Helping to Heal a Troubled Heart


Everything that we experience in life has unexpected lessons attached to it.   When border collie Kip came into my life, he was wild, confused, detached and aggressive.  My husband wanted to get our next dog from a rescue group and the timing seemed right.  I’ve had border collies for nearly twenty years and wished to have yet another one.   There was something about Kip that attracted both of us.  So…we decided to give him a new home.    What a WILD ride awaited us!…


I will be honest here and say that there were times in the beginning when I wondered what in the world we had done.  Kip had been a stray.  He was bone skinny, reeked of skunk spray and had no interest in being a part of any group, especially a human one.  He was horrified of cars, moving or not, and was torn between running from them or chasing them. Inside the house, he was on a mission to destroy everyting from the inside out.  He lunged at anything that moved and tried to control this movement with his teeth.


Kip’s body told of a sad history.  He is missing an ear, torn clean off in an apparent attack at some point in his past.  There is a notch out of the “good” ear and scar tissue all down the back of his neck under his fluffy white ruff.  Clearly he had been in a great battle at some point early in his life and likely was not the victor.  The physical scars were easy to see at a glance, but the emotional scars were more lasting and much more difficult to deal with.   Indeed I had a challenge ahead of me.   But this challenge taught me not only some new techniques in dealing with dogs, but also a special empathy for those dog owners out there who desperately wish to improve behaviors in their own dogs.

Over time, with daily practice, training and loads of patience, Kip slowly began to evolve into a more and more balanced dog.  His tantrums were further and further apart, gradually decreasing in intensity.  In time, they were gone altogether as if melted away with a late spring snow.   His eyes are now soft and loving.   His spirit has found a more peaceful way of being.  It has been a long, tough journey that he and I have traveled together.   I wouldn’t change a day of it.


(Above)  Kip looking alert and happy.    He has blossomed into a wonderfully sweet and good natured boy.

(Below) Kip relaxes in the cool shade under the deck.  His mind and spirit are calm, relaxed and trusting.


Dogs, much like people never stop growing and changing.  Today for the first time Kip joined Wager and I on a behavior call to help out a dog in need.   This dog struggles to get along with those of her own species.  There was a day when Kip was like that.   Today he has reminded me of what is possible when love meets knowledge, patience and correct practice.   It was a magical day for my Kippy;  a day in which he said “thank you” to me for our work together.   I am proud to have been a part of his healing process.

…Thank you little fellow for needing me so and for the gift of insight that you have given to me.  What a wonderful little teacher you are.