Friday, April 13, 2012

My Sweet Joey

Today my sweet Joey passed away at 17 years of age.

My family and I adopted Joey when he was 1 year old from L.I.F.E. Animal Rescue.  At the time I was 11 and I had just begun volunteering for the rescue two weeks before this beautiful dog showed up.  I had never had a dog and at the time my parents were reluctant to take one on, but I so desperately wanted a canine pal that I had decided to spend my Saturdays with the rescue to fulfill my dream of working with dogs.  Joey had actually been at the rescue about 6 month prior and was adopted by a family who decided that they could not keep him due to the mother's allergies.  When we decided to adopt Joey the previous family informed me that he would bolt out the door whenever it opened, and that he was very difficult to train.  I didn't care; I was in love.

Joey taught me invaluable lessons about working with dogs and the amazing relationship that can exist between a human and a canine.  He was wonderful at understanding what I wanted and was forgiving when I made mistakes.  I researched as much as I could about training and tried so many different methods, and Joey was patient as I found my way to positive reinforcement training.

 Joey was everything I could have wanted in a dog: he loved doing tricks, going new places, visiting my horse, trying new things, and having fun with me.

He was the first dog I ever did agility with, although he decided after awhile that it wasn't his thing.  

Joey always helped me train new dogs that came into the house, including foster dogs and new dogs that permanently joined our family.

When I started officially working as a trainer, Joey was my first demonstration dog.  He adapted well to any new situation, animal, or person, although he occasionally gave me attitude about what he would rather be doing.

He was a brilliant little dog, always quick to learn new things.

Joey was always excited to do something new, and at 13 years old he finally did a herding instinct test!  

It took a long time for Joey to begin to show his age.  He was always young at heart, and aged with dignity.

I am so lucky to have had Joey in my life, and so thankful for all of the things he taught me and the wonderful times we had together.  A truly great friend, Joey will always be in my heart.
I love you Jo Man.

The Rainbow Bridge Poem

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown... 

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