I was 19, he was 10 weeks old and the last puppy left in the litter. It was love at first sight. I named him Jake on the ride home, little did I know that Jake would change my whole life. Jake was unruly for a short time, while tearing shingles off of the side of my house, knocking eggs off the counter, ripping newly laid astroturf off my sundeck and a notorious hole digger.
The thought of owning a dog that did not listen to me bugged me. I enrolled Jake in an obedience class for $88.00. I sent him off to school and when I got him back he was not any different. I went back to the training school and learned some of what was taught to Jake. I guess Jake and I were good students, we won a $1000.00 scholarship to their training school.
The school started a traveling entertainment show called “The Wonder Dog Show” featuring the best trained dogs and owners. Jake and I were the main men in the program. We traveled near and far. Jake stole the show and eventually the “Wonder Dog” name too.
Jake helped me secure my first commercial loan to purchase a boarding facility called Canyon Crest Kennels. I took Jake to the Washington Plaza Bank Building up to the eighth floor. I had to convince the loan officer that we meant serious business. After demonstrating Jake’s obedience skills we secured the loan. Jake and I were very busy with our new acquired business for years to come. Demonstrating at grade schools, retirement homes, police work, tracking the lost and performing agility.
Onlookers were always amazed at Jake’s many talents like weaving through my legs, jumping over my back, crawling backwards and beam walking. Jake made many TV appearances and newspaper stories. He was my aid and my partner in business. It was pretty much a guarantee that when I demonstrated Jake to a prospective customer they would usually say they want an obedient dog just like Jake. Then Jake and I would sign them up for training. Jake definitely brought us good fortune.
I was given the gift of communicating with dogs and I often wonder what would have happen if I would have selected another dog. I might not have discovered that passion and gift I had to work with dogs. Jake will remain in our hearts forever. He brought a lot of joy to me and my family and to so many others. Jake — he was a great friend and truly a “Wonder Dog”.