As a teenager, my parents kept telling me to get lost, but the dogs kept bringing me home. Multiple times, I ran away from my mother and hid in the woods. Sometimes I would climb trees or cross a stream, trying to mix up the trail. I’d tuck myself under rotting logs, bury myself in leaves but always, always the dogs would find me. I guess it was all the training Mom gave them. She was a volunteer search and rescue dog trainer, certified to find lost victims in wilderness searches, disaster sites, after an avalanche. Her dogs were cross-trained to find articles and evidence of homicide too.
It was a great thing, growing up the daughter of Rita Comden, learning to read dog body language and trust that the dogs knew their job. “Believe your dog,” was her mantra.
I find, the older I get, the more I’m like her. She had good sense. She was practical. Frugal. Honest. Intense. She worked hard and expected the same from her kids and her dogs. She also had the very best laugh and a fantastic, wry sense of humor, bordering on the morbid at times, which served her well especially while she fought and lost her battle with cancer. I miss her.
I dedicate these pages to her. I hope that the stories I have to tell here will inspire others to live their best lives and to face adversity with humor and perseverance. The dogs seem to have all the secrets to staying in the moment, enjoying the time we have. When woof happens, wag your tail.
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