Unleash the love…
Do me favor. Think back to the first time you met your dog. Maybe you got her from a rescue, or “inherited” him from a friend or neighbor. Maybe he flew to you from across an ocean, or perhaps she was a stray pup who literally followed you home. Whatever your story, there’s an element of magic to how your dog came to be in your life, and how you felt about that first moment is unique to you.
For me, that first moment came after months and months of scouring dog adoption websites and visiting local shelters. I was convinced that when I met the right dog, I would get a “feeling” and know that they were meant to be mine. It was a long process. At one point I was spending so much time looking at these dog sites, staring at screen after screen of little doggy profiles, that when I went to bed that night, I asked my boyfriend, “When you close your eyes, do you see puppy faces?”
After a long search, I finally came across a litter of puppies that I felt had real potential. The litter showed up at - wait for it - a horse rescue, but I was pumped to visit, hoping that one of the little Australian Shepherd puppies would indeed be coming home with me.
As I sat on the floor, I was fully enveloped by a puppy pile of wagging tails and puppy kisses from this adorable bunch of wiggly, puppy breathed, fur balls crawling all over me. But there was this one… a red tri-colored Aussie girl. I honestly don’t know what it was, but I was so drawn to her. She kept coming up to me and she was so soft and she had that cute little fat belly that all puppies seem to have. Her little paw pads were so smooth and pink, and she licked my nose as I held her. But the thing that really got me? At one point, I looked in her eyes, and she looked right back and held my gaze. This is something that many young puppies would not do (holding eye contact can be a bit intimidating for them after all). But she was not scared, nor overly confident, she just looked deeply and inquisitively back at me... and, in my head I heard myself saying the words, “Are you my puppy?” In her eyes, I swear she somehow answered “yes”.
Aaaaaand I was done. That was it. In that moment I knew she was my dog. I was so happy, I cried. Yep. I actually cried.
I made the arrangements for the adoption and she was my girl. I renamed her “Bailey” and she was an awesome dog! I was committed that I was going to do everything right. I was eager to welcome her home as my head filled with images of long hikes, hanging out on outdoor patios, camping trips, car rides, and all sorts of new adventures with my new faithful four legged companion by my side.
So now back to you… What is your love story? Whether it’s similar to mine or not, I’m guessing that the moment you invited that dog into your life, you too were filled with excitement and great big ideas for what the future might hold. At that time, you were excited to spend time with your dog. To rush home and see them, get to know them, and play!
Perhaps you’ve managed to maintain that feeling in which case, I am very glad for you (and your dog)! For many of us though, time marched on and things may not have turned out as we had planned. Perhaps we did not know how to train our dog, or life got complicated. Perhaps having a pet was more work than we bargained for. Perhaps we got overwhelmed trying to learn to speak “dog”, and despite the very best of intentions, we put our relationship with our dog on the back burner. Or worse, gave up altogether.
But why don’t we invest back into those relationships? There is study after study stating the benefits of pet ownership and how they can improve our health and enrich our lives. Remember there was a time when your pup was not “just a dog” to you. At that time, you were not thinking of your dog as periphery, a chore, or a burden. When you brought him home, you were not thinking about juggling work obligations, soccer practice with the kids, trips away, or navigating your way through all those annoying bumps in the road that appear on our path. You were simply brimming with excitement over what life might look like with a dog in it.
For those of us who have lost touch, I bring this up NOT to make us feel guilty, but to remind us why we got a dog in the first place. Think back to those feelings of love and joy that we once had when your dog first came into your life, and please know you can feel that giddiness all over again. It is achievable. Whether your dog is a senior, in the middle of her life, or that little ball of joy that you just brought home… it is not too late! Start seeing them, start listening to what they are telling you, start playing, start training, start communicating clearly. Connect again. Because you can do it!
It is never too late! Unleash the love.
- Debbie Briggs • Paws Unleashed Trainer & Behavior Specialist
SHARE NOW & AND BE ENTERED TO WIN FREE DOG TRAINING!
1. Simply like and follow this blog
2. Next, post a picture of you with your dog the day you brought them home on Facebook or Instagram by Sunday 7/15/18
3. Use hashtag #unleashthelovecontest
4. ALSO tag paws unleashed on your post
You will be automatically entered to WIN FREE DOG TRAINING! If you have questions please email: email@example.com ...Winners will be announced on TUESDAY 7/17/18
Note: You do not have to be a current Paws Unleashed client, this contest is open to all dog owners. Must be a Twin Cities resident and within 50 miles of the Paws Unleashed location.
Paws Unleashed is a small family owned business that began in 2011 as Ruff N Ready Dogs. Owner Caitlin Olausen is a certified professional dog trainer and has over 8 years of experience in the field. Learn more about us »
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