Welcome to my journey! This blog is about my adventures in dog training, pet therapy work, rescue work and life with my menagerie of animals. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

We could all use a reminder sometimes...

Recently I went through a period of questioning myself. Questioning whether I was "real" trainer material or if I could really call myself and "animal rescuer". From the moment I got set on this path of training I have felt it is what I should do, what I want to do. I have always thought of myself as an animal rescuer, it's how I identify myself internally. So when recently my family adopted a dog from out of state that we had never met, a thing I had always been leery of, and then a week later made the decision to return her to the rescue group, my whole identity came into question in my head and heart. She had issues that I most certainly am knowledgeable enough to deal with, however the conclusion I and my husband came to was that we were not willing, nor did we have the time and energy, to deal with the significant issues she presented and the effect it had on our currently harmonious home. So after returning her I thought to myself "If I were a "real" trainer I would have jumped at the challenge she presented" and "What kind of animal rescuer returns an animal they adopted?" A mini crisis of identity commenced. I say mini because while I still fell terrible that we had to make that decision it absolutely was the best thing for us and quite honestly for her as well. Life with us would have been boring, restrictive and tense for her. She would have been regimented, monitored and redirected constantly...not much fun for a 10 month old husky pup! As it turns out she found a foster home with no other dogs or cats and one person all to herself who enjoys taking on the challenging, rough around the edges dogs, a near perfect spot for her. I came to remember that being an animal rescuer means a lot more than just "rescuing" the animal, it means making the decisions that are best for the animals in our care no matter how hard those decisions may be. I am definitely an animal rescuer. As far as being a "real" trainer? I have come to the conclusion that even though I can teach owners how to handle the issues in their homes and I can practice it with foster dogs or board and trains, it is important to know my limitations, as well as that of all the members of my family, on what I want to fill my home with longterm. I will, and have, absolutely work with foster dogs that need help making them into model pets, or even just helping them learn the rules of a home, however when the day is done and I am relaxing on my couch with my kitties in my lap and a dog or two at my feet I don't want to be in a constant state of worry about whether or not, there is a coveted pig ear on the floor, or who gets fed in their crate or behind a gate, or live with a dog that spends it's life on a leash so it doesn't terrorize my cats. My home is my haven and I require peace inside it at the end of the day. I have decided it's ok to require that and strive for that. Our next dog is out there and you can bet I will be more vigilant in selection and personally, will never adopt sight unseen again. I need to observe and handle a dog, especially if it's out of the puppy phase, to determine if it will fit into our home and life. Picky? Maybe, but it doesn't make me any less of a trainer or animal rescuer!

This video idea has been rattling inside my head for some time now and recently I heard the perfect song for my idea, 'I Won't Give Up' by Jason Mraz. This latest bump in my road has been a catalyst to get it made. I needed a little visual reminder of all I have done and accomplished in the last 4 years of my life. I think we could all use a little reminder of our achievements and a good old fashioned pat yourself on the back moment! I hope you enjoy this video, while there are some faces whose memories sadden me, I am still so grateful that I knew them and they will live on in me forever. I Won't Give Up!

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