Tabby

Tabby started in our home as a foster dog, for two years.  Peppertree Rescue, Tabby is a shy dog working very hard to be brave in the world and looking back at the early pictures, and e-mails, oh how she has grown.

Tabby was a fearful dog, and a life lesson for me.  When she arrived I tried to desensitize her to a lot, walks, cars, people, dogs – and I watched her just tense up and shut down each time.  So, we slowed down, we went at her pace and we focused on quality, not quantity.  I took the pressure off her, and me, and with the help of time, puzzle toys, snuffle mats and some good meds, Tabby has become a braver dog.  She still does not want to go on walks, but, she loves her car rides, and she went from being a nocturnal dog who ran at the sight or sound of people to going out in the sunlight and barking at the neighbors.

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The biggest positive change in Tabby’s life came in the form of two kittens.  We had always joked that Tabby was a cat trapped in a dog’s body, but when we brought our foster kittens home we saw this in truth.  She would groom the kittens and snuggle the kitten and to this day Rory would rather snuggle with his Tabby then with us.  Because of their bond she wanted to be where they were, and would start exploring more parts of the house as they explored.  And then when we added Jasper, whose puppy enthusiasm for play and all things naughty were not to be ignored, Tabby started playing more, and that led to her engaging with us more, and now she is a dog who greets me at the door with the rest of our slightly dysfunctional pack of dogs and cats, instead of waiting upstairs with a tucked tail and worried wag.

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Tabby still hides when people come over, and sudden movements will sometimes still send her running.  She still hates walks, and she will not pee for days when she is being dog sat, but Tabby is happy in her day to day, and getting more confident.  Cannot wait to see how she continues to grow.

Yaddo

Yaddo, also known as Shadow, also known as the Elkie.  A senior Norwegian Elkhound that brought a lot of laughter to our lives, and who I am pretty sure was around to keep me humble.  While he was officially a Canine Good Citizen, Canine Good Citizen Advanced, and a Therapy Dog, Yaddo was also a stubborn, independent dog that liked to live life his own way and reminded me daily that dog training sometimes requires creativity, and always requires patience.

Yaddo is why I work to keep things fun, and was a wonderful example of how training can enrich a dog’s life, regardless of their age.

Fluff

 

Losing Owen left a hole in our lives, a hole quickly filled by a dynamic dog who had no idea she was supposed to be a sedate senior.  At 11 years old Fluff arrived with little fur but a lot of spirit, and our lives have never been the same.

It was Fluff who truly helped me realize age was nothing but a number and pushed me further into dog training.  She loved to learn, and loved to be doing things.  Fluff effortlessly obtained her Canine Good Citizen certification and went on to become a Therapy Dog through Therapy Dog International with the help of Cydney Cross and Crossroads for Dogs.  But it was soon clear she was not done working, Fluff came alive when the treat pouch came out, so we tried agility, and eventually scent work through Good Choice Dog Training, where she truly shined.

Unfortunately cancer came, and we only had 18 months with this special girl.  But it is Fluff’s legacy that pushed me into dog training and showed me how much fun it can be.  Old Dogs New Tricks is very much Fluff’s legacy.

Owen

Owen is the one that started it all.  My first official dog.  While Fluff was my partner and Yaddo is my buddy, Owen was my heart.  Skinny, sick, with no ACLs and hip dysplasia Owen came to me broken down as a foster dog, and watching him heal was a privilege I will be forever grateful for.  We worked through his dog reactivity, we obtained our Canine Good Citizen certification and when it became obvious that his health issues were not something we could overcome we started a bucket list and lived every day to the fullest.