Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bust out the Kleenex...

Those who know me, who really know me, understand that it is a rarity to hear about, let alone see, me crying.  The two words "emotion" and "Laura" just don't go together.  I proudly grew up as a tomboy, playing with dirt and stones, G.I. Joe's and Legos, burning insects with a magnifying glass.  Christ, I remember getting several Barbie dolls and, without hesitation, cutting their hair straight down to the scalp.  Someone got me a Barbie car for my birthday went I was about 9 years old and I proceeded to drive it straight off the top of my mom's car...busting the doors off in the process.

I guess you could say that I'm too proud to let emotions in the form of crying and grievance surface in my daily life.  Ever since I can remember I've been of the "Let's have some fun!" mindset, laughing all along the way trying to see the (cliche) glass half-full.   I like to smile, I like to laugh, I like to get by with the least invasive emotions during my waking hours.

Blame it on hormones, getting wiser, being married, whatever you want, but I think I'm starting to become a softy.  I've cried more in the past couple of months than I have between the ages of 9 and 29 combined.  Some of it has been over human-human relationships, but most of it has been over dog-human relationships.  For the sake of this blog, I will focus on the latter.

Simple thoughts, reflections and contemplative thoughts have given Laura's "Water Works" a run for their money.  The realization and acceptance that Fanny is in her last phase of physical life.  Witnessing the special relationship Fanny and Aaron have...the nightly ritual where Aaron rubs her eyes in the perfect spot, at the perfect pressure for the perfect duration; something she has never enjoyed from me...just him.  The beautiful relationship Fanny and Oscar share; the sincere muzzle kisses and mutual acceptance.  The pure joy a simple Frisbee can bring to Oscar (for hours!).  The amazing perseverance Oscar has had with all his digestive and behavioral challenges.

These dang dogs have respectfully demanded more emotional involvement in me than most of my human friends.  They have given back more than their fair share of unconditional love in return.  Reflecting on relationships, respecting another being (fur or skin), and understanding a true sense of togetherness.  Involvement at this level is what makes life worth living...and it never hurts to have a box of Kleenex as a wing man.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One Happy Puppy

If I only knew the immense happiness that dang, rancid, floppy Frisbee brings to Oscar...


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Yesterday I took my computer exam to test my knowledge in order to hopefully become a Certified Pet Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed.   And now, on the back end of my studying and preparing, I find myself reflecting back on the past 15 months of my "official" dog training experiences.

I say "official" because before I met Kerry and Eric, I was just a hobby trainer...having fun with my own dogs.  I'm quite sure that both Kerry and Eric pegged me right away as one of those crazy dog owners and I am grateful that one Saturday morning Eric asked if I would like to help out with classes and perhaps become an assistant trainer.  It was hard not to just splurt out, "OH my golly, yes, yes, yes!" so I did my best to have some impulse control and thanked him and told him I would think about it and get back to him.   

Fast forward to a few weeks later and there I was...an assistant trainer with BehaviorWorks.  I am grateful and honored that Kerry and Eric asked me to join them.  Over time, they even trusted me enough to lead my own class and now have afforded me the opportunity to spearhead an entirely new agility class series.

Yesterday was a milestone in my life, both personally and professionally.  Personally, it felt good to fulfill a desire I have to continue learning about dog behavior and never settle into mediocrity...you know, striving for greater knowledge.  Professionally, I'm thrilled that if I do, in fact, pass the CPDT-KA exam, that I can represent a company that helped push me get where I am today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Absolutely Lovely

Hubby, Fanny, Oscar and I just got back from a beautiful exploration journey.  The weather is gorgeous today in Wisconsin.  I mean, c'mon, it's March 10th and it's 60 degrees outside?  Yes, I'll take it, thank you very much.

I was pleasantly surprised when I told my hubby that I was going to take off with Oscar for a little car ride and romp around that he wanted to tag along with Fanny (insert a click and reward for him here!).  So, off we went.  We all packed into my little black station wagon and headed off to a nearby college that has a great, large open area for romping and exploring.

Everything was perfect.  All humans were 100% present in the moment and thoroughly enjoying themselves.  And the dogs, with complete and utter appreciation, joined us on our hour-long adventure.  The sun was shining brightly, the wind was nice and brisk -- to which the dogs' noses went up in peak interest countless times -- there were a scattering of other people and dogs, but not too much that we all had to be concerned about running up on each other.

Oscar behaved perfectly to which I caught myself on numerous occasions smiling from ear-to-ear.  I watched as he eagerly and effortlessly bounded around, directing small invitations of play to Fanny (of course ignored!). We brought his most favorite frisbee along and he gladly ran after it...sometimes he ran right by because of more interesting things, but then would come back and find it, then lop it up and gallop around oh-so-happily.

Fanny was a pure joy to watch.  She is fascinating to watch at her age, as I've blogged about in the past.  She plowed up and down the hills and had her "I'm outside and lovin' it" face on.  She walked slowly and with intention and for the first time in a very long time, did not lose her footing at any time.  After our venture came to an end and it was time to jump up into the car - she cleared it with ease.  I pure sign to my hubby and I that the refreshment of our journey was exactly what she needed.

Moments like this are ones to be cherished.  They are extremely special to me.  Our entire family was out together.  There were times where I wanted to bring out my camera and capture this time, but I consciously stopped myself, wanting to soak in the pure beauty of just being there.  We were with each other with mutual, genuine interest and intent.  We were truly connected.  It was absolutely lovely.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hey, do you workout?

Really Oscar?  Really?!  It's a snowy afternoon and early evening here in the Milwaukee area and in typical Friday fashion, Oscar spent all day at day care.  I went to pick him up a little early because of the weather and when he came out from the back crate room, he gave me his normal ear-down, wiggle wag butt greeting.  Yay!  Then, he looked out the door to leave and froze...then walked backwards away from the door like he didn't want to have anything to do with going out there.  Silly boy! He's done this before when it's been really wet out, so I knew there was no way of coaxing him out (I did NOT have my treat pouch on me at work today, after all).

So, much to the surprise of the two full-grown men waiting for their dogs in the lobby, I bent down at the knees and picked Oscar straight up off the ground.  All 75 pounds of him.  Both guys were taken back a bit and just sat there almost dumbfounded that I had the physical ability to do that.  Part of me wishes that one of them asked me if I worked out, where in response I would have said, "Why no, I don't.  I just love my dog enough to lift his ass off the ground to get him home."

Oh, Oscar, how I love you and all your little quirks.  Silly puppy.