In March 2011 I was employed at the home office of a large retail company and we had a class of thirty or so store managers in town for a weekly training class. We taught these classes each month and during class introductions we gave our name, title, department, years with the company and a fun fact about ourselves. When it was my turn I gave all of the essential information and told the class, “My fun fact is that I am waiting any minute for my puppy to be born!”
The day I taught class for several hours with a break for lunch in the middle.
“Any news on the puppy?” they asked after the lunch break.
“No, nothing yet,” I told them, “I’m obsessively checking my email, though!”
The next day I ran into the class in the cafeteria. “Lynn, has your puppy be born yet?” a few of them asked.
“No, nothing yet! It’s gotta be soon, though, she’s due any day!”
The following day I was to teach another short session and once again they asked. Still no puppies born. I left the classroom after my topic was finished and went back to my desk to find an email in my inbox that read, “Just a quick note to let you know that we have puppies!”
Knowing that the class was on a break, I walked back into the room as they milled around and refreshed their sodas and snacks and told them, grinning ear to ear, “My puppy has been born!” The dog lovers started clapping and cheering and I ducked out and back to my desk before the other trainers could get upset with me.
That was exactly five years ago. One one hand it seems like it was just yesterday that we picked him up because time goes by way too quickly; on the other hand it seems like we have had him forever because he is such an invaluable part of our family.
When we picked up our little puppy eight weeks after his birth and I held him in my arms for the first time it was love at first sight, a maternal love that flowed through me as strong as if I had birthed him myself. I knew I was given a magical gift from the universe in that moment and I did not take that gift lightly. The moment he became mine, I knew that I was committing to making sure this dog was happy, healthy, and safe from that moment forward and for as long as we can possibly have him on this earth with us.
I say it time and time again that every dog owner owes their dog their lifelong love and a high quality of care when they bring it home all the way until the dog passes away in its senior years. Dog owners are entirely responsible for loving and caring for their dogs with the same love that their mothers provided those first eight weeks of the puppy’s life. If a dog owner is not willing to do so they should not get a dog, plain and simple.
Five years later and our Jackson is a big lovable dog who is full of personality and fills our hearts and lives with endless happiness and joy. He has outgrown his puppy craziness and is pretty chilled out until it is time to play, and then he’s energetic and playful. With his serious expression and intense deep brown eyes I find myself wondering what he is thinking at least ten times a day; there is no other dog who I wish could speak English than him because I am longing to know what is going on in his mind.
What I did not know back then was that not only was my new puppy born into the world, but it was the start of a new career because Jackson has 100% been my inspiration and my muse for Love, Laugh, Woof. It is because of Jackson that I became obsessed with providing a holistic lifestyle for my dogs in which I focus on their health in mind, body and environment. Jackson also helped me realize the Love, Laugh, Woof philosophy of dog rearing that is the basis of my upcoming book, my dog owner coaching business and my entire philosophy on life.
To celebrate Jackson’s birthday he and I took a nice hour long walk together, just the two of us. As much as I love walking Jax and Tink together, there is a lot for me to pay attention to when I have both of them together and I wanted to have the one-on-one dog/owner mental connection that is my favorite part of walking my dogs.
The mind meld between dog and owner is different depending on whether I am walking Jackson or Tinkerbell one-on-one and much different when I walk both of them together. As close and bonded to each other that they are, their personalities are vastly different and Jackson’s walking style is to sniff every inch of the ground and inspect it closely before marking each and every tree and significant odor. Tinkerbell likes to walk with her head up in the air looking around at the world, rarely stopping for a potty break and only sniffing what I assume are the really good smells. When I walk both dogs together Tink and I spend a lot of time waiting patiently for Jackson and I do sometimes give him the “off” command and move him on from a particular spot a little more quickly than I would if it was just the two of us.
For Jackson’s birthday walk I let him sniff each and every spot for as long as he wanted. We took about twice as long to cover the same route that we cover with Tink with us, but I truly love watching his beautiful black nose sniffing, and his mind analyzing each and every scent. I love seeing how he gets his nose so close to things without actually touching them and I think about the articles I’ve read about the anatomy of a dog’s nose and what a miracle it is to have so many sniffing sensors in it and the things that they can smell that we cannot.”Why do you pee on some things and not others? How do you know how to conserve your urine for such a long walk? What are you thinking about while you sniff?” I will ask him while we are on a walk but he just gives me his Handsome Jax doggie smile and keeps his secret to himself.