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.