Love your Dog

The month of February focuses on love. You don’t have to give hearts, cards, candy or flowers, but little acts of appreciation are so important and appreciated!  Take the time to appreciate your co-workers, neighbors, fellow classmates, family and friends. Tell them what you appreciate, admire, enjoy or give them a complement. I guarantee it will make you feel better and you may have just brightened their day, week or month.

I encourage you to make a list of all the traits you love about your dog. Why did you choose the dog you did? What do you love about them? What do you like about them? And maybe what behaviors or commands do you struggle with? The love and like list should be lengthy. If you find that your struggle list is longer, then we should chat.

When I look back and think about the dogs I have had (and currently own), I have great memories of all of them. Growing up we had a black lab mix named Blackie-I know, we were really original! My brother and I loved this dog. We grew up on an 80-acre farm and Blackie went everywhere with us. He walked us down the driveway to the bus every day and he met us at the end of the driveway when we got home each day.  He explored the fields with us. He kept us company when we cleaned the barn. He even tried to get on the bus one day-our bus driver had to shoo him off with a broom. He passed away when we were teens but we have great memories of him.

Sandy was the first puppy my husband and I got after we were married. We already had 4 adopted cats. He was taking photos of available puppies at ARF and came home to show me her picture. That was it. We were at ARF the next day to look at her and take her home (after a $200 trip to PetSmart for a crate, food, training, treats and all the other good stuff a puppy needs). She was 12 weeks old.  She is the one that got me involved in dog training. She was wonderful. Great demo dog, loved doggie daycare, loved to please and work, was an excellent family and therapy dog.

After we had Sandy for about a year and a half, I wanted her to have a doggie friend so I started searching for a compatible dog. But, I made a good choice to wait until Sandy had bonded to us, had good manners and obedience and knew our routine so she could help train a new dog coming home.

I saw Ranger on a Golden Retriever rescue site and his picture was adorable. I arranged a meet and greet in Indy with Sandy and as soon as I saw him, I knew I was taking him home. He was friendly but a little bit timid. He was about a year old. He taught me patience since I had to work a little slower with him and help build his confidence. He was amazing with kids. He loved to jump in my lap, cuddle and we watched hours of TV together. He would get so relaxed, stretch out and start snoring. He is the dog that I could take anywhere off leash and he would never leave my side. He is also the only dog that would NEVER steal food off of a coffee table if I left the room with a leave it command.

Sheba was my prison puppy. She was part of the New Castle Henry County prison program and stayed with the inmates at the New Castle facility for 12 weeks and then they held an adoption ceremony. For some reason, nobody wanted to adopt Sheba, so I agreed to foster her. She was between 2-3 years old. My husband fell in love with her. I think it was her spunky terrier attitude. She was truly an all American dog. I used to tell people she was a miniature German ShepherdJ   She loved to hunt and would bring me moles every year. She was little but fierce and had the terrier attitude. She was attacked by coyotes twice and lived to tell about it. Sheba had a very different personality from my retrievers but all 3 of them got along beautifully. Sheba taught me different methods of training and how observe dogs and learn new skills. She slept on the end of the bed while she was in prison so as long as we had her, she always slept at the food of our bed (on my side I might add).

I trained Shelby, another golden retriever, for a family that was unable to keep her, so I brought her home. She was about 10 months old at that time.  She fit right into my pack.  I loved HER! She was an amazing demo dog. She had the best calming demeanor and helped so many reactive dogs. She was an excellent therapy dog and loved petting from everyone. Funny story about Shelby-I crated her for about 4 months after she came to live with us and then decided one night to leave her out while we went to dinner. She was a little over a year at this point. We came home and she had chewed a hole in the wall. So, smile and know that not all trainers’ dogs are perfect. Back in the crate she went for another 6 months before I decided to try that again.

I was heartbroken when she passed away at the age of 6.  She is the only personal dog I did CPR on but she died immediately. I rushed her to the vet for a necropsy since she was so young but all her lab, organ and bloodwork came back normal so the vet guessed that she had an aneurysm since it happened so fast. I happened to be right there when it happened and I am thankful for that. I know my pet first aid training helped me stay calm during the event and I am very grateful for that knowledge.

I currently have Ginger, my German Shepherd and Rusty, my Golden Retriever. I adopted Ginger from an older family that struggled with her energy. Ginger is my workaholic. I have attended numerous workshops and seminars with her. We’ve been to Iowa, Michigan, New York, Chicago and Ohio.  She travels great, loves puzzle games and has the perfect balance of energizer bunny with an off switch. She loves to swim and at 11 years old she still loves to fetch and learn new commands and tricks. She missed out on some important socialization as a puppy so she is a nervous dog. I had to spend a lot of time building her confidence and it took me years to trim her nails. I can now successfully Dremel them without too much drama. I love watching her play with some dogs She doesn’t offer play behavior often so when I get a dog in that she enjoys, watching her play makes my heart happy.

Rusty is my youngest puppy. I had been talking to my husband about getting another Golden and looking on various sites at all of these adorable golden puppies. I just happened to hear of a family that needed to rehome their 4-month old Golden and thought he would be perfect. I went to meet him and of course, he jumped right in my truck. He makes me laugh every day. He is great with other dogs, loves to play but also has a good off switch.  He has a few behaviors we need to work on and that is my goal with him this year. He just turned 2 in December.

When I think about all of my previous and current dogs, I am filled with gratitude, happiness and love. All of my dogs (and even cats) bring me enjoyment, peace and positive memories. My hope is that all of you have those same positive memories with your dogs (and all pets). If you are frustrated, angry or feeling desperate, please contact us so we can help you enjoy your best friend.