I stumbled across this message while I was researching marketing ideas for my new business. The question asked “If I took _____ from you, what would you lose”
The author of the post continued the article to explain what she would lose if blogging was taken from her. She felt she would lose her creative outlet, a way to express herself and her connection to the readers. This being my first blog post, I really could not relate to that, but it got me thinking: what if my dogs were taken from me?
I am one of those “crazy dog people.” I admit it. I am okay with it. I enjoy teaching them new things, and taking them places with me. I am a member of a local rescue group and volunteer in a local shelter helping homeless animals find their new families. For most of my childhood I wanted to be a Veterinarian but decided I did not enjoy the medicine as much as I probably should to make it through 4 years of Vet School, so I went into training and behavior instead.
I got my first dog at 19 from the SPCA. He had been staying at the animal hospital where I worked and the original owners had surrendered him because he was too much work, or some other stupid reason we hear at the shelter every day. Looking back, he was a perfect dog, and I was incredibly lucky to have him as a first time dog owner.
Opal came into my life when I started working with Animal Rescue of Tidewater in 2004. She was in foster care at the time and working in the same obedience class I was taking with another dog for the rescue. Her foster family ended up adopting her, then the family split, and Opal was the victim of long hours and little exercise. Still not able to have a dog after losing Max, I agreed to puppy sit which involved a 3 month stay at the apartment while Opal’s mom at the time, was away for training. Shortly after that Opal went up for adoption again, and I was in a better place to keep a dog. Knowing no one but me would want an 8 year old fear biter with separation anxiety, I adopted her in 2009.
Opal has been the reason I have pursued dog training and behavior. She is my name sake for the Freckled Paw, and she is my heart dog. She has taught me so much about dog’s body language, and how to read what the dogs need and how to help them. She has been a wonderful teacher to the 6 foster dogs, 2 kittens and cat that have come through my home.
I retired Opal from being an ambassador for the Pit Bull breed and working events for the Pit Bull Awareness Coalition in 2012, when she stopped wanting to get in the car. It was the least I could do for the dog who opened the door to so many opportunities for me. Without her I would never had the chance to meet all the wonderful dog people in my life, and become the person I am today.
Since then, there had been Scooter, Pixie, Opie, and numerous foster dogs who have shared my life. I love them all for their quirks, challenges, and the doors they have opened for me.
So as you can see, I would be nothing without my dogs.