Dog’s Eye View: In the blink of an eye | SteamboatToday.com

Dog’s Eye View: In the blink of an eye

Laura Tyler/For Steamboat Today

Many columns during the past year have included adventures with our own dogs. Sharing our lives with you has been a great pleasure and always offers plenty to talk about. Sandra Kruczek, my co-writer for this column, and I have shared teaching and training together since 1992, when I moved back to Craig with my husband and dogs. My first instructor in 1983 was Sandra. She got me started on the great adventure, which would consume my love and become my life's work. Funny how things work out.

My years away from Craig were filled with AKC obedience trials, the new sport of dog agility and AKC tracking competitions. The national therapy dog organizations were in their infancies, but many of us took our friendly dogs to visit schools and nursing homes, anyway. It's amazing to recall some of the dogs and people we have met and had the pleasure of knowing. We now teach the adult children of some of our former clients and even some grandkids. Wow, does that ever date us!

In the blink of an eye, time goes by. Along that journey, we have shared the love and loss of many dogs, cats, birds and horses. Each one has made us better for their contribution to our life experiences. It's an honor to have the gift of companionship with God's amazing creatures. Our shared resolve to help educate families and their chosen pets continue to be the trademark of our classes and private consultations.

It seems strangely prophetic that each of our chosen companion animals has opened a new door for a new journey. Sandra's white bull terrier, Stuart, was one such dog. He brought behavior to the table that was sometimes unexpected and caused us to reach out and learn more to help him become an amazing dog.

Stuart was 10 years old when the dreaded "C" word, cancer, overtook his life. All our combined knowledge could not save this special guy. These are the experiences that make us know we can't fix everything, and, sometimes, nature has a different plan. The life and death struggles we share seem to happen in the blink of an eye. That life force is extinguished, and a void is left until we heal and offer gratitude for the great gifts bestowed upon us in sharing that life.

My dog, Skippy, came into my life a little more than 11 years ago. Fearful, under-socialized and injured with a broken leg, this little dog expanded my learning and love beyond my imagination. We grew up together in ways I will never be able to explain. The deep bond of trust and communication was a gift I will always treasure. In the blink of an eye, her life ended just a short time ago. The deep hole left in my heart is still filled with sadness and longing, and so, this story ends with my honoring her passing with gratitude and love.

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Skippy Do Little: 2005 to 2017. My little buddy and soul mate, bed cover stealer, travel companion and life coach. I hope you are running joyful zoomies across the universe. I will always remember you.

Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with more htan 30 years of experience. She has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, as well as Certified Nose Work Instructor through the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC here in Northwest Colorado.

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