In Memory of Trevor-A Beginning

I proudly stood by his side and looked into his big brown eyes, stroked his soft, blond hair and saw his love for me mirrored in his eyes. He alone shared this moment with me, a culmination of months of training. He was my dog; a Golden Retriever named Trevor, my first competition obedience dog. This moment was our first entry into an American Kennel Club obedience trial.
When puppies are young new dog owners fantasize about the ribbons, trophies and pictures that will one day cover the walls. We picture people congratulating us as we leave the obedience ring with the Highest Scoring Dog in Trial ribbon. Then the dream fades to the little bundle of energy pulling and eating at the leather leash, which is wrapped around your legs. Trevor was already a year old when the breeder in New Hampshire had to give him up. He wasn’t show quality. An early eye exam showed the beginning of cataracts. He wasn’t breeding stock but I had fallen in love with him one day at a Massachusetts Golden Retriever training show. I already had his sister, Brenda, my first Golden Retriever. The breeder called me after the results of the eye exam and asked me if I wanted Trevor. Little did I know that this genetic problem which can plague purebred dog owners would give me a chance to learn about obedience training and showing. Trevor and Brenda and I moved to Oregon in 1978. We found Dave Elizares of Elizares Kennels in Boring who believed that anyone could train a dog to win. The training began in earnest. It required hours spent in the rain, sun, early in the day or late evenings, paying attention to every detail, never accepting second best from the dog, but always having patience. It was Olympic training for the ordinary dog and dog owner. Trevor heeled by my side, watching my footwork. If I moved my left foot he would trot beside me. If I moved my right foot he stayed put. A wave of my hand and Trevor would leap into heel position. We suffered setbacks when he would anticipate a command, so thrilled that he had learned something that he wouldn’t wait for me to tell him what was expected of him. The seasons passed and Trevor and I gave demonstrations with other Elizares’ students at area malls and dog shows. The crowd clapped when my big Golden wagged his tail and sat perfectly in front of me. I was blessed to be with this beautiful, intelligent animal and loved the attention he brought me. We went on to win ribbons, trophies, Highest Scoring Dog in Trial, even traveling to Canada to obtain titles there and competed in 1980 in what was called the Gaines Regional and National Obedience competitions. This willing animal gave me everything I asked of him. It wasn’t until years later that I realized what a gift he was. Animal trainers know there are once in a lifetime animals that we are able to communicate with at a higher level. They learn effortlessly and help us to achieve our human goals. But in the end we are the ones who learn from this gift we are given. The gift is a memory of all the time spent together, the hours spent driving to shows, walking at Wilsonville Park or Champoeg Park. Nether of us spoke the other’s language but we communicated nonetheless. There will never be another Trevor but my goals for my future dogs will always be raised. We did it, boy. Exercise finished.

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3 thoughts on “In Memory of Trevor-A Beginning

  1. Claudia, I came to the beginning because that is what I like to do. I like to see how deep the roots of a blog go. I remember back to my first post and the excitement that hitting submit for the first time provided. Today is 11/4/15 and I just read Jon’s piece about your Hero’s Journey. He did a similar piece for me a few years ago and it changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. It opened my world wide and gave me a voice. I share that voice in the simple pieces, but they are my pieces and on my terms. Sometimes I pause briefly, but I do it. I don’t say “someday” as much as I used to. Today is a good day for just about anything. P.S. Your writing is crisp, clear and easy to read. Well done! Best of luck to you as you move forward. Raining Iguanas. John with an H.

  2. John, I was overwhelmed last night when I read Jon’s post. Suddenly people are reading my posts. It’s exciting and wonderful and scary yet I want to write more and more and more. How do I thank Jon? It kept me awake last night. I think the answer is to step forward into the world he has given us.
    Thank you for your words. We are no longer a single voice in the forest.

  3. I have tried to thank Jon for years. The best thanks you can give him is to “Follow Your Bliss.” He will rejoice if you do. Pass it on…

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