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This amazing journey has been made possible by the dogs in my life, as they helped me on the way. They rewarded me when I got it right and helped me when I got it wrong. Some of these may have gone from my arms but they will always be in my heart.
If you've seen any of my books you will know I have had many dogs in my life and remember all of them with the deepest affection but the dogs featured here are the ones that contributed to my discovery of Amichien Bonding.
THE ORIGINAL AMICHIEN® PACK
Left to right: Jen, Molly, Chaser, Daisy, Jake, Sadie, Sasha and Barmie.
THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE
My beautiful black German Shepherd (left). She was a proud and intelligent girl who's generous nature made me appreciate how kind dogs really are (Sadie is on the right at 6 months old).
The watcher and carer, who proved to be a very special girl, so loyal and kind.
The Jack Russell who was to be put down for aggression until I took him home. It took me a few weeks to convince him that he had nothing to fear and that he really could trust me. We shared 7 magical years.
Who just loved a cuddle and was so good at commando roles. He always cheated on the agility course but we pretended not to notice.
With the most laid back personality I have ever seen in a dog. She had a wonderful sense of fun!
Jen the little lady with the real attitude and a brilliant way of getting all visitors to fuss her, simply standing quietly in front of them until the unconscious petting started.
A proper "stealth" dog.
Came into our family at 6 years old. She had so many problems both physical and behavioural that she seemed an impossible case. Bear reminded me that patience is paramount and with it, any hurdle can be overcome.
As a family, we celebrate the 15 years of her life, the last 7 of which were spent in "retirement" with my daughter, Ellie, in Cardiff. As one of Ellie's daughters is called Ceri, confusion reigned until Kerry's affectionate nickname of "Mutley" became the norm. Mutley could be so stubborn but also loving and patient, reminding us so strongly of her g-g-g-g-g-g grandmother, Donna. Mutley was also a duchess in every way.
Kerry and Ellie in their favourite place.
Sweep spent 11 very happy years with my Goddaughter, who selflessly allowed him to retire with us. Sweep's deafness meant he couldn't cope without company any longer and so Rio became his constant companion. Sweep was very easy to love and endearing in just about every way you could think of.
Although not strictly one of mine, Tony's dog, Kez, used to "winter" with us in the UK and was one of the most placid and good natured dogs you could hope to meet as well as being over six feet tall!
Who had no idea what was going on but always wanted to join in anyway. The joker in the pack!
Kamatz was also one of the most vocal dogs I've ever known, always anxious to discuss anything and everything!
Kamatz's sister, smart and sensitive with a passion for having her tummy rubbed.
Shammok has a lovely and chilling line in "howl" and I'm not sure she's ever learned to bark!
Zac, unlike his sister Zoe, is a walking disaster area and has the most impressive knack of opening any door, even one with a bolt across. He vibrates the bolts loose and then the handle is simply a breeze. His motto seems to be “it wasn’t me”. The trouble is…it usually was!
My gorgeous girl, so strong, so elegant and always "rent a friend" to any dog that needs one.
Zoe is a pleasure to be around and has so much "joie de vivre" that it's infectious.
Her love of life, shown with her "circuits of joy" when out for a walk, to her gentle and calm manner in and around the house and garden, makes her such a joy to live with. Imagine "happy" but on steroids!
Tony's dog Pru, (with her father Kez until recently) "holidays" here in the UK. Although she is getting a little slower these days, she still tries to join in. However, she still manages to give the impression that she has an imperious disregard for whatever is happening around her!
I am so very grateful to all the dogs who have been part of my life for both the education they have patiently given me and for the pure joy they have brought to my life!
A note: All of my dogs, past, present and, I'm sure, those to come, bring something very different to me and each one is completely unique in character. This is something that anyone who has had many dogs will understand and despite my having many dogs from the same breeds, I do not see any consistant character traits amongst any of them, anymore than I do in my children, who share the same gene pool. For this reason I do not advise anyone to select a dog based on "breed temperement" because there is no such thing. I believe this falacy is still rife because people who are exposed mainly to one breed, see characteristics in those dogs they like and admire and so assume they are unique to that breed (they aren't, but they are unique to pack animals). This is particulalry true where exposure to other breeds is minimal. and let's face it, once we've made our choice about which breed we love, it's not difficult to believe it when undesirable traits are attributed to other breeds that we have no affinity with...is it?