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Little baby 5 month old Zora the first week we had her.

Today on our walk as I easily called Zora to heel off leash as an off leash dog up ahead about 30′ away stared us down, I said to my friend, “A year ago I never would have let myself dream this would be today.”

My oh my how much has changed in a year.  My oh my how much we’ve grown.

A year ago I never would have had her off-leash in this area.  A year ago 200+ feet ahead when she noticed that dog I would have had a barking freaked out corgi.  A year ago the moment I realized that dog was up ahead, we would have been turning around to walk away.  A year ago I would have been shoving steak in her mouth as we walked away.  A year ago I would have spent 5 minutes recollecting her and practicing relationship games once we were out of sight of that dog before resuming our walk.  A year ago, I really really really had to work to make sure I ‘had a dog’ on our walks.

Today, I was reminded once again why all that elbow grease is worth it.  Today I had a dog.  The entire walk.  Off leash.  With an unknown dog 30′ ahead staring us down.

Every walk for the past 6wks I’ve had a dog.  The entire walk.  With numerous distractions.  In numerous settings.  On and off leash.  Passing other walkers and hikers and dogs and bikes.  And it’s been glorious.

A year ago, I didn’t let myself dream this would be today.  A year ago, I made myself focus on the today.  The dog I had right then and there.  Who and what she needed right then and there.

Zora is 2.5 yrs old this month.

Amazing how much happens in just 2 short years.  All those times you find yourself thinking, “will this ever get better?” or “I just wish she could….now, today!” and you get back to training it and building relationship and practice.  Yes, it gets better.

Sometimes I find myself in awe of what she can do now.

How much she trusts me.

How much I can now trust her with.

How many times she lets me know, “hey it’s ok, I got this.” where as just a few months ago she would have wanted and needed my help.

Reminds me time and again how much I love this little dog.  How glad we are she came into our lives 2 years ago.

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Zora with her little cute face resting on her dog bed.

Note: with the unknown staring dog, when we stopped, it turned around and ran to find its owner.  If it hadn’t, we would have waited or turned and walked away.  No sense moving closer to a predator.

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