Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It's often believed that my relationship with Erin was perfect or so it appeared on the outside. While we had a beautiful love and friendship, there hasn't always been smooth sailing between us as all relationships have growing pains or stretches when things aren't as desired. In retrospect, I made many mistakes as a first-time dog owner but luckily she was a forgiving dog and thus was able to overcome my inexperience while never losing faith in me. It seems our beginning was taken from "Marley and Me" but as with that well-known story, a rocky start blossomed into a beautiful love.
The early days were often filled with periods of frustration, angst, and doubt as Erin's rambunctious and lack of discipline overwhelmed me. I questioned myself, her, and our relationship while the increasing stress created cracks in the foundation of our friendship but neither one of us showed any signs of quitting. I couldn't understand why she didn't obey my commands, owning a puppy was supposed to be easy; unrealistically she was expected to be perfect from day one and that was unfair to both of us. Eventually I realized it was my my fault and not the dog as is usually the case in pet/human relationships thus our bond was altered forever. The blame was shifted upon myself for any deficiencies while I vowed to improve the situation and circumstances for her; relocation to a house with spacious backyard, structured obedience courses, and socialization sessions with fellow dogs and humans soon followed.
The art of obedience was mastered with little struggle while Erin drew praise from the instructors for her competency at an early age, I was beyond proud of her and it was about that timeframe when I realized we had something special forming. Often we would practice for hours until the various commands became second nature to us, we practiced over and over til it was engrained in our brains and oh yeah, the doggie treats she received for doing it correctly were a perk for her. Over the years, Erin would complete numerous obedience courses, AKC Canine Good Citizen test, and the exams required to become a certified therapy dog . Our bond improved greatly as she gained discipline and could thus be let off-leash in public areas to socialize, fetch balls, and chase squirrels as desired; nothing like independence to help a friendship blossom.
I regret my mistakes during the Erin years and if given the chance I'd right the wrongs but would that affect our future together, maybe those struggles brought us closer together and helped form the close bond we had until the very end. In prayer, I often ask for forgiveness from Erin and God for any act which they deem as unwarranted, hopefully they know I always had her best interests at heart but as a human fell short of the mark. Erin you were a great friend and I'll never have another like you!! RIP my beloved!!!!