ABOUT WHAT I DO:
I just moved from a long adventure in the deep South back to the West side of things. What a test of adaptability that was. Those of you that know me well - you must be wondering exactly how I managed to avoid being hung or converted (the buckle of the Bible Belt is quite a place to find yourself). When all else fails, hang out with all senior citizens - they know shit and don't give a rat's ass about your issues.
Anyway, now that I have rejoined the real world, I am quite happy to be around peers - both old and new. I can't wait to go to a show, I haven't seen a live band in years! Slowly unpacking my life, which I dragged across country, and that I have decided I don't need most of. Perspective is a wonderous creature.
I am looking forward to summer time BBQ's, making enough friends to throw a dinner party, walking my dogs in all kinds of new places, learning how to use my old school SLR so I can take amazing photos, continuing to document my life with ink on my body, maybe going on a date and all around enjoying the lessons of the last few years....
ABOUT WHAT I DO (from the top of my soapbox of course):
I am the owner/operator of Safe Dogs By The River, a training, nutrition and education endeavor. For the last several years (2006-2009) SDBTR was performing the community service of companion animal & livestock rescue on a beautiful 6 acre rescue farm. When I rescued, rather than just churning them out into sub par households; where their fate was as questionable as their history (just to say I placed animals), I invested heavily in individual animals. If they had issues, I worked to improve or manage them - and be honest about them. I used a holistic approach, relying heavily on nutrition. Poor nutrition = lack of focus, very hard to learn that way, whether you are a dog or a person. All lessons were positive, no matter how subtle or even invisible they seemed to be to people. I am no longer rescuing, I am moving on to the next chapter in my relationship with animals. They have yet to show me exactly where that road fork begins or ends, but I am confident it will be quite an adventure.
We all have to remember that dogs have spent their entire existence studying us. They know our language better than we do, literally. The subtle body postures and cues that we often overlook in this particular era are never lost on the dog. However, people know very little about dog's communication. We see the results of this language barrier every day. It can breed television shows, shelter & training facilities and many heartbreaks. Conversely, it can breed wonderful relationships, search & rescue, therapy and service dogs and heroes that fill the heart with so much joy it feels like it will burst. Both of these options have a common denominator - time. The investment or lack of, can be an indicator of the relationship you will have with your companion animal, whether it's a dog, a horse, a person or a hamster.
I believe our animals belong in our homes, and I teach people how to teach them how to do that. Animals don't automatically know how to live in our world. Their natural behaviors are the very things that cause us to banish them to the outdoors, relinquish them or otherwise neglect their needs. We owe it to them to teach them how to live happily in our world. There are no stupid dogs, just lack of proper communication. Truthfully, the animals are easy, it's the people that are hard.
I screen any potential clients, heavily. Enthusiasm and a desire to learn are necessary components. Having the dog of your dreams will take compromise and a lot of work. Remember, you are learning a whole new language so be patient with yourself and your companion. There are no quick fixes, no good dog pills and no short cuts. You and your dog deserve the time it takes to foster a relationship of mutual trust, love and respect.
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