happier..
To be continued>>>
Written by Robert Coriat


Related articles written by Robert:
The Power of a Dog's Unconditional Love Robert and Akiles
The Power of a Dogs Unconditional Love: Part 2 Dedicated to Akiles


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