Like I said earlier in the week, April 16 (next Friday) marks the third anniversary of the death of a very special friend of mine. Because of that, I've decided to spread a series of posts throughout this week in his honor. Writing about this subject is something that has been historically hard for me to do, but the story is one that I would love to share with all of you.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I began horseback riding in 2000. After toying with the idea for quite some time, we finally went to a riding stable to inquire in August of that year. About a month later, I was finally sitting six feet in the air, on top of the most gentle, dead-broke school horse in the barn, a mare named Lady.
For that year, I continued riding that horse, learning some of the basics of horse care along the way. However, one afternoon in June 2001, my mother made a call for me to have another riding lesson, and was met with the words "Lady is sick."
I didn't know the gravity of her illness then (botulism), nor could my ten-year-old mind really comprehend that she was going to die. Sure enough, that's what happened, and on the morning on July 4, she was euthanized.
I remember writing in my journal that I didn't think I could ever love a horse again. I was devastated; I am, characteristically, fiercely loyal to those who are close to me, so the fact that I was going to start having to ride a different horse was something I took as a blow.
I did not return to the stable until my birthday - July 23. A friend of mine had to pick something or someone up, and I was invited along for the ride.
I can still remember it like it was yesterday - walking around that barn, looking back at all the big, brown eyes that were staring at me, but feeling a certain emptiness. Lady was not there. In my horse experiences up until that point, she was all I had known, and it was hard to swallow.
Then, as if by magic, I took a turn in to a rather secluded area of the barn that housed but three horses. I could see one horse peering out over the stall guard (ropes, basically, that keep them inside the stall without having to use a door), his face with a white blaze down the front that reminded me of Lady's. I knew it couldn't be her, but I went over to him, anyway.
I went over to him, talked to him, and petted him. His name was Taco; he was the thirty-five year old boarder horse who every one knew, but no one really bothered with. I stood there for a long while with him, until the party I had come to the barn with discovered me and told me it was time to leave.
I rode the whole way home in the car thinking about him. Little did I know that those first few moments on my eleventh birthday would be the start of something that I couldn't have imagined even in my wildest dreams.
stay tuned for Part 2...
MargeBlog started in early 2009 as a training journal for my newly adopted, skittish Lab mix, Marge. Marge's world was small back then; her fears really limited the things I could do with her. Aside from trips to the park and attending beginner training classes, Marge was mostly a stay at home gal - not because either of us wanted her to be, just because the demons from her unsuitable upbringing continued to haunt her.
Slowly, the fear diminished, her world grew. Now, Marge is a fun-loving, squirrel-chasing, winning Agility and Rally dog who accompanies me to a wide variety of places. Here, you will frequently find detailed training updates, snippets from Marge's every day life at home, and photo-filled posts detailing our many outdoor adventures.
This is more than just a dog blog - it is an actual look in to what one shelter dog's life ultimately became when she found her first and forever home and began to blossom.
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A rescue from Georgia bounced around from shelter to shelter and state to state with her siblings, Marge did not have the luxury of living in a home - my home - until just past her first birthday. A life behind bars had taken its toll on Marge, whose obvious fear of people, noise, and city life in general left a lot for her to learn about how to get by in New York.
Marge is a different dog now than she was back then. It took years of new, positive life experiences, but her fears, which used to consume everything we did, are now only one theme in a great big book of adventures.
These days, Marge enjoys going to training classes, taking trips to agility trials, having play dates with friends, and eating anything that's even remotely edible - not bad for a dog who spent her puppy days in cages.
My time with Marge has been a learning experience for which I am ever grateful. As my first dog, she has taught me and continues to teach me so much more than I ever imagined about dogs, training, and behavioral/fear issues. She's a fun dog with a sense of humor who loves life and learning.
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- Technical Difficulties
- Level Up!
- Dog Crap and Dandelions
- Interspecies Relationships
- Tuesday Training 32
- This Time, Last Year
- Back on Schedule
- My Incredible Journey - Part 6
- My Incredible Journey - Part 5
- My Incredible Journey - Part 4
- My Incredible Journey - Part 3
- My Incredible Journey - Part 2
- My Incredible Journey - Part 1
- Mutts in the Ring
- Tuesday Training 31
- Walking In A Cloud
- Where We Belong
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