Tuesday, November 15, 2011


In the spring of 2006 I was in flight school in Milton, FL. At this time I found out that I would be moving to North Bend, OR for my first four years as an active duty Search and Rescue Pilot. I was extremely excited about this because I grew up in Montana and my home is only a 14 hour drive from there so it would be easy to see my family. My parents decided they wanted to see where my new home would be and spend some time around Oregon so they drove down and did some research for me, which actually consisted of mostly tasting seafood. Needless to say I had been looking at labrador breeders in the area and my parents were more than willing to visit one of them because of course no sane person can refuse playing with puppies. So lets jump forward to July of 2007. I purhased my first house in a declining market. Now you may ask why I would do something so crazy but to be perfectly honest it was because I wanted to get my labrador puppy and no decent house in the area would rent to someone who had a dog over 20 lbs. On October 29th, my parents made the trip down to visit over Halloween and I told them that I really wanted to go visit the kennel just to take a look at the puppies they had but with NO intentions of buying one. I didn't have any of the things you should have prior to getting a puppy such as a kennel, bed, water and food bowls, leash, collar, toys, and more but I'll go into that at some other time. So basically we get in the car, drive 3 hours to Medford where we go to Oregon Retrievers owned by Tom and Sue Ross. Sue met us when we arrived and proceeded to bring out 4 adorable black lab female puppies that were 8 weeks old. I had told her that I wanted a female black lab because I was horribly biased from the two I grew up with and had always believed that female dogs were smarter, easier to deal with, etc. I spent over an hour playing with these puppies slowly narrowing it down to 2 of the 4. It was so difficult to decide but finally this one little girl stopped playing, looked at this butterfly flying over head and proceeded to chase it. That was when I knew she was the dog I wanted. So despite the intentions of just looking at the puppies I ended up picking this girl out and when I finished signing the papers I held her and said 'are you ready to be my best friend for the next 15 years?' Her response was a lick on my nose!

Now it took me months to pick out a name for my first dog and it drove me crazy trying to do it. Before you laugh, I first must admit that I play the french horn in a local community band and as I sat there one night there was a sign in the music called a CODA. This sign means to jump to a different part of the piece or in other words 'go to the CODA.' I thought, this would be a fantastic name for a dog. The reason for this is that it is a hard syllable which helps get the dogs attention when you are working with them. So the beautiful puppy that I bought 4 years ago has the official, AKC registered name of Rogue River's Go To The Coda. Coda and I spent 2 and half years getting to build a bond that I had dreamed of having like the one I saw my dad have with both Tess'. I had so many people ask me if I was a professional dog trainer or walker because she was so well behaved on and off leash. The key was the fact that I took the time to walk her three times a day for at least an hour each time to ensure that she would be the best behaved dog I could hope for which she did indeed become. That was until I decided that she needed a playmate but that is a story for tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. "Only" a 14 hour drive? Ridiculous. Can I request stories? I want to hear how you taught Coda to hide.