I have been fortunate over the past XX years :>) to have some really awesome dogs to share my life. They have all been pets first and teammates second and they have taught me very valuable lessons and added to my life.

The first thing my dogs have taught me is that you can’t predict the details of your life. You just can’t foresee the future. Life often turns out to be not quite what we were planning and sometimes this can be a good thing.

Who would know that an out of control Siberian Husky, Rasha, would set me on the path of dog training. She would run out the front door and it would take me hours to catch her. One day she actually ran into the side of a moving car. She didn’t hurt herself but did manage to dent the side of the car. It was at that point that I was lucky to run into a person that trained dogs. I would have never dreamed that I’d fall in love with this dog and that she would become my best friend, teacher, and a gateway to a new future.

Another important lesson that my dogs have taught me is to live in the present and enjoy the time I have to spend with them and with others.

My Shetland Sheepdog, Nessie, taught me to enjoy each minute of life. She was 4 years young when I lost her to the big “C.” Nessie and I had so much fun together training and showing. She would sit on my lap so that I could hold her chew bone and she munched on it for hours. Even though my time with her was too short, Nessie guided me on the path of dog training. Through her I met new people and wonderful mentors.

My dogs seem to have the ability for a natural gift for compassion and understanding. They were deeply affected by my emotions.

Two of my dogs, Du, a Golden Retriever, and Easy, a Border Collie, helped me though a very tough break up and divorce. They could tell when I was upset and stressed and found ways to help and support me through tough times. Du was a real clown and always made me laugh even during the toughest of times. Easy was the thinker and seemed to know just when I needed a head to pet and would come and nuzzle up to me. No matter how upset I would be, they shared their patient loving nature with me.

One of the greatest joys of having a dog is that they are always thrilled to see me regardless of how rotten my day was. When I wake in the morning they greet me with excited expecting eyes and when I come home they greet me at the door and say “Hi, How are you doing? Welcome home.

It is always such a great feeling to come home to dogs that are excited to see me. When people come over or we are out and about, my dogs LOVE to meet and greet people. They have never met a person they have not liked. They just always bring a smile to people’s faces. Once, while walking through a parking lot with Du and Solo, both Golden Retrievers, a lady stopped me. She commented “boy you can tell your dog’s just LOVE life”. My comment back was “yes ma’am, they really do.” Du and Solo put a smile on her face as well as mine. Wow what an impact that one encounter and comment had. I am so glad that my dogs shared their joy with a stranger.

My dogs also remind me that we all are meant to play and have fun! Working 24/7 is wasting a big part of your life.

About a year ago I lost a very special dog, Rip, a Border Collie. Rip was such a special dog! He had a wicked sense of humor and was always game for anything as long as he was with me. His loss reminded me that there was so much we wanted to do together but “work” or “life” always seemed to get in the way. While Rip loved everything, he didn’t care about titles or winning BUT he did love showing and the special attention he always received from me and the crowd. He would work for the crowd. The more applause or laughter the more fun he had and the more he enjoyed showing. I still miss him terribly.

I have learned so much from all my dogs. It is so easy to lose sight of the important things. Life, at times can be full of negative people, comments and situations. When feeling like the walls are closing in on you, look to your dogs for help.

Whenever I’m feeling out of sorts or just need to be more centered, I look at my dogs, now Sly, Riker and Karrde, all Border Collies, and say “let’s go do something.” It can be a walk around the property or a game of ball in the field or a short training session. I just exhale and enjoy my time with them.

No matter what I’m feeling whether I am busy, stressed, anxious, or angry, just putting my hands on Sly, Riker, or Karrde’s head and cuddling up to them takes all my troubles away and helps me feel better. Petting a dog can be one of the most mindful, peaceful, and calming moments you can experience.

Enjoy your dog and the time you have with him. Never forget the bond you share, the gift each dog gives you, and the time you have together!