June 8, 2020
Carol Lea Benjamin, one of my favorite canine training authors, wrote an article many years ago titled, “Do something, dog trainer!” She was not referring to professionally involved individuals, but to all of us who share our homes with clever and cunning canines, encouraging all of us to “get busy” with them.
At an obedience trial a few months ago, I was captivated by a couple of competitive teams in particular. Both of these were senior-senior citizens (one with cane in hand), who proudly and delightfully put their two “forever best friends” through their advanced exercises. Many hours of training and preparation had preceded these performances. Though both teams had some missteps, their connection and delight with each other, the excitement with the process, and their elation with the accomplishment (qualification notwithstanding) left more than a couple of us with a moist eye. I was touched by their relationship and moved by the love, communication, and trust that existed between the two. I saw those dogs and handlers later that day, each individual at their own vehicle having lunch alone, with their beautiful canine companions resting after their arduous tasks — but, wait, did I say “alone?” That’s the point — neither person was alone. They may have attended the competition without a human companion, but they each shared the event with a friend, family member, devoted companion — their dogs!