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Happy Gotcha Day, Ralphie!

Ten years ago today, my husband Dave and I wandered into a small animal rescue in San Rafael, CA and walked home with a little brown dog named Ralphie. He was about one then; he's about eleven now, and he has changed our lives in ways we never could have imagined.

Ralphie inspired me to volunteer at and then work for an animal shelter, where I developed a fascination with training and behavior. That fascination led me to become a certified professional dog trainer and to start Gentle Beth. I had no way of knowing ten years ago that adopting Ralphie would set me on this path, but now it feels exactly right.

Because of Ralphie, Dave, an introvert's introvert, got to know everyone in our neighborhood in San Rafael and then everyone in our neighborhood in Portland. He would come home from walks and tell me what was going on with this neighbor or that one--something he had never done before Ralphie came into our lives. Dave and Ralphie have a few regular routes in North Portland where Ralphie is the King of St Johns and everyone is happy to be his subject.

Neither Dave nor I knew much about dogs when we adopted Ralphie, but we learned along the way. He has taught us so much about how amazing these little (and sometimes not so little) four-legged creatures who share their lives with us can be.

Today the bestest boy got extra almond butter and a bonus trip to the park to celebrate his gotcha day.

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