My mom, Jessica Troop of The Balanced Dog, is a dog trainer based in Bridgewater, Virginia. Together, her and I train dogs in places like Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and all the surrounding areas here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
She tells me she posted a picture of the two of us on Facebook and everyone seemed to like the idea of me sharing my story.
Sigh. <That was a deep, brooding sigh that one typically only hears from someone who is dog tired.>
My work here is rarely done. That's ok, though, because I shudder to think what my life could have been instead. So, without further ado, let me tell you how I first came to live with Jessica and became a valued, critical part of The Balanced Dog family.
The details of how my life began are fuzzy. All I know for certain is that one day someone came to rescue me. I'd spent the first year of my life tied to a tree in North Carolina. My rescue arrived just in time, for I'd been left in freezing weather, my paws frozen to the ground and my chain wrapped tightly around the tree that had been my only home.
Animal Rescue brought me to the local pound, but I was very sickly and weak. Thankfully, the lovely and dedicated people of Ring Dog Rescue, a rescue dedicated to Pit Bull-type dogs based in Richmond, Virginia, came to get me and nurse me back to health. Then they started going about the task of finding me a forever home. I tried to tell them I really wanted a warm place to sleep at night, but I don't speak English. Somehow though, I felt like they understood.
Meanwhile, Jessica lost her beloved Pit Bull, Bailey, very suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of nine years. For six months she was too devastated to begin the search for a new dog. When she felt up to it, she began by going from rescue to rescue with her dog, Sampson. (He's the goofball I'm sticking my tongue out to in the photo above.)
I call him a goofball because he is one. But also because Jessica took him to visit almost 25 different dogs and he didn't like any of them. Can you believe that?! What a picky guy!
In the end though, it all worked out for all of us. For me, especially.
Jessica and Sampson came out to Richmond to meet a different dog. Little did they know that Ring Dog Rescue had ME in mind for them instead. Sampson hopped out of the car and instantly fell into deep smit with me. Can you blame him?
For an hour I dragged Jessica from one end of Richmond to the other. I had zero leash skills. I am not being humble here, folks. I am shocked she decided to stick with me. But after an hour, I hopped into the car with Jessica and Sampson and together we drove off to my forever home. I am thankful to Ring Dog Rescue, but it was nice to say goodbye to them.
For the first month or two I was kind of a jerk. There is no other way to describe my behavior. I chewed up clothes, car seats, seat belts. Even egg cartons. Yup. Egg cartons. Jessica took me with her to a local farm and she was standing right outside the door to the car talking to the woman who brought her the eggs she'd just bought. While they chatted away, I plucked two dozen eggs out of the cartons and destroyed the cartons.
In my defense, I left the eggs rolling around and intact.
Also, in my further defense, I'd been tied to a tree for a long time and hadn't ever learned how to act appropriately.
Thankfully, Jessica stuck with me. She trained me, giving me tons of exercise and jobs to do, as well as discipline and affection. A year after I went home with her, I became a certified therapy dog. I go to libraries and nursing homes to help people feel calm. I also help Jessica while she trains other dogs. It's important to me that other dogs behave so that they can stay in their forever homes just like I did.
That first year of my life was rough. I'm not sure that I'd ever change it though, because it led me to where I am now. I'm happy and warm, fed and exercised, and surrounded every day by the coolest dogs and people.
I feel like the luckiest dog in the world!