It’s been 3 years of trees, sheep, and other drugs.
When I found out baby River was available, I was eager to meet her. I knew my next pup would be a Border Collie. I also knew how fascinated I was with Silvia Trkman’s Bi, her naughty girl who threw her for a loop with all kinds of training challenges.
When I met baby River I knew she was a challenge, and also, that she had to be mine. Aloof, affectionate, and always looking for the shortcut to getting some cookies, I was mesmerized by her perspective on life. So different than my own. So different than Teyla. I was ready to fight for her respect.
One of my fondest memories of her puppyhood was her egging on Teyla to take over her shaping session, only to steal the cookie right off Teyla’s tongue when I rewarded her. That example represents how our early time together progressed, and I often reminded myself “just keep her alive, she’ll be fine in the end.”
We tried some agility stuff, but there was a lot more standing under trees than there was agility, so that got thrown out in favour of more emotional wellness work, more time, and more being in the woods. We did nosework instead (spoiler- she’s a great trial dog when the environment is sedentary) and developed some life skills.
Today, River is three, and I’m so grateful for everything she’s patiently taught me about who she is. Training dogs is hard, and the burden of training a dog that you don’t understand is high. But you do your best to do right by your dog, and that’s all you can ask of yourself.
So, River- this one is for you.
Here’s to trees.
Here’s to sheep.
Here’s to taking the longest road. The highest path. The greatest journey.
Here’s to running fast, and playing hard.