Tilley is 12 today
Today is Tilley's birthday; she is 12 years old. So this entire blog will be dedicated to the one, the only Kalchan's Time for Tilley. I'm sure some of you will have heard much of this before but it's her day so, too bad. Tilley was born in Manilla, Ontario Canada in 1997. We first met when she was only 3 weeks old but I didn't know it; she was one of a pile of black wriggling puppies that I only got a sneak peek at but she was in there.
But before I got my peak, I met the relatives. Grandma, Uncle, Aunt and older sister. They were all wonderfully friendly dogs, and gorgeous. We talked for hours, we left no stone unturned and after all the discussion, meeting the dogs, peeking at the puppies I decided to return in 5 weeks. I made my 4 hour drive back home and waited.
With three young children at home 5 weeks goes by fast. The day came and I was off again on my four hour drive up to Manilla. What a beautiful drive, I passed lake after lake, it was the middle of May and spring was in full swing. Once I got to my destination it was time to pick my pick of litter. I first watched the whole gang, which is so confusing as they all looked the same. Then the boys got put away which made it a bit easier.
I quickly narrowed it down to Tilley and the big girl, I like the big ones. But with the breeders guidance I chose Tilley, she had been picked as "the pick." She was put together, average in size and had a connection in her eyes that you don't see that often. I love eye contact, it means even more to me now then 12 years ago but even then it was a big thing. Tilley has always used her eyes to tell her story, to communicate anything she needed to communicate to us or others.
So back in the car, which was a dark green caravan at the time. Tilley was in her crate in the back, it was just me so the safest spot for her was the crate. I stopped several times for her but she just stood there with drool pouring out her mouth. I hopped in the car and tried to get home as quick as possible, without speeding of course. By the time I arrived she was covered in ectoplasm (slimy drool)so I wiped her off the best I could before we made our entrance.
The kids were crazy for her and she quickly bonded with my son who at the time was 7. They have grown up together and to this day she holds a special spot in her heart for him. He has always been her little boy and now as she ages I can see the relationship changing as all do. He is more the caregiver and she accepts this change.
Over the years Tilley became obsessive over shadow chasing, a common problem with dogs that have off the charts prey drive. With specialized training we moved her drive to balls and frisbees. This then lead Tilley to performing on Pet Star, twice. (I'm still trying to find my video of it) She did amazing and won the hearts of all who were involved with the show, especially the camera guy in the back who she flirted with all day.
Tilley was my longtime demo dog, she attended my group classes and showed the other young dogs how it's done. She helped many a fearful or aggressive dog to rehabilitate and just be chill. She has a presense about her, a very non threatening presense which immediately calms other dogs. She has this effect on people as well as she has helped several people and children who were very fearful of dogs get started on overcoming their fears.
Tilley is now retired from her death defying flying act and enjoys a good walk with the family. After a recent visit from her breeder I was informed that Tilley's sister who I met all those years ago is still going strong at 15, pretty impressive. This leads to why it is so important to go to a good breeder. Tilley is not suffering at all in her older age. Whereas my Clyde at the age of 12 was a very crooked and sore old man.
To me Tilley's structure is perfection, and I am not talking about appearance at all, although she is quite the looker. She is put together the way a dog should be, she is athletic and has an ease to her movement. You can tell by watching her that her hips are amazing, everything is proportioned correctly. This will definitely lend itself to her happiness as she goes into her 13th year and beyond.
Tilley is class, she is the most mild mannered, polite, driven, athletic, loving, devoted, fierce protector, teacher that I have had the priviledge of calling "my dog."
Happy Birthday girl.