Giant Schnoodles of Joy
The Joy of Healing with Dogs
I bred, showed, trained and sledded samoyeds in the 60's. In later years I bred & raised standard poodles.I also bred, trained and showed quarter horses. I also excercised trotters and pacers at the track. Women weren't allowed to race in those days. In more recent days I bred and raised standard poodles. In 1996 I developed Reiter's syndrome which was so painful that I found myself using a wheelchair most of the time to keep up the pace of my life. I did not, however choose to use an electric scooter because that, for me, would have been a commitment to not walking and I have always had a commitment to walking again. The dogs are my healers and my teachers. I will post more stories about that, if people are interested. I will tell you the short version. If you would like to share what dogs mean to you. Click on the Doggy Forum.
After a particularly grueling business trip where the wheelchair attendant had left me at "his border" while I was trying to make plane connection, and no promised new attendant "picked me up", I finally made it home. I sat in the wheelchair with Terra, my standard poodle's leash in my hand. I was thinking, "I am a powerful woman, CEO and founder of my own business, an independent woman. I just do not see my life, even temporarily, as waiting around for people to "push" me around." So I sat in the chair, with my standard poodle, Terra's leash in my hand thinking how was I going to make my life work. Suddenly Terra turned and said, almost in words "Hang on Joy, I'll show you how your going to solve this problem!" And she took off pulling me by the leash. So Terra and I trained each other and she became my service dog. She pulled my wheelchair, went to restaurants, traveled with me. As long as I had my dog, I could do anything an able body person could do. I just did it in a slightly altered way. We became a team. As time went on and Terra got older and I felt she would be ready to retire, I got a Giant Schnauzer rescue, Zeus. I trained him to become my replacement service dog. Zeus would put his head on my chest and look up into my eyes, just before a painful episode would come on. If I listened to him, I could often avoid the painful episode. If I didn't, the pain would debilitate me. I think to any illness, there is a psychological and a physiological component. I couldn't do anything about the physiological condition that entered my body but I was going to do whatever it took to heal my psyche so that there would be no psychological component of my condition. People can become attached to their illness. There are perks that people become attached to. I had to ask myself some soul searing questions like: How is my illness serving me? I felt like the only thing I liked about the wheelchair was my dog pulling me. I could not allow this perk to get in the way of my healing. So I took up dog carting. Zeus was a fabulous carting dog. I learned to drive Zeus and Terra together as a team. I was working at physical therapy, going to doctors. I was determined to get well. During those dreadful days around 9/11/01, I lost both my precious dogs in unrelated incidence and was devastated. Not only did I lose my family and the dogs that I loved. I also lost my mobility and my independence. There is no description of the pain on both counts. I seriously considered suicide at that point. But then I thought if I was going to die, I might as well do something I had never done because I was afraid of death. Like sky diving. I planned to make an appointment to sky dive. But, I was so depressed that I never seemed to have the energy to make the appointment. Some part of me knew that I had to regain my psychological balance before making such a non reversible decision. Survival is an instinct that keeps us going and I guess life has to go on.
Karma, my standard poodle, was just 8 months old. I said, "your it baby! We have to go to Canada in 4 months and you are going to become a service dog. We trained every day for 4 months. I never start a dog until they are 2 years old. Here I was training an 8-month-old puppy. It was ridiculous, but I did it anyway. The morning we were to leave, I didn't know if she would pull the chair, I just hooked her up and said pull. She put her tail in the air, and trotted through the airport. She did 3-hour downstays in restaurants, focused on command and behaved like a professional service dog. She was 1 year old. Everyone fell in love with her and she insisted that I continue her training sessions 8:00PM every evening. If I was lying down, she would stand on top of me, put her face into mine and bark, "training time. Training time". Sometimes you live for yourself, sometimes you live for your loved ones and sometime your dog keeps you alive. Terra taught me how to function. Karma taught me I had to go on living.
Soon I felt like in order to heal myself, I had to rid
myself of things that made me feel like a sick person or put me in the
role of a disabled person. I needed to remove negativity from my life
and only allow positive people and experiences. I felt like going to
the hospital for physical therapy was making me feel like a sick person
and the people there were adding a lot of negative energy to my life.
So I searched deep within myself and asked myself what would heal me.
I had researched the web for anything about my condition. There was
some research but not much about how to cure it. The doctors didn't
know much. I didn't know much, but I searched deeply for the few things
that I did know. I knew this. What heals me is music, dance and dogs.
Hmm. It took awhile to figure it out, but I started dancing with Karma.
She loved it and I could feel my body healing. I later learned it is
an organized sport. I got tapes and went to web sites and learned that
my doggy dancing is actually called canine freestyle. I do poodle rescue
for the county of San Diego. I rescued Tara; a tiny little red mini
poodle rescue came into my life. She is a natural dancer, a real ham
with lots of attitude. So now we have a bit of a show, and I seldom
use the wheelchair. I also know that at any time, I could, once again
need a wheelchair and only with a good, well trained dog, could I be
independent and keep up the frantic pace of my life. So I must keep
a dog trained and ready at all times. I also love dog carting and Karma
does not do well in the heat. I was going to get a labradoodle, or a
golden doodle. I almost imported a bitch in whelp from Australia. But
research showed that the poodle, the lab and the golden have difficulty
working in the heat of southern California. This is very important,
because a person who depends on a dog is restricted to the limits of
what the dog is able to do. I don't accept limits in my life. Again
I went deep inside of myself for the, answers. It became very clear.
What I need and what probably many other people need and want, is a
non shedding, hypoallergenic dog that can pull a cart, do agility, pull
a wheelchair, be a service dog or a family pet, but with the poodle
trainability and the Giant Schnauzer's energy, durability and heat resistance.
The answer became obvious. We need a hybrid between a standard poodle
and a Giant Schnauzer. The plan was born. Now the puppies areborn. I
can hardly wait to see them grow!
|If you are interested in a Giant Schnoodle. Contact Joy at her email: CaringPro@Yahoo.com|