What I've learned in 35 years
Sunday will be the official day marking 35 years that I have been involved with dogs. It is my 48th birthday and it is 35 years ago that I dipped my toe in before throwing myself in entirety to the dogs. There have been times of lull and other periods of just so many dogs; but in 35 years I've learned a lot about dogs and life with them. When I started with dogs it was in the show ring; this is a place where many people get sucked into the dog world. It was a bit different for me as I did not have my own dog in the ring; at 13 years old we had a middle aged toy poodle at home. The dogs I had in the ring were the pride and joy of others.
Over the dog years I've had success, failure, happiness, sadness and everything in between. The canine learning curve has been huge; looking back I often am left shaking my head wishing I could take back some time. "If only I'd known then what I know now;" but I didn't and I cannot go back in time and change the wrongs I've done, no one can. So you learn and forge ahead. There came a point; a very defined turning point in my dog life when everything changed. It was the catalyst to my existing life and a moment I am very happy for. The day I shaved it off; you can read about that moment here.
Since that monumental day; things have been heading in a different direction for dogs and me. That day was over 20 years ago; which I cannot believe, but sure enough it was. And in those 20 years dogs became a bigger focus in my life as well as the behavior, emotion and well being of the dog in general. My early experience with dogs was the world of dog shows; that moved onto training in the most conventional method, just choke'm. Having my own dogs from the age 18 I had the chance to delve further, further into the dog mind. What I saw when I really looked into the psych of the dog was amazing and I was hooked big time. Far more interesting and awesome was the interior of the dog; sure the exterior is amazing, I love to look at dogs. But it is what shows itself on the exterior yet comes from the interior that has me completely enthralled.
Canine well being has become my quest; are they happy? When you research the real canine you discover that they have clear needs; are they being met? Just where does the dog fit into our human world? Are humans evolving along with the dog or are we falling short? There are so many questions; but dogs are a big part of our life, they just are. Do we adjust our lives appropriately to make sure that the canine fits in nicely? There are many areas where humans fail dogs severely; this is downfall. Our areas of failure need attention. We choose to have them in our world, we should make sure it is working and working well.
Dog behavior is not a science; there are always new findings and new ways to look at reactions we have not seen before. I can never get enough with regards to researching the canine. Whether it comes in the form of behavior, health, structure or training I love it all. And now I also capture the very essence of the canine digitally; this seems to be the icing on the cake. Being that watching dogs is about my favorite thing to do in the world, shooting them seems to fit that bill. So from the mere age of 13 when I was smitten by the image of a canine; 35 years later I am a gonner. Long lost to the world of dogs and I couldn't be happier.