Today's the day I wish I wasn't a dog trainer and dog safety educator. Today's the day I announce to the world that my dog that taught me so much, that lead me to launching Pawsitive Transformation, that stole my heart for 13 years is no longer physically by my side. Today's the day, I wish I was a poet, to be able to write the words that Bali so well deserves to be spoken of. The tags on her collar no longer jingle. The dishes no longer need filled. The chart that helped me keep track of her pills to keep her liver healthy and her body pain free is longer around. Her body covered in beautiful brindle fur no longer sits beside me. My heart is broken. Her 13 years taught me how the world needs to understand how dogs are feeling. Her appearance of boxer/pit either made people swoon over her or be scared of her. The best gift I ever gave Bali was learning when she was happy, when she was sad, when she was tolerating, or feeling anxious. With knowing her feelings, I was able to give her what she truly needed in those moments. Safety, redirection, love, a way out of a situation. I sit here paused struggling over finding the words to write, to make it good enough to acknowledge all that she did for me. Without Bali I would not have Pawsitive Transformation. Without Bali I would not have my logo. Without Bali I would not have my cartoons I've made. Without Bali I wouldn't be in the process of forever immortalizing her in my first children's book. Without Bali I would not have learned and now be so kind to dog's, in ways only dog's can understand and appreciate. Without Bali more kids would be bitten, without Bali more expectant parents would still be terrified on whether their dog and baby would get along. Without Bali I would not be able to help the fearful, anxious, and reactive dogs I do. Without Bali... I'm without Bali. The pain is tremendous. If there was one thing I could ask of anyone reading this, it's to learn how to understand what your dog and all dogs are thinking. Never mind the breed, never mind the dog that's supposedly "good with kids", never mind the family dog that allows you do anything to them. In the name of Bali and for me, learn how to tell their emotions and know how to respond to them. Bali-Star, "my incredible gift", how I love you and am so thankful for your existence. May your spirit run like the wind and my mind never forget you.
Today is my first ever blog. What what the driving force behind it? My two year old (human) son. As we played in the front yard our loved family dog, Bali, began walking slowly and then blocking us, so I politely asked her to, "Back!". A command that Bali knows to move out of the way. What I heard next was a tiny little voice that said, "Back!" What did you just say I asked my son? He repeats, "back" now wondering why I am so amazed. I smiled to myself thinking that this is one of many important reasons why I train dogs and educate families in the manner I do. With compassion. For my son to repeat an action and words like Momma did still kept him in the "safe zone" when it comes to Bali remaining happy around him. Happy dogs equals safe kids. Flashes come into my head of how this real life scenario could have all played out if I relied on intimidation, verbal abuse, or leash correction while our dog wore a choke or pinch collar. This was a very proud Momma moment. My son is safe and happy and so is our dog. Momma is happily wagging here.