Today is the beginning of a new era at Wag & Train. I have finally made it to the year 2009- I am on Facebook, I just started Twittering, and am adventuring into the land of blogging.
Although I don't have a lot of time to blog, I hope to share my experiences as an animal behaviorist along with tips, advice, and lots of fun stuff. My hope is to help save dogs and cats, and help them find and stay in their forever homes.
For my first post on the Dog Blog, I'd like to tell you about Kenai. He is my inspiration in all aspects of my life, including the reason I began Wag & Train. He and I moved to Denver, from Minneapolis, in 2001. I was working for an engineering company and wanted to take a break from all things 'dog'. I had been working full time at my real job, and teaching classes and doing private sessions in my spare time for the previous 7 years. I was burned out!
In addition to training in Minnesota, I was constantly working with Kenai. He found me in 1997 as he was about to be euthanized by Animal Control- he was about 6 months old. I already had 2 dogs at home and certainly didn't think I needed another one. He had other ideas. I took him home and realized he had a myriad of issues that we had to work through: Separation Anxiety, Fear Aggression, Potty Training, Leash Reactivity, and MAJOR Chewing. His nickname was Puppy Scissorhands. He was emaciated, and severely neglected, as well as abused and scared. I had bitten off way more than I thought could chew, so to speak. No one in their right mind signs up to have a dog like this! Someone else created these issues and I had to solve them- how fair is that? I spent endless hours working on desensitization, counterconditioning, leadership and relaxation training, and crate training. I sweated, I toiled, I cried, I sobbed, I laughed, and eventually we bonded.
Ok, so I digress. Once we arrived in Denver, I immediately saw a need for a positive-only trainer, which is my background and passion. Thankfully, back then there wasn't the influx of 'internet-certified' so-called trainers out there. After much agonizing thought and soul-searching, I decided to start my own company here and Wag & Train was born. My best friend's now-husband, Jeff, thought of the name so I must give him credit for it, as I am not that creative. Once the name was picked, I had to figure out a logo. After a week of thinking about it, I had an idea- I would use Kenai as my logo... why not? He was exactly like all the dogs I would work with in the future, or at least had a lot of the same issues. He was fantastically handsome (I'm not biased at all)- and had a quirky look to him: One blue eye and one brown eye, One ear up and one ear down. (I think he hit the gene pool jackpot). Thus, the Wag & Train logo was born. Thanks to my friend, Shawn (www.989design.com), for designing it and making it happen!
Kenai turned out to be a great dog, the BEST dog. He still had his issues, but they were manageable, and most importantly, we understood each other and I never set him up to fail. He was my soul mate dog. I lost Kenai this past March at age 12, but he lives on in everything I do at Wag & Train. I still hear him bark in the background soundtrack of my life. He is the reason I get up every morning to help the countless 'previously unwanted' dogs and cats out there who have found their forever homes.
If Kenai and I have one message for all of you out there, it's "Don't Give Up". Your dog may have issues now, but if you are patient, consistent, kind, and are willing to work through them, your dog will pay you back with a lifetime of love and devotion, just like my beloved Kenai. I love you Kiki!