I know I haven't been around here much at all but I felt I needed to let you all know I had to let Risa go almost 2 weeks ago. I did everything I could to keep her happy but, in the end, my options ran out.
She was my heart and I miss her but I also know she had a great, long life and we had a ton of great adventures together. I'm finding myself looking back on all the wonderful memories we shared rather than simply missing her. She was such a part of me; I knew her intimately.
She was my first dog and taught me so much. She was a teacher dog. Here to instruct me not just in dog training but in life.
She was fearful and dog reactive and I wanted to do dog sports with her. I thought I knew all about dog training but I soon found out how little I knew. I had to know more to make her life less scary. She frustrated me (and I her) but I wasn't going to give up.
We miraculously found clicker training. I read everything I could to try and help her learn to cope with the world. She eventually did get into dog sports and excelled at canine freestyle. Lure coursing was her favorite and she also competed in rally, Rally-FrEe, and obedience. We attempted herding, barn hunt, and nosework as well. She was so much fun to train and an absolute ham. It was never easy to trial with her but always worth it. People would comment on how happy she looked in the ring. . .even if her performances were far from perfect.
She overcame several health issues as well. She struggled with gastrointestinal problems her entire life. She had a mammary carcinoma removed when she was 9 and she slipped a disc in her back at 12. She recovered from everything and retired from competition at 13.5 years of age.
She walked through the Beartooth Mountains and swam in Long Island Sound. She participated in a demo at Clicker Expo. She appeared in the newspaper and on the news. Several dog training books and DVDs feature my mystery mutt.
It wasn't just about helping me either. She helped raise several foster dogs. She helped raise my puppy, Kyu. She helped me along the path to becoming a dog trainer (if only part-time) where I share the knowledge I learned from a lifetime with her.
I was able to dance with her one last time at our local freestyle competition in August among friends. You can tell she knew what she was there to do despite not having practiced or trained in months.
Love you always, my heart. My Smiley Face Dog. My Awesome Dog. Run free, my friend.
I'm so terribly sorry to hear that your gentle girl has passed away. Risa was unique and regal in her own way and your true heart dog. The two of you accomplished so much together through your teamwork. Risa will always be dearly remembered. RIP sweet angel.
Sean - 1998/2014 If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart I'll stay there forever. Carleton DOB unknown Neely - 2003/2015 Gizmo -2008/2011 Neeko -1991/2005
I'm so sorry to hear about Risa's passing. I know you worked so hard with her and I very much enjoyed all of the videos you posted of the two of you doing your routines. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with her with us.
Bentley...the light that brought me out of the darkness.
Jamie I saw this on FB, but I was hoping you would come here and post. It was your life and story with Risa to share not mine. You tow had a great life and story together, it shows with finding the right key to understanding your dog and perseverance many good things can be accomplished. You have so many good memories about your life with Risa.
I am so glad that you have Kyu, he will keep you smiling and moving.
Run Free and Dance Away Risa.
Val da Tiger
Fuzzybutt the cat. Neilla the Big White puppy.
RIP Cheyenne - AKA: Digger, CheyChey Girl, Cheyenne Large and In charge. 2/16/02 - 2/27/16 RIP Raya - AKA: Raz-a, Ray a Sunshine, RayBestos, the little one, Silly Girl. 9/21/05 - 6/27/14 RIP Lakota - AKA: Bubba, Big Boy, BooBoo (the other part of the Binky and BooBoo team). 1/19/03-9/19/2011 RIP DeeDee - AKA: DD Poo, Little Bit, Binky (part of the Binky and Booboo team) 6/23/02-6/20/11
Jamie, Risa always brightened my day. The two of you were so much fun to watch - not to diminish your outstanding success but for me it was above that the joy you had in each other that shown. Thanks for giving us the full story.
Jamie, I know we connect on Facebook but I wanted to share my condolences here too. Risa was a great dog, she had a great life. I think you two were meant for each other. Your tribute to her is beautiful, as was she and as are you.
Jamie, I’m so sorry to hear about Risa. I’m grateful that I got to meet SmileyGirl. Such a wonderful dog, a beautiful relationship. I’m wishing you strength. My deepest compassion and well-wishes to you and Kyu.
Patti Frauchen von:
Grimm van den Heuvel, "Donnerpratzen" Smokey The TeddyLion, DLH purrbuddy