From the Desk of Linda Tellington-Jones

Sharing the Den

Brigitte Heyer lives in Australia and did her first TTEAM training with me in Germany more than 25 years ago.

Even over all the years in between when Brigitte and I were not in touch, I have treasured a gift from her: a handmade tile depicting a rearing horse. I think of her every day when I look at it in my kitchen. Brigitte, like all of you out there, have been a part of my life all these years.

I’d like to share with you some words Brigitte wrote to me recently about the role of animals in her life.

From smells to cells, or from the exterior to the interior.

I have no doubt that animals can be highly intelligent, yet Bagheera taught me something about dog intelligence that really humbled me.

During Rahni’s first two months with us, I had her on a running lead outside the horse yard while feeding the steeds so both dogs could be near me and watch. I wanted to make sure the cat was safe and Rahni would not find a kangaroo hole under the fence while I was not watching. To my surprise I found both dogs side by side looking on through the yard fence, and Rahni was free. Bagheera had chewed through the loop at the lead through which the running rope was fed! Well I had some more leads, and this to me was just an accident. But Baghee, who never chews anything other than bones, repeated the feat three days running. It took this long until the penny dropped for me!

Addressing him like a young child, I said to Bagheera, “look, she doesn’t mind being on that lead for ten minutes, and then she is let off again anyway. Leave the leads alone, please.”

I trusted that he got the gist even if he didn’t understand all the words. I had one more lead, and no more incidents occurred for a few weeks. Then it happened again! This time I bought a short length of a lightweight chain to clip onto Rahni’s collar and loop the synthetic rope through the last link on the other end. Guess what happened – Bagheera chewed through the running line! If anyone says dogs are dumb, I reckon some dogs have a higher IQ than some people. Luckily, Rahni has settled in so well that she can now run free while I am tending the horses – but what a lesson it was!

Cat Stevens put it in words: ”I love my dog as much as I love you” and “Come on baby, wash that dog”… Pets are wonderful family members. Just like humans, they make you laugh, they make you cry, they irritate the hell out of you and move you to tears, you worry about them and your heart overflows with love when you see them innocently asleep. They may stretch your budget and sometimes your patience, but they can also lower your blood pressure. They are unconditionally loving, no matter what sort of a sod you are – match that. I would not be without them.

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