I am grateful for the opportunity to train dogs. Grateful for life. For learning lessons. For having people that love me and people that don't. For people who have walked into my life and been a great surprise, and for those who have walked away. No matter how painful, I have learned lessons. Life is a series of lessons for a great beyond that no one understands, truly. Above is a picture from a buddhist temple in Pleiku, Vietnam. My Dad was stationed on that mountain you can see as I looked out of that door at the temple, just beyond those prayer flags. It is one of the most beautiful memories that I have embedded in my memory from my trip to Vietnam. I wrote of that moment "I could swear I heard you whisper my name. I love you Dad." I was grateful to have the Dad that I did. My Dad died of Agent Orange from his time in Pleiku. I have started several projects in Pleiku, Vietnam to help people still being born with the effects from Agent Orange, as well as donating a service dog every year to a veteran with PTSD and/or TBI. The dogs names are always "Tony" and they are completely free if you are chosen. If you know someone in need please have them contact us. The next veteran will be chosen in October. There is an application that must be filled out. Spend every day finding 5 things to be grateful for. As has been said by the musical genius Dave Mathews, "For life is short but sweet for certain!"
Next up! I went to a local dog show to check out the vendors today. I was disappointed by what I saw. The pictures below show collars which look like regular cloth collars on the outside, but they are truly pinch collars. Anyone that knows me knows how much I despise these and any aversive pieces of equipment. But this really bothered me. These are to be hidden? What is the purpose here? Because people are learning what it is to mean "positive training" and how much animals respond so well to this? That is my hope, honestly. I always say how highly intelligent dogs are. They can detect cancer, explosives, diabetes, drugs...they can lower blood pressure and heart disease-to name just a few! So they are these amazingly smart creatures, but they can't learn things without choke, pinch or shock collars (E-stim, vibration, etc)? That doesn't sit well with me. Dogs come into our world and learn an average of 1,500-2,000 words in our language. What do you do to go into your dogs natural language, body language, and actually communicate with them? This is my challenge to you. From there...the sky is the limit as to what you can do! The human-animal bond will be built exponentially, and all of a sudden, these harsh pieces of equipment that are antiquated fall by the wayside. There are certainly people that defend these....but they truly aren't needed. They are uncomfortable at best and painful and damaging at their worst. ALL dogs deserve better.
AND!! We had our first annual stunt dog trials!!! WHAT FUN we had! A very special thank you goes out to Patty Stafford and Karen Wisler for judging all of our entrants. To all of our entrants for joining us!! To everyone who helped!! Liz Carney, my awesome daughter Anastiya, 2 of my very awesome students at Lawrence County Career and Technical Center Veterinary Assistant Program, Tess and Lacey....you guys are all more wonderful that you even know! This was such a great day!! And I can't wait for more! I had such a great time watching and photographing everyone present!
So, welcome Summer! The beginning of a busy season! I look forward to each student and dog that enters our classes (meaning you then become part of The Canine Campus family!) and keep watching facebook. We have lots of announcements and changes coming up! We will keep you and your dogs on your toes!!
Until the next blog-Namaste!