shepSheppy was my first foster failure who got his name from the street he was crossing as a stray.  It was one of the first Saturdays I took off from my pet business and something told me to pull over, park and grab a leash.

As I drove toward the local shelter I was struck by how comfortable he was traveling. As I entered the parking lot something told me to keep driving. Our family had two dogs, but Sheppy fit right into the younger brother role to Hallie and Hank.

A few years later, one of the hardest three months of my life started right before Thanksgiving. Hank died of cancer in less than 2 weeks from diagnosis. My heart broke with this loss only to have Hallie also get suddenly ill and pass away in early January.

This is when Sheppy began to transform into the lead dog at home and at work. As I observed his behavior it became clear he was a teacher. The challenge for me and the employees at my daycare was understanding his lessons.

Luckily I was never the recipient of his bold behavior of peeing on your leg to get a message across. On more than one occasion he did this to employees at work. As we discussed each situation it was clear they had missed a key dog behavior.

It was not long before Sheppy began having ear problems. After six months of vet visits we were referred to a specialty group for treatment. Their first step was a sedated deep cleaning with a recommendation to remove one ear drum. He would lose his hearing and I struggled making that choice.

My intuition told me that Sheppy would recover and not need the surgery. Against the specialist’s recommendation we declined. Six months later his ears were totally clear and have never been infected again.

I gained confidence in my intuition and I paid more attention to it as I interacted with dogs. Rather than dismissing unusual behaviors I noted them and tuned into my intuition looking for a lesson. Over time I gained confidence in my behavior observations.

I’ve found peace trusting my intuition and allowing solutions to come at the perfect time. In my profession as a dog daycare expert I trust the dogs to show me the lessons that need to be shared. At home Sheppy still shares his wisdom that even as aging slows down our bodies, our mind and spirit still enjoy new challenges.

Although every dog that has shared my home has taught me important life lessons, Sheppy stands alone in transforming my relationship to all dogs. Hallie inspired me to become a pet care professional, but Sheppy taught me to view every interaction with dogs as a student open to learning something new. Initially, I thought Sheppy was lucky that I found him, but as he bluntly told my animal communicator friend when sharing that thought…She’s the lucky one!