Saturday, February 13, 2010

About Me

Hi, after reading my blog last night, it seemed like this might be a good time to tell you a little about me. I'm very self conscious. It's difficult for me to talk about myself.

I love dogs. Since 1983 I've earned my living working with dogs. Every day I've enjoyed the peace of mind that comes from hanging with the dogs.

My Aunt Margaret showed dogs and horses when I was a kid. She was the biggest inspiration in my life. When I was eight, she taught me about speaking dog. "You should listen to and watch the dogs, they'll tell you." she would lecture. I didn't know what the deuce she was talking about, but I adored her, so I watched.

My first solo training project was a Boxer named Donovan. I lived in Chicago at the time. The devilish teenager I was enjoyed putting Donovan in a sit stay on a busy corner. From the opposite corner (same block, no streets crossed) he would streak through the crowd to me when I called. This dog defended me from a would be attacker when we were out walking one night. I have been blessed with so many wonderful dogs through the years.

The number one dog in my life has been a Rottweiler named for the Norse god of war and victory, brother of Thor. I have never been more connected to anything in my life than I was this dog. He taught me so much about dogs and life. He read my mind. He was so smart he made me think that I was a good dog trainer. Proofing my training was important to me in the day. It was early morning. No one was in the forest preserve. I put Tyr on a sit stay in the middle of an open field where I could see him, then proceeded to walk around about an acre and a half lake. I'm taking my time enjoying my well trained dog, when a couple come up to him and try to take him with them. Now, I'm on the other side of the lake yelling into the wind, "That's my dog."Yes, I can do some hum dingers!

Tyr moved with us to Carrvilla where he died at 12.5 yrs. His offspring populated my life until 1999 when our last rottie died of old age. During this time I was the crazy dog lady with a dozen dogs. Cesar is right; to control a pack you must know what you are doing. There's usually a dog that will become your enforcer dog.

As I write this it becomes so emotional for me.

The Monks of New Skete were my heroes, read everything practically ever written on dogs back then. Before people could take my puppy home they had to read, How to be your Dog's Best Friend. I scoured garage sales for things to put into the puppy play yards. Dogs raised in an enriched environment have an advantage. We found it to be well worth the effort.

Living with a pack of dogs on ten acres and horses & chickens & cows was a great time in my life. Yorkville was country. I was a city girl, who always wanted to live in the country. When my husband would come home from work, we'd have dinner on the porch while watching the Rottweilers play. Watching puppies learn their language for the first time is always a hoot. I love puppies.

Anyway somewhere along the line when I was showing my Rottweilers people started coming to me for help with behavioral problems. For years I helped people with their dog problems for the fun of it. People hung out at my house and we trained until late in the evening. I didn't start charging until after my husband's accident when I had to return to work.

Success in the show ring came with hard work. The crystal and the memorabilia are tucked away somewhere. It was fun. Fast forward.

When we closed on our house in Puerto Rico, we stayed here three weeks, never saw a dog in the street near my house. We saw them elsewhere on the island, still did not know much other than no animal control. That is such an understatement!

A couple of months later, I'm one month post op major abdominal surgery, sitting like a lump on the veranda of my new home when I see the cutest little dog at the bottom of my driveway. A whole new love affair began that day.

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