About Me

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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my forty seven years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I am a dog trainer because of them. I met my friends because of them. My husband and I are are forever bonded by our mutual connection to them. As a dog trainer I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to share in their unique relationships. The dogs make me a better person by forcing me to closely examine my motivation, my actions and my choices. Everything I do affects their behavior, safety and happiness. It is an awesome responsibility. The dogs keep me honest.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Starting at the beginning, because I know there is no end



It all began with Coco.  Coco was a chocolate colored, foxy looking mixed breed puppy that my parents brought home to two very excited children.  My brother and I were amazed that we had a dog of our very own!  I was three and he was six.    

My strongest memories of Coco are my earliest ones…sneaking her M&Ms at my birthday parties…crying into her fur when I forgot to put on the supper when my Mother gave me that responsibility after school.  Coco was a constant through the turbulence of junior high and high school.  She lived to be 17 years old. I came home from college to put her to sleep when my Mom couldn’t make the decision. 

Coco was raised with plenty of love and absolutely no knowledge by the average American family.  She never went to doggie daycare or Pet Manners Class.  She was walked sometimes, certainly not enough.  She was a terror in the car, barking at everyone and everything outside the windows.   

I am ashamed to say that Coco even survived an acid trip that a moronic high school acquaintance sent her on one night at a party.  Don’t worry, the kid paid a price for that act, but my shame comes from the fact that I wasn’t the one to extract that pound of flesh.  His older brothers beat the hell out of him for doing something so stupid.  I wish it could’ve been me that did the beating, but I didn’t find out until many, many years later and frankly I don’t know if the weak, teenaged version of myself would’ve had the guts.   

Rest in peace Coco, you deserved better. I think you would be proud of the person I finally grew into.  

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