Greetings internet! For my first blog post I wanted to introduce myself and give you all an idea of who I am as a person and more importantly who I am as a dog person. I am a dog snob, I have been a dog snob since probably 4th grade. I can't say where this obsessive behavior came from really, certainly no one in my family shares this bent. They maintain that I am a touch crazy to this day...more on that later. My first dog as a child was a little poodle mix named Pepper that wandered into our lives after I discovered her getting in a fight with the neighbor dog behind us, somehow we managed to get her out of their yard and attempts to find her owner proved fruitless and she never left until she passed away in 2000. She was probably more trouble than I recall, I remember a few occasions when she got out of our yard and took herself to the elementary school my sister and I attended which my dad found highly irritating. On a couple other occasions she jumped our chain link fence and cut herself quite badly, which dad also found more than a little inconvienient. She hated crates and dog houses, hated grooming and obviously had an aversion to being left alone, however in my memory she was the best dog ever, she accompanied me everywhere and put up with me pretending she was a show dog, attempting to groom her myself which was a shocking disaster. She probably thought I was really insufferable. When I was in 5th grade I started dog 4H with her, that first year we competed in obedience and Showmanship. I worked so hard with her that year and for the fruits of my labor we got a reserve champion in obedience. Showmanship I don't recall but it was probably unremarkable, it took several years to get into my groove showing dogs probably sometime in late 2016 if I'm really honest. I also studied with absolute dedication for the knowledge test, this test was a written exam on dog breeds, parasites, showmanship patterns, conformation faults etc. I was standing in the ring with all the other kids in my age group and as they all had their name called for their placements I began to have this deep foreboding disappointment creep in that I was going to be the only kid who didn't get a high enough score to get a ribbon. I. Was. Devestated. Then the judge did call my name.....last. All my studying had paid off and I had won the top prize, highest score and a champion ribbon. This was my triumphant start in dogs.
Through my Teenage years I continued on showing in 4H with dogs and horses until I was too old. My second dog Sadie, a yellow lab mix was just as lovely a prospect as my Pepper dog was. I remained obsessed with the purebred dog world and AKC dog shows. My room was plastered with centerfolds of various breeds of dogs from the centerfold of DogFancy magazine rather than the boy band teenage eye candy of the day. Once I graduated high school and moved out getting a purebred dog was my number one goal which came in the form of a rescued Rottweiler named Nikita and followed by a dalmatian puppy I paid $50.00 for when the breeder was having trouble off loading him. Owning dogs on my own proved to be a vastly different experience than my idealic version of having Pepper as a kid who was minimally responsible for her well being. Puppies are hard as it turns out and that Dalmatian was a nightmare. My first introduction to housetraining, the wanton destruction puppies are fond of, was an abrupt education for me. In the end they both ended up being decent dogs minus a few quirks. In July of 1999 my husband Ben and I got married at the ripe old ages of 19 and 21. I am almost certain he had no idea what he was getting into at that point, but he's been very patient and supportive if not a bit gobsmacked these last 20 years! Our babies soon followed and when our youngest was around a year old....that's when the snowball began careening down the hill as it were....
In 2001 after researching and talking to another trainer who introduced me to how to go about getting a puppy from a reputable breeder I purchased my first real show dog ever, a male Boston Terrier named Cruiser. My family was making it clear that they were questioning my sanity when I told them I was about to drop $800 on a dog. He turned out to be a gorgeous boy but did end up getting neutered and enjoying a nice career as an obedience and rally dog. Shortly after we got him Nikita had to be euthanized due to a brain tumor. During this same time period I was asked by several different people and entities to consider teaching obedience classes. My first classes were taught along side another long time trainer friend of mine I was just getting my feet wet! I continued to teach classes through a community school and on my own after the passing of my friend and mentor Tina, who was teaching along side me. We began fostering somewhere around this time as well as I was serving on the board of directors for Blue Mountain Humane Association. SURGEON GENERALS WARNING: fostering sucks you in guys, to date I have fostered dozens of dogs of various breeds and through various groups, from our local shelter to national groups such as Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network and currently, Cavalier Rescue USA. From those early days of jumping into the purebred dog world I have since had a variety of breeds from German Shepherds to English bulldogs. I hope to in the future do a blog post on each of those beloved souls who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge as they were all exceptional, special dogs who each had specific things to teach me and I would love for my readers to get to know them.
I continued teaching classes in the summers and in 2008 I added dog grooming to my career profile as well. Dogs are like the mafia y'all! The further in you get it seems the harder it is to return to a "normal" life. I take classes on anything I can that will help me further my canine education, from genetics, nutrition, training theory, canine development, competitive obedience, and there's probably more I am forgetting. I love teaching people about dogs, it is my great passion. I currently live in La Grande, Oregon with 6 dogs; Bernese mountain dogs Khyber and our new puppy Rush. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Al and Clementine and French bulldogs Sybbyl and Koa. My husband Ben (dog person by marriage) and our two boys Joseph and Weston.
In the future I hope to post on a variety of topics from training to canine nutrition. I would love to know what topics you would like to read on so please email me your ideas!
Anyways, that's us, I hope you will check back for future blog posts!!! Thanks for reading