Ode to a blue dog

An ode to the blue dog who started it all.

He was the first one to teach me the joy in a behavioral challenge. The first one to teach me that a dog who throws off your expectations can sometimes be the best thing that can happen to you. He was the dog that first pushed me to be better, to learn more, to expand everything I thought I knew about dog training. He was the one who made training unbelievably fun. He was the dog who made me want to teach others. He was the dog who made me want to be a dog trainer. He’s the reason I’m where I am today. He’s the reason I can be the person and trainer that his little brother, Oz, needs me to be.

He was my whole heart for many years, but he stepped aside gracefully when a certain red dog came busting in, and I can’t thank him enough for it. He knew what I needed, knew what Oz needed, knew that Oz and I were meant to be, and didn’t hold that against me. And for that I will always be grateful, and I will always make sure he knows that he’ll never be forgotten. That he’ll always be my best blue boy.

He loves with his whole heart and wears every emotion boldly in his crazy mis-matched eyes. He’s the dog that will kiss away my tears until I can’t help but laugh. He’s the dog that showed me the deepest need for trust. Trust that we have each other’s backs walking the streets in Brooklyn or that he’s eventually going to come back from that deer hunt in the woods, even if it takes 45 minutes (or 3 hours). He’s the dog who will fly across the world for me. He’s the dog is deeply brilliant, who can learn anything, and is up for anything. He’s the dog who can make me laugh in any situation. He’s the dog who howls with his whole soul when we hear sirens. He’s the dog I can never thank enough. And I hope he knows it.

He’s taught me endlessly about dog training, agility, and finding that creative solution, but he’s taught me so much more. He’s taught me the joy in a summertime swim. The delight in a secret piece of waffle or french fry. The strangeness in a firework. The beauty in a rainy day. The excitement of a snowflake or fallen leaf. He’s taught me that sometimes you have to push for something you need, even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. That sometimes you just gotta chase that deer, steal that tunnel, pee in that fancy garden, roll in that bear shit like nobody’s watching. He’s helped me be the person I am today.

And as I reflect on his first 5 years of life, full of the unexpected, I know the world is still at our fingertips. The possibilities are still endless for my two best boys. And while I can imagine a million different directions the next (let’s go for 20?) years will take us, but there’s one thing I know for sure. Razzle will always be the best blue dog that’ll ever be.

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Bronagh Daly