Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm about to be a dog trainer!

I've reached one of those moments in your life where you never thought in a million years you would be.  When I moved to Austin almost 4 years ago, I never thought I would have gotten so involved with training and understanding dogs.  I owe it all to one special dog though, for causing me to get the ball rolling.
Graduating from Basic Obedience!
This is my special guy, Payden.  After I bought my house, I wanted a dog sooooooo bad!  With my work schedule, I couldn't get a small puppy, but I had to have a dog that would be good around cats, and ferrets (I had 2 of each at the time!)  I decided that Craigslist was probably the best route, and I checked it everyday hoping to find the right dog.  Soon, I found a post where a girl said that she loved the dog dearly, but her apartment complex wouldn't let her keep him, because he was a "pit bull" (hate that term!).  If she didn't find a home for him that day, the apartment complex was going to call animal control and have him taken.  He had been raised around cats and ferrets since he was a pup.  PERFECT!
I picked him up that night after I got off work, about 3am.  He was loving and happy, and sure enough got along splendidly with my other pets!  Sadly, I didn't even have him a full week, before he was diagnosed with Parvo.  I was faced with the decision of spending a couple hundred bucks to put him to sleep, or a couple thousand to keep him alive.  I called my mom in tears begging her to tell me what to do, but like a good mom, she said I had to make the choice.  After talking to the vet, and being assured that she had seen dogs in much worse condition than him pull through, I decided that I just couldn't bear putting him down.  I mean, look at that face!
Contemplating the meaning of it all.

So I decided to use the money I had been saving to go to Korea with, and save this dogs life.  Looking back, I have no regrets at all.  Not long after his recovery though (the standard 7-21 days I have now learned!) he learned his place in our pack.  And his place was claiming me,  being reactive, and not listening!  I needed help!  And fast!  I had a dog that I loved dearly, and had helped me overcome a serious depression when my father died of cancer.  But I had no idea how to control him.
I knew a friend who had issues with his boxer, the dog was very reactive and had bit a few people.  I asked him where he had taken his dog, and he referred me to Tara Stermer.  I knew right away that she knew her stuff, because on the main page of her website was my friends dog, sitting in a pack with about 10 other dogs.  I signed up for a basic obedience class with her as soon as I could!  That was in March of 2010.
Fast forward to now.  Payden has been through basic obedience, a reactive dog class, and is currently going through intermediate obedience class.  He is controllable, listens to me, and has 10x more focus than he did before I started classes with him.  He has come so far, and worked very hard (both of us have!)
He is the reason that I even met Tara.  He is the reason I am a proud "pit bull" owner (except now I only call him a staffie, because that is what he really is!).  He is the reason I applied to be an intern with Tara.  He is the reason I have learned so much about dogs, and am about to start teaching basic obedience classes for people that were just like I was.  He is the reason I fight for dogs, especially "pit bulls" (staffies!), because I know just what amazing creatures they are.


1 comment:

  1. good on you! What a lovely inspiring story :)