Former foster Boris the Bachelor (now Radar!) always gets so excited when he sees the camera. Or a person.
Back when I first adopted Miss M, I felt a bit alone.
Miss M was the first dog I had on my own as an adult, and I always doubted my ability to care for her. I didn't know what to do when she scraped the skin off her paw pads after running too much. I didn't know what to do when she wouldn't go outside in the snow. And I really didn't know what to do when she would get excited on walks and try to play tug-of-war with the leash.
I didn't have friends in the city who owned dogs, and even though we had a lot of training classes I was usually too embarrassed to ask questions, or if these were even the types of things they could help me with.
I wasn't really sure where to find people like me.
Flash-forward a few years and I feel so lucky that our online community became a real-life community.
We love how our walking group is not only a way to socialize our pups while exploring the city, but it has also become a way to connect with other dog owners.
In a single walk I might talk about the best place to board for the weekend, what people have been using to keep their pups' feet safe from salt and ice, how long and how often they've been walking their dogs in the winter. Among other non-dog-based conversations.
I think our mentor group HikeaBulls said it best that it is an 'Owner helping Owner' group.
Most of us have been in the same situation, and we don't judge. We are always a work in progress, but we are all getting up early on weekend mornings to walk with our dogs.
We all have different trainers and/or behaviorists we work with outside of the group, though our group doesn't align with a specific trainer or have trainers as part of the group. The space on our walks is limited and it's important for us to provide the spaces to dog owners who don't have the resources and can benefit from a social dog community. I also think it would change the dynamic of the group having a dog trainer walking among us, even if they were just there with their own pup.
I keep thinking it would be like training for the marathon and going on a fun run with a personal trainer as part of the group; it would make me a bit uncomfortable as if they were critiquing my form and knowledge (even if they weren't). So we just stick to Owners helping Owners.
I feel really lucky that we do have such a great in-person community. Though I know a lot of fellow dog owners who don't have this same resource.
What are some other ways you connect with like-minded dog owners?