Sometimes a song or artist can transport you to another time and place. Tim McGraw holds that power over me. My once favorite musician throughout junior high and high school; the first CD I bought his Not a Moment Too Soon. And I aged myself with the CD comment…
I can still hear his voice blasting through warn speakers of my first car, a ‘74 burnt orange Chevy Vega. And if I try hard enough and close my eyes I can feel my passenger, Miley.
A wiry, brown mutt Mi was my first real dog. I had others growing up, but she was the first one that was truly mine. That I owned. Or she owned me. She'd sit nestled in my console, cruising the streets of St. George. If I wasn't at school or at work that dog was always with me.
I'd belt whatever song was playing and try to get her to howl along with the words. Sometimes it worked. God, I wish i I had recorded her howl/yowl/whine combo because it was something to behold.
Our song was Something Like That, or as I always called it, The Barbecue Song. It may sound like a weird choice if you’ve ever heard it, but I worked so hard to win that little timid dog over. I swear she recognized the beat, even years later. No matter how long it had been that song would come on the radio and she would get all excited.
I played it for her one last time the day I let her go.
It's been almost three years and my heart still aches. But it's dulled and now I find I can cherish her memories. As with my other dogs, a piece of her is always with me, will always be with me.
So today I'll turn up my phone just a little louder and let her come back to me again. Because they never really leave us. Not when they take a piece of our hearts with them.
Luna and I have been excited for the new Trick Dog titles ever since the American Kennel Club (AKC) announced the program in May. The AKC partnered with Kyra Sundance’s Do More With Your Dog and is designed for all dogs to participate.
“Tricks” are something Luna has done almost naturally since the day she came into our house. Whether it was something she picked up during a quick training session (balancing a treat) or she just did (perch - front paws on an item like a stool). A natural worker and eager to please, grab a handful of treats and give her some one-on-one time and Luna’s ready to go!
There are so many things I love about this program’s design. First, it’s simple to get involved in. You can find a list of all the tricks for each title (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Performer) on the AKC’s website. This makes it easy for you to practice at home at your own pace if you can’t find classes near you. Kyra Sundance even released a book called 101 Dog Tricks that contains many of the tricks with step-by-step instructions. Once you’re ready to title you don’t have to wait for a dog show or compete dozens of times. All Trick Dog titles just have to be passed off by an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator.
Trick Dog also allows you to dip your toes into the world of several AKC sports. There are obedience tricks involving the basics of sit and down alongside agility equipment like the weave poles and tunnel. And if these are commands your dog is familiar with you can challenge yourself with tricks such as pulling a toy with a rope or balancing on a barrel. Trick Dog is designed to be fun and I think it meets that goal.
Over the next few weeks we’ll have more updates on our Trick Dog journey. I hope it will inspire you to do more with your own dog, even if you never decide to title.
I think it's safe to say I'm terrible at this blogging thing. Well over a year since the last time Luna and I have caught up with things here. Charlie had just come home to us!
It's also been over a year since we said goodbye to Boots and while I don't want to rehash her loss again I will add this insert from the post I shared on Facebook the day we let her go:
“She was a wonderful dog, had one of the best temperaments I have ever seen, was sweet, and so smart. Although she only lived in our home for several years many of you know she was part of my family for her entire life (all 15 years). She was one of the last parts of my dad that was still with me.”
For the first time in a long while I am not operating the Doggy Old Folks Home. Even now that feels weird. But at least we aren't at the vet's every month!
Not that we never see Dr. Taylor over at Brookside, because that would make life too easy. Just last week I found a tumor next to Luna's little tail nub that had to be removed. It looks like it's benign and Luna is taking it in stride so I'm doing my best to emulate her and not worry. Hard when you know all the things that might go wrong.
But we have had a lot of good things happen in the last year, too. Both Charlie and Ella passed their Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) on their first attempt. I had someone make the mistake of asking me if that meant they were smarter than Luna - No, they have less issues from their past to work through. Luna can run circles around both of them when it comes to obedience.
Lots of changes on the training front. I’ve been assisting and training puppy classes, making it harder for me to fit in training with my own dogs. At long last we’ve started dipping our toes into rally - I’m sure I have a post around here somewhere talking about how agility was a goal for Luna. We’ve dropped Rally and are getting ready to start a trick dog class in a couple weeks.
Right now life is good… now if I can just find time to write more!
Lisa (and Luna)