A Time for Reflection
It seems to me that every once in awhile someone asks me how and why I became an animal enthusiast —a pet advocate—a dog lover. I’ve had a national PBS TV series called “The World of Dogs Biography Series”—a local radio show (KTOK) called “Speak” and a local (KSBI) TV show called “Dog Talk”. When I’m interviewed it’s the first question asked of me. I’ve given it some thought, and it occurred to me that I was exposed to the charms of animals at an early age.
I can only assume that it was through my parent’s compassion for—and access to—puppies and kittens bred and raised by my grandmother. Both my two sisters and I learned the value of having furry, loving companions with whom we shared our secrets—our joys our sorrows.
To hold a tiny kitten—to be aware of its vulnerability and feel the obligation for its care—taught us dependability. To know the pride of having trained our dogs by gaining their trust.
I began showing my Cocker Spaniel in conformation classes at a young age. My family and I have been involved in obedience trials. My daughter, Lorri, achieved a CDX title on her Old English Sheepdog, and she had the first Rat Terrier in the USA to win a Master award in Fly Ball. We have hunted quail with seven fabulous Pointers for years. I’ve trained my Beagle in Agility, and Free Style—and my Canaan dog In Barn Hunting.
I have developed close friendships with the best and brightest professionals in our country, having had the opportunity of highlighting their skills with dogs on my radio and television shows. I never tire of learning new information about dog training, medical updates for animals, and the all important psychology of evolution among our animals. Passing on exciting, educational data is my mission.
My experience as an actress under contract to 20th Century Fox in the 60s—and as a singer under contract to The William Morris Agency—gave me the confidence to be able to feel very comfortable in the areas of communication as a Media Professional.
Most of my dogs have been adoptees. God has blessed me with 46 companions in my life. Some were purebreds—some were crossbreds. Frankly, I saw more in them than their DNA, and defined them by their good character. I’ve never met a dog who could not be trained. I’ve met countless numbers of people who had a great deal of trouble communicating with their dogs and people—a fact which might account for their lack of training skills.
When any of us in the business of dog advocacy are asked the question: “What in your opinion is the most important advice you can give to someone who has recently adopted or purchased a dog?” Our answer is unanimous—learning to “Speak Dog!” You can’t understand a dog if you don’t have the ability to communicate with them.
We can learn to “talk” with our dogs. Your dog studies your physical movements—and the energy level of your vocal activity—and interprets to respond to your interaction with him or her. Trying to understand you and how to please you are necessary efforts which insure your dog’s survival. Sadly there are people who are often inconsistent in their physical and emotional behavior, and it makes a dog’s job harder.
We can learn to read our dog’s body language, also. From the tip of his ears to the tip of his tail, his body speaks to us. Study your dog’s active and reactive movements—it’ll make you and your dog’s life together so much easier! Remember—every time you interact with your dog you’re teaching him something about you, himself, and the world around him. Make it something good!