Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart…Possibly because my birthday falls on or near it every year! I also like the idea of thinking back to all the things which make me so thankful. While I am eternally grateful for how fortunate I am, I do tend to zoom through life enjoying each new adventure, but at the same time taking many things for granted, so a time of year where I can slow down and ponder my incredibly wonderful life can be very refreshing.
Family and friends are always at the top of the list, both 2-legged and 4-legged varieties:
The pure joy, daughter, Kelsey brings to my life is beyond words.
Our newest addition to the family, little (or not so little anymore!) puppy, River, makes me smile every time I look at her (even when she’s decided that potted plant makes a great chew toy!).
Because of these two little gems, I have never been so exhausted and drained in all my life (even compared to finals week in undergraduate college or thesis time in graduate school!), but I am also more content, joyous and completely exuberant! Life is truly wonderful!
That being said, I have had several reasons to cry a few tears this year:
Our older dog, Jah, passed away from a stroke in July. He was one of the largest influences in my drastic career change from Visual Effects Supervisor to Dog Trainer. He taught me the ultimate cornerstone of the canine-human relationship: trust and respect. If I was willing to put all my energy into trusting and respecting him, he rewarded me with a truly exceptional bond. He was a very dominant personality, yet this incredibly high prey-driven dog would turn on a dime inches from his intended target at the sound of “Jah, here!”. You have to think you did something right for a dog that prey motivated, to choose you over some squealing tasty rodent!
Our Kelly’s Training Daycare and Boarding family has had some losses as well:
Our dearly beloved Chocolate Lab client, Jake, passed away at the tender age of 3 years old from an unknown disease that several specialists and their personal friend and veterinarian frantically tried to diagnose and treat, but ultimately lost the battle. I’m sure Jake is happily wagging his approval of the new addition, truly scrumptious Chocolate Lab puppy, Duke.
This summer while one of our human clients was in the hospital giving birth to her beautiful baby boy, her Jack Russell mix, Buckley, passed away at home from a possible Botulism poisoning. While we shared their overwhelming sadness for the loss of Buckley, we also were happy to celebrate the birth of their first born, Owen. Everyone misses Buckley including his canine sister, Jodie, but Owen provides so much joy in the household that Buckley’s memory brings smiles instead of tears.
A fairly new member of our Kelly’s Training family, who decided to adopt two related puppies rather than have them separated, lost one of them, 4 months old Vizsla/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, Nessarose, to an unknown illness. Several surgeries and endless probing were not enough to save this poor little canine soul. Her sister, Elphaba, helps her parents cope with the loss by being a typical, beautifully naughty puppy!
We also had some close calls of which we are ever so grateful for the positive outcomes:
One of my very dear friends and client of Kelly’s Training was performing overseas with her band this summer, when her 9 year old German Shepherd mix, Otis, wandered out her front door. As her roommate frantically searched for Otis, I and many of her friends, posted flyers for our lost boy. My friend contacted 2 psychics to help with the search. After a week with no leads, she was ready to hire the services of a woman who will search for your lost dog with her bloodhound when a phone call made everyone sigh with relief. Otis had parked himself in a friendly family’s shady front yard 2 miles away, willing to eat and drink the offerings, but unwilling to allow them to get close for several days. Finally they were able to approach him and read his tag!
Our cherished Bernese Mountain Dog/Australian Shepherd mix client, Mambo, had a very serious close call when he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease after returning from a trip to Miami. He was very sick for several months, but his vet and specialists have given him a clean bill of health and he is back to the rambunctiously wonderful Mambo we all know and love!
So in summary, I am thankful for all my canine and human family and friends who keep my life full of joyous, often muddy, but thoroughly cherished moments!
And (before I get a lovely pile of cat barf on my pillow!) I am also thankful for all the felines in my life!