Tales of a tail. #1

Laguna beach, never a bad place to be. 

Tales of a tail; experiences, memories, events that have been forever etched into my brain.  I have been working with dogs for over 37 plus years, so I have tales to tell.  There are so many dogs to talk about; I can’t remember them all or the stories.  But there are some that have stuck with me that I'd like to share.  I've decided to blog about some; others will be saved for hopefully a book down the road.   Names will be changed to maintain the dogs privacy but you will know who this is if it is your dog. 

I met “Rinaldo” at the Laguna Beach animal shelter.  After a beach training session I was heading home; but I had a strong feeling of being pulled in as I passed the shelter.  It was so strong in fact that I made an illegal U turn and headed back.  If you have never been to the Laguna Beach shelter it is very small; tucked back off the Canyon Road beside the Seal rehabilitation center.  It is surrounded by hills; think the opening scene of the show Mash (literally where it was filmed) and you’ll picture it well.  I pulled in and hopped out of the car; crossed the tiny bridge that leads to the entrance and went in.   There are only a few rows of kennels and an outdoor run.  I did the rounds of the kennels and spotted what looked like a purebred Gordon setter, weird.  Not only do you rarely see Gordon’s around anywhere; you never see them in the shelters.  He was adorable and young, maybe 4-5 months old.

When I finished the rounds; taking the time to stop and talk to each dog I came to the outdoor run.   There was the setter again; this time there was a woman with him who seemed to be smitten.  We had a casual conversation about this boy; and she told me that she was going to adopt him.  I told her I was a trainer and if she needed me, just call.  I got the call about a week later; I was going to work with this wonderful young man and his new Mom. 

Back down to Laguna Beach again; I got to meet Rinaldo cage free.  He was beautiful and every bit a Setter; full of boundless energy and happy as a lark.  His new Mom was well educated in the needs of Setters in general so this energetic young guy was no surprise.  Over the weeks that I got to work with Rinaldo; he grew and grew into a handsome exuberant teenage Gordon Setter.  He was spectacular to watch and a challenge to work with; the desire was there, we just had to direct it.  He tried very hard to be good but every so often his over excitement got the best of him; after all he was all Setter.

That boy made a big impression on me; one that I cannot forget.  His zest for the little things in life was contagious.  I felt like we were meant to meet on that illegal u-turn moment.  Of course there had been others; not too many on that particular day, who hopefully have their own amazing families now.  Funny how someone can give up a dog; cast it aside who then becomes the love of someone else's life. Sometimes thing happen for a reason and maybe that reason alone is just the way that it was meant to be.  I am happy for every dog that I get to meet and get a little glimpse into who they are.   

Rinaldo and his family have now moved away and the last time I heard from his Mom; Rinaldo was the love of her life.  From a cage in a shelter; discarded by someone who did not understand what they were tossing away to the arms of his new life and new family, a happy ending.