Very early on Monday, February 27th I said goodbye to my best friend and companion Van Wilder, after losing his sister Lucy Lou five months earlier. I don’t think I can adequately put into words how it feels to be living without these two… they were my soul and spirit and life was infinitely better with them in it.

Van entered my life as a seven week old precocious puppy. I remember when he unpotted a house plant, ate a bra, and chewed my shoes.  But I also remember our countless hikes in the foothills, camping trips and swimming adventures. I never needed a knight in shinning armor because I had Van.

Lou came into my life six months later, as an eleven week old puppy that could not have been more different than her half brother. She was wild, opinionated and as sassy as they come. I remember Lou jumping four feet onto of my counter, getting on top of my fridge and chewing open and eating a dozen cans of dog food. Lou, single pawed, taught me the value of management.

Van and Lou inspired me to be a better human and a better dog trainer. My first training attempts with Van involved a head halter, leash corrections and minimal food or toy motivation. The look in his eyes when I overcorrected him really hit a nerve; I have been striving to learn as much as possible ever since.

In the end, I helped Van and Lou leave this world. They were in pain and I was able to make the decision to end that pain. Although I don’t regret the decisions, it does weight heavy on my heart and mind.

Please honor the memory of these two special dogs by being more compassionate today than you were yesterday and always striving to become the person your dog already believes you to be.