A Dog for All Seasons
Julie Klick is a well-known realtor who lives in Bay Isles with her husband, Paul, a volunteer and Board member of Easter Seals Southwest Florida, their beloved son, William, their cat, Bingham, and their more recently acquired family member, Bama.
It was decided that a companion/service dog would be fun and helpful. Julie wanted a Goldendoodle, but one that was smaller than average. She went on a search, finally locating a woman in Tennessee who was a reputable breeder. At six weeks, each member of the litter was behavior tested, sorting out which puppy was more or less aggressive, dominant, submissive etc. Julie was offered one of two puppies who seemed to best fulfill her needs. She chose an adorable little 6 weeks old fluff ball who was deemed to be not too Alpha.
After bringing the puppy home, first on the to-do list was to name her. It was actually William who chose the name. Many were considered but he kept coming back to Bama. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the whole family is avid sports fans, especially for The Crimson Tide?
Bama was quickly house broken, fitting right in, but she needed training in how to better direct her playful exuberance and sudden, startling barking alerts into more helpful canine behavior.
As soon as she was old enough Julie, William, and she enrolled at Pet Co. for private lessons with an experienced trainer, Julie Radzwich. This was a good location because there would be customers and often their pets walking around. Bama could learn to work through distractions.
Some of the goals for her to learn are to sit, stay, down, find it, and "close" meaning for her to heal nicely alongside William's wheelchair. He participated in the training by dropping her a little treat at precisely the right moment to reinforce desired behavior. She is doing well so far, but it is a long painstaking time before a puppy matures and graduates into a reliable companion/service dog. Excessive barking is also hard to correct, but very possible. Besides trainers in person, there are excellent teaching videos on the internet.
At Christmas time, one often reflects on gifts, those most treasured from past and present. The gift of a loving, supportive family towards all of its human members, loyalty to each other through all obstacles is the greatest gift of all. A well-trained companion dog who gives unlimited love and emotional support to her favorite people may be the second greatest gift of all. Bama is well on her way to fulfilling this very gratifying outcome for her very special and inspirational family.