Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why I'm Thankful and Why I'm Here.

Every chapter of my life has included a dog, thank God. No chapter has been easy and to some extent, I feel like I've spent too much of the past 30 years doing nothing but clawing my way out of the trenches put in my path. At the same time, I've always had a best friend to guide me from darkness to light, and those best friends have always had four legs. From time to time a close human friend has stepped in and made life much brighter, but my canine companions have never voluntarily walked away. I am eternally grateful to them all; the ones I "owned," the ones I fostered, and the ones who belonged to other people but just happened to be around at the right time to provide a lost little girl with some much-needed comfort.

I am forever grateful to the many dogs I've had the pleasure of working with as a trainer. They have never ceased to amaze me in their intelligence and often their ability to bounce back from some of the most troubled pasts.

The truth is, I see a piece of myself in all the dogs I live and work with. I know what it's like to be afraid of what's coming next. I know what it's like to lose everything and want nothing more than to be back at home; or even to have no idea where that home is, was, or might eventually be. I know very well that deep-seeded, debilitating fears cannot be conquered in just a day and that force, screaming, abandonment and abuse take time to recover from. While dogs approach life in different (better) ways than humans, we are alike in our ability to feel pain, fear, anxiety, and in my opinion, grief. Dogs just have a much better handle on that feeling called "Joy." Sometimes I wonder if they evolved with such an inherently happy nature and resilience as a direct result of living beside us; their more complicated counterparts in life. We should be thankful that dogs are so generous when sharing all of that love and joy.

I am thankful for the opportunity to share my experiences, stories, and thoughts with others on this blog. While I have been writing about animals for a decade now, it has taken me almost that long to realize that it is a very vital part of who I am. Teaching and learning are important to me and they also go hand in hand; you share what you know, open yourself up to others, and learn even more from their responses. Even criticism, when constructive, goes a very long way.

Four more reasons for me to be thankful:
Matthew, Luvins (new foster dog), Obi-Wan and Cricket
I believe that education is ultimately the answer to our pet overpopulation crisis as well as many other problems facing our animals today. To be blunt, ignorance is the root of most evil. People fear what they do not know. And they can't avoid mistakes if they've never been taught a better way. Why would you ever spay and neuter if you didn't know the benefits? Why would you even bother adopting an animal from a shelter if you thought that all shelter dogs had problems? How are we to stop backyard breeders and puppy mills if only a small number of us realize the full scope of the problem?

We can't change everyone, but we can give everyone a fair chance at knowing the facts, the science, the psychology, and even the different moral dilemmas surrounding animal care and training.That is why I am here and why I will continue to work hard to share what I've learned and continue to learn.

Thank you to everyone who stops by to read the blog, watch the videos, or weigh in on the latest topics. You keep me on my toes and give me plenty to think about. Keep up the great work and have a fantastic holiday with your families- humans and pets alike.


  1. Great post Terri. You have such a beautiful heart and your blogs are inspiring as well as instructive. I am blessed to know you.

  2. Thank you Dixie, that really means a lot to me and I am blessed to know you as well.