More and more I believe that dogs come into our lives for a reason. When my husband and I brought home our first Schipperke pup (she was 12 weeks old), I was in love with this little black dog (whom we named Bizzy) . . . she was so sweet, cuddly, and curious. Within a few weeks, however, she was barking at strangers and lunging on leash. We were stunned at her behavior, and in an attempt to figure things out, we turned to watching Cesar Milan on T.V. and I signed up for a puppy class at a local chain pet store. Before I started that first class, I talked to the instructor who, after Bizzy growled at him, told me that Schipperkes were “difficult” and “challenging.” I felt so offended . . . and I was crushed; how could I go to a class like this where the trainer seemed to have my dog all figured out without really getting to know her?
Long story short, I somehow found Angi Lenz at Tails-A-Wagging who, upon hearing my story about Bizzy, exclaimed “We love Schipperkes! Little Captains!” And the rest is history, as they say . . . well, not really. Working with a reacitve dog (which is what Bizzy is), will likely be a life-long journey for me, and that’s ok. I’ve learned SO much through this little dog (including to not follow Cesar Milan methods), that I have found myself starting my own business catering to pets. It’s my way of giving something back, I guess; it’s putting my ever-growing knowledge to work to keep dogs and cats happy while their caretakers are away.
I’m a total fan of positive-reward training methods. I feel lucky to have so many gifted positive-reward trainers in Bellingham to work with. I thank them for turning me on to Patricial McConnell, my favorite author for things related to dogs.
Anyway . . . after Bizzy, a Furbaby Rescue Chihuahua (Jolly) came into our lives, then another Schipperke (Juno, a rescue whom we adopted through Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue), and yet another Schipperke rescue (Tripp, from a horrible Southern California puppy mill). I have Jolly and Tripp to thank for broadening my knowledge of veterinary care and expanding it into holistic approaches. I have Juno to thank for just being that “normal” dog. I love these dogs dearly and find inspiration in them every day.