Last updated: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 16:34:57
It is now Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:43:17
Copyright © 2005 by Karla McCoy. Used with permission. All other rights reserved.
Fairfax gives Karla a kiss
Photo from Karla's collection
Years ago, I joined an aggressive behavior training list via the Internet. It was one of the first ones out there, run by a few good people who knew that aggression was mostly generated from fear. I remember writing a response to someone and got a private reply from a person complimenting me on my views. It was a warm offering of support, yet there was definitely a genuine appreciation for my knowledge and my opinion.
That was the first of many emails back and forth between this woman and me. She became a dear Internet friend and one I could count on to back me on the "big Labrador List" when I gave advice to those still broadcasting the dominance theory. She and I often backed each other up, when the unbelievable advice would start in about dog behavior from those who knew too little to be giving it out. We would eventually, throw up our hands and decide, they would come around as we did, when the time was right.
Little by little, we began emailing back and forth, getting to know each other from more than just a "dog behavior" aspect. We started chatting about our dogs, the shows we were frequenting and about our beloved breed, the Labrador Retriever. She is one of those rare women who not only knows what the outside of a dog should look like, but knows how to bring out the best in those dogs, from a behavioral point of view. I had always told myself, one of these days, I'd be graced with one of her dogs.
As it would come about, she bred her bitch, Ch Graemoor Columbine, or "Winnie," as her friends know her. I had never met Winnie but knowing her through my extensive talks with Kate, knew that any of her puppies would grow up to be wonderful dogs. Just being a "Winnie" puppy was starting life out with a huge PLUS, but beginning life with Kate, would be that added bonus that few people have a chance to experience in a dog.
I had always joked with Kate and told her I'd only take a yellow male puppy. Kate's response was, when Winnie had a yellow male puppy, she'd know who he belonged to. April Fool's Day, 2002, presented a little yellow guy into this world. As chance would have it, he was the only yellow puppy that survived in an otherwise all-black litter.-.so here he was, a yellow spot in the midst of a sea of black. He stood out then, as he does now. Kate emailed me to tell me the news and the second I read it, I knew he would share his life with me.
Through the weeks that followed, all of the issues that would keep this boy from coming home with me disappeared, from my husband relenting to Kate choosing to keep a black male puppy. So, when the plans were all made, I drove half way across the country to meet this dear friend of mine and to welcome HighGarth Fairfax into my life. Kate still says, she knew just as I did, he was meant for me. The only surprise I had that weekend, was meeting Conrad, Kate’s husband. He is just as dear as she is. The rest of the weekend was expected, as the occasion was delightful, just as I had anticipated it would be.
As Fairfax, or Fax as we call him, has grown up in my household, I’ve learned a new appreciation for my dear friend. She is never judgmental nor condescending but gently listens to my tales and adventures or my worries and concerns, offering kind but knowing advice. We’ve become very close friends or even sisters and talk about dogs for hours, yet it isn’t just about the behavior or the body of the dog any longer. Through these frequent telephone discussions, I’ve learned that Kate has a great ability to use her intuition, something I’ve helped her shape, I’m proud to say. She sees the souls of the dogs and the true beings that they are. Just one more amazing aspect of her that I am getting to know.
I cherish this friendship above many. Kate has had a huge and profound impact on my life and I know, as we continue on our paths, they may be ever-changing, but we will always share that special bond - through our incredible dogs.
Karla McCoy, of AnimalTell is an Animal Communicator, Canine Behavior Consultant and Animal Behavior Specialist. Karla kindly contributed this article on short notice, as we worked to put this site together as a Holiday Surprise gift for Kate.
WebWeaver CoDog Carol's note: I can't imagine any more fitting tribute to Kate and her dogs than this delightful article. Thank you so much, Karla!
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