Wanted to take a different approach to this “About Us” page. Have you seen some of those interviews where they ask questions such as “What book would we find on your nightstand and what would we find in your refrigerator?” I used to think those were pretty strange (and still do) but on the other hand it is a rather fresh approach and offers a quick read.
So, here goes…
So, what book would we currently find on your nightstand? (Just kidding… this will show up later on in the interview.)
1. How long have you been working with dogs and their people? “More years than I care to admit as the years don’t seem to add up when I consider my age and the amount of time involved with the dogs:) I trained with some organizations in the Chicago area but my favorite times were those I spent with the “best of the best” in California and Arizona. I taught my first class with 28 dogs in 1982.”
2. Did you have dogs as a child? “Yes, we had German Shepherds. During my high school years, we had 2 Great Pyrenees. I remember my dad designed a huge sign – “Trespassers will be Eaten”. The Tribune came out and took pictures with both dogs standing up at the fence on either side of the sign. From a distance they looked like a couple of Polar Bears. I guess the dogs were a novelty back then; no one knew what they were. Everyone asked if they were white St. Bernards. The sign was a joke because the dogs were so mellow.”
3. What is your favorite breed of dog? “I enjoy all dogs but since I have had mostly Dobermans in my adult life, I guess Dobes it is! I think I prefer the “wash and go” breeds, for my own dogs, of course. Probably saw enough dog hair from the Pyrenees to last a lifetime. Dobermans shed but it’s not as obvious.”
4. How did you get started? “I think most of us in this profession started with more than just a love of dogs. Many of us had problem dogs. I had a “problem child” named Boris. He was a Doberman and started to throw his weight around about the time he was a year old. We took this as a serious warning and I enrolled him a series of classes. We both enjoyed it so much. After a few years of being a “fixture” at various classes, I was given an opportunity to complete a class already in session.
Getting back to Boris, he just needed to know where he ranked in the household. Once his formal training started he accepted moving down in rank and was my constant companion until he was about 12. It was sad the first time he couldn’t accompany me to teach a class but it was getting increasingly difficult for him to get in and out of the vehicle but that didn’t stop him from going on vacations with us!
People were still very leery of Dobes back then; always thinking of them as “guard dogs” just as the German Shepherds were called “police dogs”. Due to his gentle nature, Boris ended up being the “goodwill ambassador” for Dobermans He became his best between the ages of 4 and 5. He passed away in 1992 at the age of 14.”
5. Where did you obtain Boris? “We had a 3 year old Cairn Terrier at the time (remember Toto from the Wizard of Oz?) and wasn’t really planning on adding another dog to the mix. I remember my mom called me to say that an antique dealer friend of hers had 2 puppies available. They were about 11 weeks at the time and I decided to take a look at them. Found out that his granddaddy was Dillinger from the *Doberman Gang movies so we must have thought that due to his background he would be easy to train…Can you believe that? C’mon, that was a looooooooooooong time ago.”
6. Do you train with treats? “Not a fan of training entirely with treats. I prefer consistency, repetition and praise. The dogs have enough distractions during training without throwing treats into the mix. Treats can play a small role and we do use them occasionally. I think the discussion of using treats as a reward would make an interesting future post. Thanks for the idea.”
7. Any hobbies? “Nothing too exciting right now. I read a lot and enjoy walking the dogs. I also enjoy photographing the deer playing in the yard and of course, I have so much fun working on these posts.”
8. Any hobbies in the past? “In the mid 80’s, I was really into Kenpo Karate for quite a number of years. (Actually, sparred in tournaments, if you can believe that!) Guess I was “multi-tasking” at the time. Loved to work out but this was working out in addition to learning something practical. I was very close to becoming 1st degree black belt but started getting really busy with the business. I ended up as 1st degree brown which is just one level away from 1st degree black. Wish I had kept up with it.”
9. What is your most memorable experience with animals? “Swimming with dolphins is the first thing to come to mind. Attended dolphin camp twice in the Keys. The first time was in 1991 and the second about 5 years later with the same group. We experienced them both in the wild and in captivity. Both are great but there’s just something about being able to play with them in the ocean. Awesome to the nth degree.”
10. Have you had any celebrities in your classes? “As a matter of fact, yes. The first was Anna Chlumsky and her mom, Nancy with their black Lab, Oscar. (Great name she picked out, right!) That was probably back in the mid nineties. Now, if you recall, Anna was the star in the My Girl movies.
Also worked with Frankie Sullivan and his Mini-Doxie, about 10 years ago. Frankie is the lead guitarist in the band, Survivor. Eye of the Tiger, remember?
There were also a couple of sports figures that preferred to remain anonymous.”
11. So, how did you like Marley and Me? “I heard it was great! Didn’t read the book or see the movie because I heard it was very sad. Wasn’t in the mood for “sad” at that time.”
12. OK, so now will you tell us what books we would find on your nightstand? “Believe it or not, Blogging for Dummies is one of them. The other is a book in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.”
13. Any favorites prior to the James Patterson books? “Yes, finally finished up the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer.”
14. Favorite movie(s)? “I love the Twilight Saga movies and can’t wait for the release of Breaking Dawn. However, my all time movie favorite would have to be “Gone with the Wind”. See, no vampires!”
15. Favorite TV shows? (and music?) “True Blood and Vampire Diaries. OK, that’s probably too much vampire talk, so let’s add The Closer with Kyra Sedgewick. That’s about all there’s time for but I also enjoy Dancing with the Stars. As far as music, the last couple of years it’s been Country and Western. I mean who couldn’t listen to (and look at) Keith Urban all day long..?”
16. Current dogs? “A seven year old Greyhound named “Bounce” and a year old Doberman who goes by the name of “Bruce”.”
17. Anything else you want to add? “No, not really. Just wanted to keep this short and simple. But, if the readers are still awake and would like more info, they can go to our website www.MyDogNeverDidThatBefore.com and checkout the “About Us” page.”
Hope everyone enjoys reading these posts as much as I enjoy writing them!
Always pick up after your dogs.