The story begins like this. From a very young age as far back as I can remember I have always been connected to animals in one way or another. We did not always have pets let alone a dog but when the opportunity was there we had pets. From cats to fish to birds to dogs (many of them) to goats to rabbits to horses. Yes, my life was full of animals when we could have them. One might think why say, “when we could have them”? Well, my life growing up was one moving every year. You see my father has PTSD, in the 70’s and 80’s that was not a topic of conversation. He was always running from something and we never knew what that something was. We would move from town to town from state to state. Sometimes on a Greyhound bus once we flew to Texas on a plane and that was a big deal because we did not have much money. I knew this from a young age.
I was the youngest of 3 and so as my brother and sister would talk I would understand what was going on. Sub for Santas and Thanksgiving dinners being brought to the door. All I ever wished for was a pet of some kind. I never had many friends growing up because we were always on the move always running from something, what that something was I never knew. I say that over and over because We would settle into one place and my drive to have pets were so strong that I would find pets to bring home. I am certain that I stole peoples pets not knowing but they would come to me and then follow me home. That seemed to happen when my dad was out of town on a business trip and Mom was at work. They never said much about these pets that would follow us home. They would ask us to try and find their home but none of them ever left. “We never found their home.” I would say. But each year when my dad would go on the run again the animals were left behind and so were any so-called friends we would make at the time.
Traveling between California Utah and Texas we never found a settling point. My 6th-grade year my mom and dad decided that we had reached a landing point. I guess my dad finally stopped running from whatever he was running from. We were living in my grandmas home that she had on some property and there was my opportunity to really ask for all the animals I ever wanted. I knew in my heart that I was not leaving, there was enough ground that I could have my farm my animals my life that I always dreamed about. Things seemed to be settled in and wow did the animals start coming, “Lost,” I would say, again Mom and Dad would just go to the store and buy dog food and cat food and bird feed. They would always say these two things. “Don’t expect us to take care of them so if you want to sleep over you will have to go late and come home early to take care of your animals or take them with you.” The other was, “You have to keep your grades up or the animals go.” Well, that was easy! I did not have any desire to have friends because I always lost them but I could always find a friend in an animal. I went to my Dad and asked him, “Can I get my own dog?” I was in the 7th grade then and he said, “As long as you can afford it.” and “That dog cannot have any accidents in the house and you must train it.” and of course “Don’t expect me to take care of it.” Well, none of that was a problem for I had no desire to get close to any friends because I was tired of trying to find new friends.
So the training journey began, I got my first dog “Sam”. She never had any accidents in the house. I took her everywhere with me. I kept her in a made shift dog run while I was in school so no one had to care for her. I would come home and she was at my side. Before long we convinced Dad to get us some horses for we were on a farm and well I met my one friend that was my best friend from then on and guess what she had goats yes goats in her backyard well there we have it. Time to introduce my parents to hers so that I could convince him that we need some goats too for our farm. It worked we got our goats on the condition that “We don’t ask him to take care of them” and “You must keep your grades up to a 3.5 GPA.” Ok, I got this!
The dog training began, I found people to help me but the training seemed too harsh for me to do to my best friend Sam! So I began to read and study from horse training to watching goats dreaming what I wanted my dog to be. All I wanted my dog to be was my best friend something that I never had, a friend to go with me to the barn a friend that I could talk to and walk with and just feel life and what it was like to be moving. I continued to work with people, I continued to work horses and save money so that I can learn more about dog training. I had a strong desire to teach animals and get them to mold into my life. All I wanted was friends and my animal friends were not scary. At this time in our life it was good, dad had stopped running and wow we had been there for 3 years now, the animals we had were cats (plenty of them) goats, horses, rabbits, birds and two Guinnea Pigs that we found in Provo Canyon when we were up fishing with my dad, yep running free. I had a connection to those pigs because it seemed someone had turned them loose and that seemed to be what we would do with the animals that would come and go when we were on the run. Although I never really knew what happened to them, I was never a part of that. We would come home from school and our bags were packed, animals gone and we would hit the road. Those pigs were mine and I was bound to catch them and give them a home. We had babies we build them a nice wood box to live in and we would feed them from the fridge and work hard to pay for the food that all of our animals needed. Fascinating thing, my dog was always at my side everywhere I would go and she would stay in my homemade dog kennel that was built by a 15-year-old girl while I was in school. Birds would come and go, cats all really belonged to my sister for she was the cat person, I had my goats and my horses always seemed to be sick and have to be put to sleep or would die. All I had was my dog Sam who was always there.
Well you can only guess that the cycle started all over again, dad went on the move again but this time was he was buying a home, this home did not have the property and so horses went into boarding, goats went away by the time I was 17 we had our new home my sisters cats and my dog Sam. When I graduated from High School and went over to the barn my dad had sold or given everything away. He said we had no time for the horses because we were going to college. Yes but my sister and I were paying for everything. I knew my dog was mine and she was not going any place and fear had set in that when I was in college he would get rid of her too even though I was still living at home. Every morning I would drop her back at the old house in the old dog run that I built so she was safe. I would ride the bus to there from college pick her up and walk home with my dog. My dreams were those of wanting to work with animals but society took me in a different direction for a while, when I got married Sam got left with my mom and my dad went and left my mom and went on the run again. What he was running from we will never know and still he keeps running. Not as far or as long but he still runs.
I started working at veterinarian clinics and decided that I did not want to always be on the sad side of things to the dog, they don’t know we are helping them they just want to feel better and we cause stress and pain sometimes and to me that was not what I was about, I was hurt from so much loss in my life that I did Not what to be a part of that world. I did not finish college for I was determined I was not going to live life like my parents. I knew I was going to be a dog trainer one day. I wanted to be the reason why dogs stay in homes and I wanted to share that Best Friend with everyone who would let me.
What do I want for your Dogs? I want you to have a best friend just like I did, a dog that I protected that I trained to do all kinds of stuff ride with me wait for me and as long as you do that for me I will always keep you safe and you and I will go places. I finally got to a point in my life that Sam came to live with me I could not have her at my moms any more I could not leave my best friend for she never left me. She meant more to me than to just leave her behind because I was moving forward. Sam lived until she was 21 years old and finally she had 2 big strokes and I had to say goodbye to my best friend. The loss that I felt drove me to be who I am today. My love for a Dogs soul and a dogs mind is indescribable. The connection that I feel with animals is like no other. My dream is for you to find that best friend. That dog that you can’t be without, that dog that goes and does whatever you need it to do. That dog that dreams with you. That dog that lays at your feet to protect you from the world of hardship and loss. I want you to find peace in your dogs soul, I want you to find comfort in your dogs mind, I want you to have the centering life that a dog can give you. I want you to have a love deeper than loving a person, its a different love, it is a love for an animal a love for who they are and what they can give to you. Life is not easy but that dog that best friend that animal has taught me how to have patience.
That dog Sam thought me how to love. That dog Sam taught me how to be a friend. That dog Sam taught me how to survive. That dog Sam taught me how to live life to the fullest. That dog Sam taught me how to work hard. That dog Sam taught me that others can have this too. That dog Sam taught me that I can love another dog even after she was gone. That dog Sam filled my heart in times when my heart was empty, That dog Sam never gave up on me and therefore I don’t give up on others with their dogs. That dog Sam taught me to love you and your dogs for who you are and for the connection you so desire to have with your dog. That dog Sam is who made me the dog trainer I am today. That dog Sam is my soul!