Reasons to be thankful from a dog trainer

As Thanksgiving approaches, I ponder what I am thankful for.  Of course, there are the usual suspects: I have a good job, I am healthy for the most part, my children and their spouses and my grandchildren are all healthy too.  But, as I look around me, I see the things that I never seem to add to that list every year.  My dogs!  Yes, they can be a handful and yes, they cost money in food, vet bills, and toys, but look what they give in return.  They follow me around no matter how bad I look. They always know when I am stressed out and do something so entertaining that I can’t help but laugh, thereby lowering my blood pressure and keeping me from wrinkling any more quickly than necessary! They “argue” over who gets to sit closest to me on the couch or lie closest to me in bed.  I don’t have to hear any complaints regarding what I served for dinner or how it tasted.  They are always happy to see me even if I just left to take out the garbage.  And when I need a sounding board, they listen and never argue with me! I also can’t help but notice how each dog I have picked to be part of my family has a complimentary personality asset that bonds us.  I have one who is aging but still wants to play, one who is bratty, one who is quirky, the diva of course and one who is childlike.  No wonder we all get along so well!

I am also thankful for the clients who have given me the opportunity to come into their homes and strengthen the bond they share with their dog by using positive reinforcement training.  I am thankful to the shelters where I volunteer for allowing me to make a difference in the lives of the puppies I foster and the dogs I train with and the classes I give to help others train their dogs.  I am especially grateful to the shelter dogs for showing me that no matter what happens in life, we are all capable of starting over again and being loved.  And to Benny, the dog who taught me patience and how to let something go if you really love it and that having a new couch every couple of months is not really a bad thing. I will always be thankful for you!  Happy Thanksgiving to all and give your pups an extra piece of turkey for all they do for you!

Maureen Henderson is a a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and a registered nurse who trains in the Tampa Bay, Florida area.  She volunteers at the SPCA TampaBay and Florida Boxer Rescue.  Maureen owns five dogs: an 11-year-old lab/chow mix, a one-year-old boxer, a four-year-old and a five-year-old old chihuahua and a four-year-old xoloitzcuintle (who just finished shooting a commercial for Kahlua!) She is the owner of Sit, Down,Stay Dog training where she does private, in-home training and behavior modification.

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