...So, 30 years ago today (June 7, 1981), a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy was born on a little farm in the rolling hills of northern New Jersey. She would become my puppy two months later, named Mail Order Annie. And for almost 15 years, she was my best little pal and filled my life with astonishing joy every day we shared together.
The truth is, Annie changed my life in so many ways that I could write a book about her. Oh, wait...I did that already! It's called Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other.
Yeah, the title's a mouthful -- but it also tells you exactly what the book is about.
(Puppy Kisses is available from Amazon.com -- just type "Puppy Kisses" into the book-search box -- or directly from us at http://dayonedogtraining.com/puppykisses.html)
I've loved dogs since I was a little kid -- probably the influence of watching all those LASSIE episodes! Growing up in suburban Long Island, New York, I wanted a dog more than anything (and we actually had a cute little Beagle-Basset puppy for one disastrous week when I was nine). As it turned out, I had to wait until I was an adult before I got my dog for keeps. And the truth is, I had no idea what I was doing! We fumbled our way through Annie's first three years...during which, without my even noticing, a miracle was happening. Annie was growing up to be a nearly perfect dog, despite my mistakes. She was smart, clever, sweet, friendly, determined...and exceedingly patient with all my human failings.
Long ago: Annie with baby Katie Greenberger
Having Annie so surpassed my expectations that I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined how enriching and enjoyable it would be to share my life with this little dog. And when our time together was done, I knew I had to write about her, for a couple of reasons: knowing how fleeting memories can be, I didn't want to forget. And I wanted to share all those experiences and lessons with other dog owners, because I came to believe that every dog could be a great dog, and every human could enjoy having a dog as much as I cherished my years with Annie.
If you've ever loved a dog, I wrote Puppy Kisses for you. You will surely see your own well-loved dogs in my tales of Annie's life and times. And if you want a dog, or are about to get your first dog, then Puppy Kisses will give you a clear idea of what to expect, help you avoid all the dumb mistakes I made, and provide a blueprint to follow so you can get as much pleasure from life with your doggie pal as Annie generously gave me.
In the movie STAR TREK II, after Spock dies saving the starship Enterprise and her crew from certain destruction, Captain Kirk honors his alien Vulcan friend with these haunting words: "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human."
I can truly say the same about Annie. She was as magical, remarkable and amazing a creature as I have ever encountered. Yes, she was a dog and a pet, but she was so much more. She was my best friend, and my furry little spirit guide. She made me a better person, and she's why I became a dog trainer -- with the mission of sharing her lessons with as many other dog owners as I can.
Though she's been gone for 15 years now, I still miss her every day. I would happily give up a year of my life to spend one more day with her. Of course, life doesn't work that way, so I'm left with my memories of Annie, and the inspiration she gave me just because she could. Not a bad deal.
Thank you, Annie, for the pleasure of your company.