A Year in Review with K9 Kelts and Dog Trainer Kathy Dunn

I had my third year anniversary with Petco as a Dog Trainer this past October. I am the only Dog Trainer at our Petco facility and I can honestly say I get to go to work and play with dogs and meet all kinds of new people!
In March, the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation authorized retraining and education for me to attend the Animal Behavior College to become a Professional Dog Trainer (technically that is what I am at Petco). This will in the future open doors of opportunity for having either potential growth via Petco or branch out on my own a bit more. I finished the online and book learning in August
I began my externship with a Dog Training Mentor, Cari Bowe, in September. I finished phase one of three before the rains and the weather permitted anymore. I hope to finish the last two phases early spring.
I also hope to begin my volunteer requirements with the Shasta County Animal Control after the first of the year.
When my externship and volunteer phases are completed, I will then take my final exam.
I hope to continue with my dog training education in working with Shelter dogs and rehabilitating problem behavior dogs and dogs whom have aggression issues.
During the Spring/Summer of this past year I taught Agility classes for the Nor Cal Dog Training Club and had a great time. Also with the Nor Cal Dog Club and through my own dog training business, a few friends and I did some demonstrations at some local elementary schools in April and June. We did Obedience, Agility, Flyball and Tracking demos. It was lots of fun for the dogs, the kids and us!
I have also been busy doing demos or having informational booths at various “animal/dog” events in and around my community.
In April, I had an info booth and offered the AKC Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) testing for the annual “Love Your Pet Expo” a benefit for local animal rescue groups. My Shetland Sheepdog, Dani Joy, did some Agility and Flyball demos at this event and had a great time.
In May, I participated in the Haven Humane Society’s Dog-a-thon.
In August, I did some demos with 2 other dog trainers in the area, Lyn of River Dog Agility and Chere McMillan of the Capable Canine, at the Open House for the Wild Horse Sanctuary in Manton (near Shingletown east of Redding). Unfortunately, Dani Joy ended up with a foxtail embedded in her chest wall and had to have surgery as it was headed to the heart/lung cavity. Thankfully, she is doing great now.
Also in August, I had an informational booth with Petco at a fundraising event called “Woofstock” a benefit for a local animal rescue group.
In September, I coordinated a demo event for the Nor Cal Dog Training Club at the annual Honey Bee Festival in Palo Cedro where we did Agility, Rally Obedience, and Flyball demonstrations. My two Shelties, Patrick Ryan and Dani Joy, showed off their stuff in Flyball and Dani Joy got her picture in the Palo Cedro newspaper. My Italian Greyhound Skippy did some beginning Agility at the demo as well.
Also in September, I went to the 2nd Annual Chico Canine Carnival, a benefit for Animal rescues in Butte County. I offered the AKC CGC testing and my dogs did Flyball demos.
I was supposed to do some Flyball demos and some more AKC CGC testing for the Siskiyou Paws for Walk fundraising event that same month, but ended up coming down sick.
In October, I coordinated a dog-sport community event (sponsored by Nor Cal Dog Training Club) in Anderson called “Pawsibilities Unleashed” where we had numerous dog trainers, dog sporting activities and animal rescue groups putting on demonstrations, offering information and encouraging responsible dog ownership.
After that event ended, I resigned from the Nor Cal Dog Club. I am now also an inactive member with my flyball team the Gold Coast Flyers.
Still on the subject of dogs… over Memorial Day Weekend I traveled down to my dad’s home in El Dorado, CA and went to the “Hangtown Kennel Club’s Dog Show”. I had Patrick Ryan entered for 3 days in competition Rally Obedience (Rally “O” for short). He came home with 2 qualifying scores. He needed 3 to get a Rally Novice Title. Unfortunately, his owner (me) messed up – always “handler error” – and it was his best performance of the weekend. My dad and step-mom, Marti were there to cheer me on and take pictures.
In the second week of June, I went to a four day dog show in Gridley, CA and entered both Dani Joy and Patrick Ryan in Rally “O”. Dani Joy got her title in Rally Novice on the fourth day. Patrick Ryan got his Rally Novice on the first day and 2 qualifying scores on the 2nd and 3rd day, in Rally Advance. However, like the last show, Patrick did a “star” performance but once again – handler error! So we need another show to get his Title in Rally Advanced. I was still so very proud of them!
Patrick just turned 10 years old this past week. He is showing more of his age and he is losing a bit of his hearing. But he is still as smart as a whip. He is now learning new tricks and I am thinking of taking up the sport of Canine Freestyle (a.k.a. doggie dancing).
Dani Joy will be 7 years old in January and is still the jumping live wire as ever. Although she has mellowed just a touch, enough to focus more on commands and do her Rally “O” and a few tricks too!
Skippy got his AKC Canine Good Citizenship while we were at the Chico Canine Carnival in September, which is his first step in any kind of event. I hope next year to enter him into Rally “O”. By the way, he is finally potty-trained! Skippy will be 4 years old in March. He still has some behavioral issues to work through what other dog trainers like to call “resource guarding” he thinks EVERYTHING belongs to him, the living room, Dee, the cats, the toys, the yard, etc.
My private dog training business has been primarily focused on private lessons with one-on-one training with the dog and the dog owner. It has been challenging and very rewarding.
This year I created a new website and as you know this blog – just for my dog training business and all things dog… check out my website at:  www.k9keltsdogtraining.com

Teardrops on Fur – God's Comfort

Flyball Tournament September 2008

Flyball Tournament September 2008

It was 27 years ago yesterday that I rededicated my life to Christ on this very night at a Bible Study in a subdivision called Lake California, Cottonwood, California. It is also the birthday of a dear spiritual mentor/father to me, Nick Roetto. For he was there that night and told me he thought of no greater birthday gift than for someone to commit their life to Christ on his birthday.
So many year ago and as the saying goes “so much water under the bridge” since that day and I certainly won’t detail it here as I’ve written enough about those bygone days in other places. I have traveled many different paths and definitely some I did not ever imagine and even some I am not proud of, but here I am in the middle of the night reflecting.
I’ve just put to bed my 3 dogs: Patrick Ryan, Dani Joy & Skippy. This evening I found a lump on Patrick’s back alongside his spine, so after I put the other two dogs to bed, I spent some extra time examining Patrick running my hands all over his body, bones, muscles, glands and everywhere. I am sure he thought it was wonderful. Thankfully I didn’t find any other lumps and the one I found feels like it could be a fatty tumor and if that is true it will be a relief… but I need to schedule a vet appointment just to make sure.
Patrick already has thyroid problems and he takes his thyroid medications just like I do. He also has the beginnings of “doggy alzheimers” and sometimes runs off forgetting who he is, his name, and everyone he knows. He just turned 9 years old in December 2008.
It was shortly after my other dog, Megan turned 9 years old that she was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer and I had to say goodbye to my dear sweet girl.
So I spent extra time with my little Gentleman “Paddy Boy” and the tears fell freely on his soft merle fur as I gazed into his precious sweet face. I was reflecting back on all the memories from his puppyhood on up through the years. He has alwasy been the Gentleman and a very good boy. Apart from his puppy days, I don’t have any grand tales of daring escapades or rebelliousness. He has been a good boy and one I have always been proud to show off his manners.
I realize I am probably mourning his loss entirely too soon but the irony of “9 years” I can’t seem to shake away from.
Megan's last Flyball Tournament in Fresno, CA

Megan's last Flyball Tournament in Fresno, CA

When Megan was 9 years old, my life was in major transition and I was learning to “not work” due to my health issues and watching a medical leave of absence turn into a permanent disability. Leaving the world of management, corporations, non-profits and lots of activity.
Now, Patrick is 9 years old and my life is in another transition where I am trying to go back to work and become a dog trainer and am starting over.
Dani Joy will be 6 years old tomorrow and Skippy will be 3 years old in March. Patrick was 3 years old when Megan died.
I just retired Patrick from Flyball due to his mind skipping out every so often. His last Flyball race was September 2008. Megan was retired from Flyball in September due to her premature arthritis.
After Megan finished up her Flyball, I had plans for her to get those elusive Obedience Titles that I had always hoped for but we had spent time doing Flyball and Agility to burn up all her energy. But Megan never did get those Obedience opportunities due to her Cancer coming on so quickly and her life ending so shortly after her Flyball career ended.
Now Patrick is finished with his Flyball and here I am making plans to again get those elusive Obedience Titles because again Patrick and I have spent time doing Flyball and Agility. I even thought of Rally Obedience and him becoming a Therapy Dog.
However, who knows what the future really holds. I am sure Patrick will have a few more years, but then again, life is never predictable.
Dani is in Flyball and Agility and we might make a run at Obedience or Rally Obedience.
Skippy just today started beginning a new chapter in his life of learning Lure Coursing. I think he really enjoyed his first day and it will be a great opportunity to build his confidence and social skills.
But my mind again turns to memories of Megan and to my “Paddy Boy” and the tears begin to form again in my eyes. I remember Megan when I heard the news that she had cancer and how I spent that night in front of my icons of Christ and the Saints in my Icon corner crying out to God…
“I have lost my brother, my mother, my grandmother, my health, my job, my ministry, my truck… must you take my dog also?” I wrestled with God that night and finally found peace and comfort trusting in God and being able to let go of Megan.
So here I am again… the wrestling is not there, but the concerns, and learning to trust God and always hold on those you love, whether it is our pets or friends or our family to hold on lightly, for all things belong to God and our gifts entrusted into our care for a time. And that time is left best in God’s hands.
When Megan passed on I was in a spiritual desert and searching for answers.
Here I am again in another place spiritually as well – but in another wilderness, hurting, tired, searching and not sure the path to take next or what turn or when or how.
So as the tears fall, I am being cleansed, purified and God’s comfort and peace come once again.
“Hear my cry, O God: attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle foreer; I will trust in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:1-4)
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclinded to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3

“I will love you o Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my forterss and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn o fmy salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies… For you will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect… The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18 excerpts)

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak. And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary. And the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)