Fairytale's Hugo
(Am/Can Ch. Fairytale's Aramis, HIC, HOF x
Am Ch. Fairytale's Bashka)
DOB: 03/24/2012

Briards are fabulous but they are not a breed for everybody and buying a puppy is a true commitment new families have to make. This is why I think it is important for people and especially people looking for a briard to read Hugo's story. Hugo's story is not the only one out there. His has a happy ending. But some don't.

Hugo is one of Horat and Paws' littermates. Hugo was Mr Red as a baby. He was the most laid back, easy going puppy. A family was sent to me by another breeder since they did not have a tawny male puppy available at that time for that family. The family had a pretty compelling story about what they wanted to do with the puppy and gave right arguments to me (as well as to the other breeder). So Mr Red left for their home. At Christmas 2012 I received a wonderful card saying how much mr Red was fantastic etc. In February 2013, the briard community was alerted that a young male was on Craig's list for sale in the area where that family was. I immediately contacted them. No answer. I had other people contact them, no answer. Eventually after 2 months of worrying and search, they returned an email. The next morning we arrived at the meeting point. Our hearts sunk. It was impossible to come close to the dog who was visibly terrorized, barked and launched. It became obvious that selling him had been impossible and therefore they finally had decided to return him to me. We thought, we might have to euthanize him since his mental state was such a disaster. We will never know all the details of what happened to mr Red and what he lived for the 10 months he was away from here. But one thing is very clear, while he was fed and clean, mr red had never been taken to the vet (except when with us here prior to his departure) and more critically he lacked in all key elements that a puppy briard must receive in terms of education and socialization. As a consequence he was terrorized by everybody and everything. His mechanism of self-protection was to bark and let you know that he did not want to interact. And at 90lbs he could have done serious damage to people, kids or other animals who did not understand that he was scared himself. The good part was that he was not aggressive and not attacking, "only" self-protecting. If he had been a dominant dog, we would most likely not have been able to get to where we are today.

It took us close to 2 hours to get him out of the car, but once he walked into our yard, it was like a switch came on in his brain and he remembered his puppyhood. He then allowed us to come close to him. We renamed him that same day and as Hugo, he started his new life. Hugo showed very quickly that he is a very intelligent dog. Hugo learned to play and to run free in our fenced area again. Initially he never ran and I thought he had a physical issue. One morning a rabbit took off under his nose and he followed. Since then he runs. But I needed to find a way to get him out of his fears and to rehabilitate him. Trusting friends who know how to behave around dogs helped immensely and at home, Hugo learned to meet them and to be OK with them. I enlisted a trainer with special abilities for this kind of situations and we worked weekly with her and followed with daily exercises to address his past. Believe me that finding ways to meet people and to do it in a manner that is correct is not easy. It is easy when you socialize a puppy, it is very hard when you try to rehabilitate a terrorized adolescent male. Hugo became a true project and all free time was dedicated to his recovery. I learned a tremendous amount of new details through this. After 6 months of that intense process, Hugo is now completely part of the family here, is able to go to places and meet people but he is still handshy when someone comes with his/her hands above his head. He has stopped barking at other dogs and is able to watch at the park other dogs train or walk or better yet, sometimes, he can even ignore them, but not always. But it remains a continuous effort and special socialization trips are still part of the weekly tasks. If Hugo had not had the chance that we eventually found him and that his great first 10 weeks here built a positive background for him as a baby, he would most likely be dead today, abandoned and / or euthanized.

To accommodate the return of Hugo here and the time needed for Hugo's rehab, I had to rehome one of my own dogs (Ficelle went to live with Janelle) but as his breeder, it was my responsibility to him. But as new puppy owners, it is your commitment to do the right things by the puppy you are bringing into your family. When you consider a puppy, be honest with yourself and be honest with the breeder. If it is not the right time, if you don't really have the patience, money, and time to dedicate to a proper education, please don't get a briard.

Hugo is a very sweet and fun boy. He is a very handsome adolescent, looking a bit like a polar bear right now since he is in the very light stage of color. And above all he LOVES life. Imagining that he was wasted and could have died out of neglect is a horrifying thought.

After 1 year here, I was completely convinced I would never let Hugo go in a new family because we all love him so much and he is so much love and fun. But one should never say never and when my friend Ina asked me if I would let him go to live with Ruth, I decided to give it a trial and after many conversations and three days here, Ruth brought Hugo to her home where he now lives the life of a king with his girlfriend Poppy. I am very glad that Hugo's story ends up in such a good way and that he was able to fully recover and now has the life he should have had in the first place. But how many briards don't get that second chance to have a full rehab.