In Memoriam to Rex; a One in a Million Dog!
We haven’t been friends for long, and we don’t even know each other entirely well, but that is one of his strongest points. Rex’s dad would befriend anyone willing to just say “Hi”.
Dog sports are very competitive. At many different types of dog sports I have heard competitor and viewers negatively picking apart each opponent and/or participant and their dog on the field. But Rex’s dad is always the center of the party and always has nice things to say about everyone.
This negativity is why I hate competition! 80% of my body and mind is devoted to wondering just what kind of horrible things people are saying about both me, my physical appearance, my abilities (or lack thereof) and my dog and how I handle him/her. Although I realize my negative self talk is worse than what anyone could say!
Usually this colossal fear and my feelings that I will never measure up keep me from even stepping foot on any training field.
I am sure this is hard for you, my readers, to understand or even comprehend. I write informative articles, I am a successful, professional trainer (with a very extensive resume), and I even star in training videos…but I have trouble getting up in front of my peers, until I met Rex and his dad.
He (Rex’s dad) was the very first person who was kind enough to ever work and play with my “Fury” for me and my puppy “Jovi”. Amidst many naysayers he was the one that told me, if my heart was in it, I could do anything I wanted with my dogs.
He admonished me not to pay any attention to what other people thought and said, not only to my face but also behind my back.
He shared his story that he had taken an injured pup that no one wanted and everyone told him would never amount to anything and he went to Nationals and won the highest honors.
He takes all the jokes and naysayers in stride and no one makes more fun of himself than Rex’s dad. On the field and off, he never takes himself too seriously. I had attended many, trials where the points lost were due to his superb humor and quick wit!
He told me, it is YOU (the human) who lacks the training or makes the mistakes not your dog and whereas I have seen the best dogs in the world have a bad day or make mistakes, I understand that 99.9 percent of the time he is right.
He took a lame puppy that no one wanted and won a National Championship. Rex was the first Dutch Shepherd and the youngest dog to ever fulfill such a challenge; he was an amazing dog and a record breaker.
He use to say, “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much!”
Two months ago, as I sat nervously shaking at a breakfast table prior to a dog trial, he shared his own angst and feelings with me.
He too, use to (and still does) get a bit nervous before a trial and he admitted before quitting, he use to chain smoke and down an entire soda 2 minutes before walking onto the field.
He assured me that I would be fine, and that even if things didn’t go my way (which he promised they would) that I would never regret making the choice to show up and take a chance…but I would always regret not taking a chance!
His parting words were, “At least you have the guts to get out on that field. Most don’t. And, for that you will always have my respect.”
I didn’t want to go out there, I wanted to turn tail and run, but I did it!
We tanked! We marched out on that field and my dog bounced, flipped, scurried, play bowed, barked and basically ignored all my commands because she just wanted to play with everyone out there! And, although I was horrified at our failure, I was proud of myself for taking that chance! I dare say I will never fail that horribly again! (hahaha I guess I am welcoming fate with that statement!)
Since that day we have attained 1st place ribbons and a 99 and a 96 point score! And for every success I can thank Rex and his dad! The time I have spent training her and getting her ready has solidified my love and my bond with her and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
What Can You Take From This?
Rex has shown the world some of THE best, and prettiest dog obedience. But, dogs are dogs and even the best are DOGS. They have instincts, desires, and needs that are hard for them and you to control. Accidents happen, and no one or no dog is perfect.
Even if you don’t compete, spend time with and bond with your dog.
Competition merely gives me an excuse to work hard and goals to set!
Cherish all the time you have with your pets, your friends and your family because you never know what tomorrow holds!
And in honor of Rex and his dad, all of my future accomplishments will be in their memory! They were and always will be such an inspiration, not only to me but to many! I am learning to let go of my fears and not take myself too seriously.
For those of you who’s heart has been touched by this story, please keep Rex’s family in your thoughts and prayers as he was and always will be their baby! What a huge loss we all suffered in the dog world!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.