Recently I was blessed with the company of a four-legged house guest that reminded me of a great lesson in life. A client of mine was provided with a unique opportunity to foster a dog that actually wound up being a perfect fit to become her service dog. In an unfortunate set of circumstances, the 18 month old miniature schnauzer had been in two different homes by the time he made it to “Lucy’s” house at just a few months old. As expected, he was apprehensive to start, having been bounced around and not having proper socialization or stability in his young life. Because she had her previous service dog trained with us, she reached out when it became apparent her new service dog needed some professional assistance.
When “Rocky” first came to me for boarding and training, he was horrible at walking, had no basic training and was a social mess. We had our work cut out for us as he would only be staying for a short period of time. All dogs I bring in for training stay with us in our house so I can provide them with a well-rounded experience including proper home etiquette. Rocky spent his very first night, and every night after that, at the foot of my bed. He easily fell into our routine and actually became my shadow, with me at all times. He was a very quick study, catching onto the training rather speedily and progressing quite well.
But the thing that stood out the most with Rocky was his constant joy. His tail was always wagging, his eyes always shined with happiness and his face had a perma-grin! With all that he had been through in his short life, he never let it drag him down. He had such an amazing personality about him, could keep himself entertained for hours. An introduction into socialization was a huge test for him. He approached it as he did everything new, with a smile. The biggest difference this time was his level of confidence. I could see how much he had grown in just the short time he had been with us.
As it usually does, the training he received helped build his confidence so by the time we got to the public access training he wasn’t as apprehensive as when I first met him. He trusted that no matter what happened I would protect him, which is a very crucial aspect of socialization and a by-product of good quality basic training. When it came time to take him back home, he was leaps and bounds above where he had started. His mommy instantly saw the difference and was so happy with his new found confidence.
I have always approached life with a positive outlook, but having Rocky around even for such a short amount of time provided me with a renewed sense of joy. He helped me see the pure pleasure in living, and has given me a spot of warmth in my soul by just having encountered him. I have had the great honor to work with hundreds of dogs, each one different and bringing their own special something to this world. A dog like Rocky is truly unique though, one that I will never forget and the light he has brought to me will never dim!