About Me

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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my fifty one years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty four dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I became 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. Currently, as a Dog Walker I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to experience their unique personalities. 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, April 23, 2013

Our Lady in Red

It has taken me a while to feel like I can put into words the reality of Belle's death.  As long as it seemed impossible, unreal, unfathomable...it was bearable.  But as time marches on, the alien feeling of not seeing her on the couch...the empty sense of purpose, not needing to constantly keep her covered in blankets...the absence of her sitting in anticipation in front of her bowl at meal time...
It has all become the new normal.  And as the ghost of her presence in our home becomes less glaring, the truth of her being gone becomes more so.
Belle is gone.  She is dead.
We will never again be rendered helplessly breathless from her frantic kissing.
We will never hear her plaintive "Where's my blankie?" whine.
We will never watch her run with abandon through the fields.
We will never see her greet other dogs in her silly, crazy, submissive way, sliding up to the dog on the side of her neck with her rump in the air.

                          We will never dance together again.

Her enthusiastic, somewhat spastic, backward circle around me...
Her joyful spins...Her pretty heeling...I find myself clinging desperately to pictures and video.
They will never adequately represent our Belle.  But they are all we have left.
Miss you red dog.  Love you.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring = Agility!

This Agility season will be very different.  Belle is gone.  Tawnie is my only trial ready dog (barely).  Mamacita is a work in progress.  I am excited about training with these two VERY different dogs.
Switching handling gears can be difficult when you are working with dogs that need completely different motivation!  I hope I am up to the challenge!

Tawnie has alot of potential to be a dependable team mate.  But she is a bit too handler focused and very sensitive to my moods.  I have to tread softly and carry a bit stick of cheese!

Mamacita is a firecracker.  She is handler focused and obstacle focused - meaning she finds reinforcement in both places.  She is  super fast and very sensitive to my movement.  That means my handling has to be precise.  It will be an exciting season!


I took the dogs for a hike the other day.
We spend a lot of time there.  
The mix of fields, woods, streams and the pond make it our favorite spot.
I was afraid that it would be too hard to be there without Belle.
I shouldn't have worried.
Belle was everywhere.