IMG_2874_2Tootsie is a Collie who likes barking, hiking, treeing squirrels, sleeping on the couch, eating scrambled eggs, taking the lids off of plastic water bottles, and having her teeth brushed.

She left her home in Maryland just shy of her fourth birthday to live with me in West Virginia.  Already a show dog, she would finish her conformation title and start a career in performance sports.  At least, those were my plans for her.

A medical emergency ended Tootsie’s show career.  (She recovered quickly, but spaying her was a necessary part of her treatment.) And several obstacles prevented her from excelling in performance:  anxiety, lack of motivation, and a lack of relationship.  After a year, I still didn’t know her, and I was starting to sense that she didn’t like what she knew of me.

I decided to let go of my expectations and appreciate the dog Tootsie was.  After all, she was one of the sweetest dogs I had ever owned.  And boy was she silly.

Three years later, she’s still silly and still sweet, and now she likes and trusts me.  She gives affection freely and is eager to please.  In return, I offer her the same support.  Because of this relationship, she now finds joy in the work we do together.  Whether it’s being helpful around the house, training for performance, or helping with cases at The Clever Canine, Tootsie gives me everything she has.