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.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Raising Goose - Adolescence

UGH!  My puppy is a teenager - Pushy, self absorbed, overly dramatic, crazy...
I know that some of my training friends are appalled at his seemingly out of control behavior (barking, jumping, pulling).  But I am not worried.  He is a baby in a big dog body right now.  Unaware of his size and possessing very little impulse control.  He tries to be good...but its just too much fun to be bad! 

He is friendly with dogs and people.
He has been started on platform targets and go to mat training.
He likes jumps and tunnels.
He tolerates a tether.
He tolerates a crate.
He fetches and plays tugowar enthusiastically.

But, yeah...I know...he is pretty obnoxious right now unless physically prevented from being so with management tools (ie tether, no pull harness)! 

My husband keeps asking me if I know a good dog trainer...Ha! Ha!  Obviously I married the man for his razor sharp wit.

It suppose at 9 months of age it might be time to reign in the red monster a bit. :-) 

But someday I will look back longingly on the days when he never walked when he could run and never stood still when he could bounce! 

So I'm in no hurry...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Muffin - Saying Goodbye

2015 finds me on my computer, purging files.   I came across this short piece about Muffin and thought I would share it with you.  Hard to believe it has been 4 years since we lost her.    

I stood just inside the front door, dogs milling around my feet.  I reached into my coat pocket and felt her collar. Pulling it out, I turned it over and over in my hands.   I removed the ID tag and considered the idea of tossing the collar in the trash.  Once a bright blue plaid, it was faded now and frayed in one spot.  I hesitated and threw it into the laundry instead.  It would clean up okay.  I let the dogs out into the yard.

I went into the bedroom and cleaned out her crate.  Her blanket had a dusting of fur.  I held it up to my face, inhaling her scent, then placed it into the laundry as well.  I folded the crate and brought it out to the garage.  I let the dogs back in from the yard.

I filled the utility sink with bleach and water and thoroughly washed the floor and walls in the mudroom, clearing the air of her sickness with the sharpness of the disinfectant.  The area rugs that helped her stay on her feet on the linoleum were rolled up and put on the porch for cleaning later.  

Walking back through the living room, I noticed the set of stairs she used to gain access to the couch.  None of the other dogs needed them, so I packed them up and brought them to the attic.  A stack of pictures sat on the dining room table.  Glancing through them, I found the right one. She was moving directly toward the camera with a sense of purpose.  I put the picture in a plain black frame and placed it on top of the curio cabinet.

Friends called on the phone to offer condolences. “I’m okay” I assured them. “It was time. Thanks for calling.” 

I fed the dogs, let them out, let them in again and watched some TV.  Finally it was time for bed.  It seemed like a week had passed since the trip to the vet this morning.  I fell back on the pillow, exhausted and fell asleep quickly. Sometime during the night, something woke me abruptly.  My feet were on the floor and I was half way to the spot where her crate had been before I remembered.  She was gone.  She didn’t need me.  My breath caught in my throat and slowly I turned and crawled back into bed. My husband reached out, drawing me close, muffling my sobs against his shoulder.