Greg, I am so very sorry for your loss. There is lump in my throat as I write this. I never met Tehya, but I truly believe that there are beings that enter our lives to teach us and to help us move in a certain direction in our lives. They come to us in a form we are willing to receive. When it is a dog that does this I call them a soul dog. That being that can speak directly to your soul and help you to become exactly what you were meant to be. You, are an amazing person that is kind, genuinely caring and dedicated to helping in places where many don't even realize there is a problem. I truly value our friendship and I am so very sorry that your soul dog has moved on. My thoughts are with you as you adjust to life without her. I hope in time the emptiness you are feeling is replaced by warm memories of the times you shared and with a feeling of joy over what the two of your were able to accomplish together. Please reach out if there is anything you need.
Tehya started her life in Kentucky and spent the first year tied outside, likely as a predator deterrent. She was relinquished to a high kill shelter at 11 months of age with a litter of pups on the way. Rescued by a Midwest area group shortly afterwards, she was in her second foster home (due to reactivity issues) when we traveled to Michigan to meet her. And..........she picked me. What we did not yet realize was the extent of the emotional damage her past had caused.
We adopted Tehya in the fall of 2007 and my commitment to her in return for choosing me was to help her learn to lead as stress free of a life as possible along with an environment that would be rewarding for her. Little did I know at the time that this would be one of the most challenging goals in my life, largely due to her significant reactivity issues towards other dogs along with numerous environment stress and fear triggers including struggling with storm phobia.
Although Tehya was able to earn her CGC (Canine Good Citizen Certificate) she struggled in the class environment and after a year of training in agility with increasing levels of reactivity, I decided I needed to find a better training path to try and help her turnaround from a path of increasing behavior problems to a path of decreasing stress, fears and a more rewarding life. We discovered science based training methods and our recovery began. Tehya continued to improve using all science based positive reinforcement behavior modification methods and ultimately went on to both earn her Master Agility Champion title and accompany me as my training partner for my KPA certification.
Our first rescue
The first dog that picked me
Our first experience with significant canine behavior problems
My first agility dog
My first dog to earn a MACH title
My KPA partner
Our friend and companion
One of the best teachers in my life
Oh, Greg and Sue, you are in my thoughts! As many times as we've discussed Tehya, I don't think I ever really understood how hard her early life is. I'm so glad she found--and picked--you. I hope that you are finding comfort in reminiscing on the rich life you shared with one another. Few dogs have such dedicated families. Tehya knew what she was doing.
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