This submission is by Sasha Feiler, whose everyday Hero Dog is Spoon, a Entlebucher.
My Dog is My Hero Because…
I grew up in the 80s in Siberia, then part of the Soviet Union. My Mom and I would daily feed the hords of homeless cats trying to help them survive the cold weather. But there were almost no dogs anywhere around me. In my town, the mayor ordered the local police to shoot stray dogs “for sanitary reasons”. It was done at night to “not disturb the public”.
The few dogs I did meet, were the few I saw pulling their unfriendly owners down the street. Those dogs were big and intimidating. One of them tried to bite me. It wasn’t the dogs’ fault, their people knew nothing about teaching them being a good dog.
Though I was living in fear, I also imagined that there must be a way to train a dog to do fun stuff, like those pups in circus who would do tricks and make kids laugh. It was my first “when-I-grow-up” dream, to be a trainer of funny energetic dogs that like to learn and to work.
I buried the dream for at least two decades, until I got a wild Entlebucher puppy for my 30th birthday. Can I do this? – I asked myself as Spoon was trying to “herd” me by nipping me at my feet with his puppy’s “shark” teeth. What do I know about dogs? I’ve always been afraid of them and I simply don’t know a thing about them. Learning tricks? I mean, can I just survive today?
A friend recommended Zoom Room (get that energy out on the agility course!), and from that day on, I started leaving the dream with my dog Spoon. The structure and the training Zoom Room provided ignited my desire to train and Spoon’s working dog’s natural instincts to be trained.
A year and a half later, Spoon is a handsome pup who is both a local agility star and a master of various tricks. He closes kitchen cabinets, opens garbage/recycle cans, rings the bell “to get some service” and pleases strangers with his classic sneaky “peekaboo” trick. He accompanied us in the backpacking trip in Oregon’s mountains while wearing boots and carrying all of his food supplies in his backpack. He’s herd sheep, ridden a skateboard, played soccer with a three-year-old and rode a speedboat. He loves to give, which in return allows me to give back. Spoon also keeps on challenging me and demands directing his working dog’s instincts into positive experiences.
With the knowledge we both got at Zoom Room, Spoon and I continue to strengthen our bond and live that Siberian little girl’s dream. What else could I wish for?
Learn more about the Hero Dog Awards.