Sasha, Mia, Henry, Peanut, Katie, Lulu, Lauren, and Duster

Sasha, Mia, Henry, Peanut, Katie, Lulu, Lauren, and Duster

As many folks already know, I am a professional dog trainer. One of the services I offer is a “Small Dog, Come, Stay, Play” daycare program one day a week. Every Wednesday,4-6 additional dogs get dropped off at the Dog Is Good headquarters. We happen to be on the best property in Seal Beach, CA…The Naval Weapons Station. Not only is it fully secure, but these spoiled pups get to spend their day romping together in the sprawling fields just outside my front door.

Every owner tells me that their “pup” knows when it is Wednesday as they race around their homes in excitement and can hardly contain themselves as they approach my home office. The morning starts off with the arrival of Mia, a Shi-tzu/Lhasa mix. She is like a cuddly stuffed animal with the sweetest disposition, and she was a star pupil who learned some pretty cool tricks, one of which is to “salute” on cue. Hey, my husband is the commander of the installation, so I figured that was an appropriate trick to teach this adorable pup.

The next pup to arrive is Arlo, an Irish Wheaten Terrier.He just melts your heart as he comes bounding towards you with such excitement and pure innocent joy.Talk about a love, in addition to mastering all his training skills,he will back into your legs for attention on the cue “give me some love”…which is the perfect behavior for a dog who typically wants to jump on everyone. As Mia , Arlo, and my own adorable dog Henry are racing together all over the field/lawn (think golf fairway…which is what my front lawn looks like), I see Peanut, a Daschund, standing up with his nose pressed against the front passenger window of the car now driving up my driveway.

Peanut’s nickname is the “Pisher”.You must stand clear and out of the way of his enthusiastic “wet” greetings. It is possible to avoid the inevitable by “shooting” him with the cue “dead dog”, a trick he learned so well that he does an academy award performance spin and drop as he falls over on his side. After that, he is off and running with the rest of the crew.

Last, but not least, for today is the arrival of Duster. She is a Daschund/Chi mix who I pick up at my daughter’s bus stop. This little one loves to snuggle in your arms..but only briefly. Once she says “hello” she can hardly wait for her feet to hit the ground so she can start playing with the other pups who are eagerly trying to get at her in my arms. Sasha, my hound/pointer/spaniel mix is the “mama” dog of the bunch and every Wednesday she looks at me with her beautiful eyes, that look as though they have been painted with eyeliner, to say “Oy, not these little whipper -snappers again”.

So the day begins, now with all the little guys racing around free all over the grounds. They play like this for 30-45 minutes before we head off for our long walk towards our private beach. During this time, I am the quintessential dog walker, managing 6 leashes with ease as we all head in the direction of their favorite destination. There is nothing that brings a smile to my face more than to reach the point where I put them all in a SIT-STAY, remove leashes, test their steadfast position, and then release with a loud “OK”. …six dogs now take off to look for squirrels or rabbits to chase in the fields that lead up to the beautiful calm beachfront. It is doggie paradise! The only dog who doesn’t partake in this morning ritual is Mia, who will promptly sit her bottom down and not budge when she sees those leashes coming out. It is as though she wants to say “Nah, you guys go ahead, I am not up for a 3 mile walk. I’ll catch you for playtime when you get back”. An hour or so later, we are back. I am happy to have a house full of tired pups so I can finally start my morning working on Dog Is Good.

Today is special as I am getting a visit from two of Seal Beach’s greatest dog lovers, Lauren (11) and Katie (7) Dvonch. These kids are amazing, especially Lauren who is a true advocate for animals. This fifth grader regularly raises money to donate to our local animal care center (Seal Beach Animal Care Center). She goes out of her way to assist neighbors with dog walking and frequently bakes goodies to sell at street corner bake sales to raise the money she donates. Both girls have a way with dogs and they certainly had a ball bringing Lulu, their adopted terrier mix, into the doggie daycare mix for a ton of fun this afternoon. Check out the photo *above* of the girls with the “crew”.

— Gila