Raising a puppy is a team effort. Whether your young one came from a breeder or a rescue, it’s important to know that you need help. It’s almost like having kids: once the little one has grown up, there’s a tendency to forget about the challenges of toddlerhood.
In the case of Norman, we start out with a basic group of people, from from his first adopters, to Sheri Kyle, DVM, who founded and operates Kyle’s New Hope Animal Rescue, http://www.newhopeanimalrescue.org/ as well as her veterinary practice, Kyle Vet, to Jaime Walker, who handles all the animal adoptions—plus pretty much everything else—for KNHAR, to my husband and me. Also on board are folks at the dog clubs where I take classes, teach, and train, and anyone else who meets and greets Norman.
Who are these other villagers? Well, there’s me, of course. I’ve had dogs all my life, but became involved in “formal” dog training thanks to adopting a very energetic puppy from the shelter in Warren County. I started training Melanie to track, a sport which teaches a dog to learn how to follow a specific human scent. Participating in a tracking discussion list led me to volunteer for that year’s Queen City Dog Training Club’s tracking test, and when I met some of the club members, I learned that I could get further training for Melanie by taking classes. Those classes were wonderful, because I learned that no matter how wild and energetic my young dog was, I could learn how to teach her to be well-mannered. What I discovered, though, was that teaching and working with my dog helped to build the relationship that I wanted with her. And that relationship continues to build and grow every day.
Then there’s my husband, Richard. He and his brothers were not allowed to have pets growing up—sort of a sin in my book—but he has loved all the dogs in my life, from Ebony, who introduced him to having a dog, to Hektor, a rescue Lab mix who was his first puppy, to Reka and Gimli the Elkhounds, to Melanie and Tank. Like many folks who didn’t have dogs growing up, Richard’s not a “natural,” but he loves and enjoys the dogs, and, just as importantly, is able to cope fairly well with my dog-oriented lifestyle.
Finally, there are all the folks that my dogs and I enjoy meeting with each week, friends at the dog clubs that I belong to, where we take classes, and I teach. You’ll get to meet them as we go along. Since blogs are so public, I’ve developed a protocol of sorts when it comes to names. I’ll use full names when those people are okay with that, first names only, and, for some, pseudonyms.