Monday, March 31, 2014

Growing Up Gomez: Season Finale

Gomez with his teacher Sarah at Fido Personal Dog Training
At the beginning of January I started writing a column for the web site Your Pit Bull and You called 'Growing Up Gomez.' It just wrapped up with the last "episode" of the season, and you can find all of them here. Essentially, it's a column that highlights the stress that comes with adopting an adult dog — a subject that, from what I could tell after frantic Google searches and book references, seems to get glossed over in the whole, "adopt and save a life!" cheerleading of rescue and shelter proponents. I am a staunch supporter of adoption, but new adopters (most being people with far less dog experience than I have) need more support and encouragement through the initial year of adoption, especially during the first few months. These can be trying times, but what you find once you get over those bumps is priceless: a great, long-lasting relationship with your new dog.

I'm still kind of amazed I was offered the opportunity to write for the site. I stumbled onto YPBY's Facebook page one day and was immediately a fan. Excellent writing, force-free training advocacy and pit bulls? Yes, please! I wrote to them after coming up empty handed in the "light at the end of the tunnel" department and asked if they'd ever considered doing a column that dealt with "rags to riches" training stories. I did my best to word my initial email in a a way that didn't sound like, "Help! I just adopted my second dog and I think I might've ruined my life!" And I suppose I succeeded since the site's main lady, Lori Nanan, sent me the following response: 

Hey Laura!
I LOVE this idea....and I'm gonna toss it back to you. ;-)

Would you be interested in documenting your journey in a bit more detail- the highs, the lows, the ah-ha moments, the "I'm toast" moments?

Doesn't have to be exhaustive, but we could put together a post with your story. I have NO doubt, that like you say, it will encourage others to step forward and admit to their "been there, done that" moments.

Include some pics of him and your lovely family and I think it could be pretty awesome. People love pictures, which you no doubt have noticed!

Let me know your thoughts and Thanks so much! - Lori

My first thought was, "Did this lady, who doesn't know me at all, just offer me a chance to write for her website in response to a cold email? Who does that?" After all, how does this woman know I'm not crazy? A terrible writer? A jerk and a moron? My second thought was, "I immediately like this person because she used the expression 'I'm toast.'" I'm so thankful Lori took a chance on me. She's an incredible trainer, advocate and person and I'm fortunate to know her. 

I enjoyed writing these posts tremendously, not only because I forced myself out of my comfort zone as a writer, but because of the truly positive, thoughtful and just goddamn nice feedback people have given me. Not to mention the fact that the force free training community is full of amazing, intelligent people who are training dogs without pinch collars, "corrections," intimidation, choke chains, outdated pack theory bullshit or pain. For more about force-free training and how you don't need a "heavy hand" to train, check out this article that Lori wrote. Seriously. Read it.

So thank you to everybody who read the column, and if you know somebody who's recently adopted their own 70lb friendly caveman, please send them the way of Your Pit Bull and You! Not just to read 'Growing Up Gomez,' but because it's a tremendous resource no matter what type of dog you have. 

1 comment:

Lori Nanan said...

It was an absolute honor to share your story and watch your family grow up. Thanks for sharing it with us and allowing people the opportunity to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.