Will you be my valentine? Answer: You had me at….

Michael and Starbuck

It’s Valentine’s day and the internet is filled with examples of very thoughtful and loving gestures of love for spouses and significant others in our lives.  Some of them are so simple to do and very romantic, that it puts a bad light on the rest of us who are trying to come up with creative ways to express our love.  To those people, I say, “Stop it!”  Just kidding.  I love reading about the sweet and romantic gestures. But what about for our four-legged friends? What will you do for them on today’s special day?

After all, think about all they do for us and teach us about life. My recently departed dogs Simone, Willow and Draco taught me many life lessons. A few of them include:

*  Simone CD, CGC, Police Dog (Narcotic Detection, Tracking, Area Search, Building Search, and Evidence Search), Search and Rescue Dog (Tracking, Area Search and Cadaver Detection) and Therapy Dog; a Belgian Malinois taught me about unconditional love, overcoming fears and a zest for learning. She went from being a fearful dog of people and other dogs to a police dog with five certifications. She was always ready for a good game of never-ending fetch.

*  Willow CD, CGC, Therapy Dog; a Belgian Malinois taught me how wonderful it is to hang with friends as she would follow me from room to room. She was so quiet that I wouldn’t even know she was there until I turned around and saw her laying down ten feet behind me.  It was always a comforting feeling to know she was near by.

*  Draco, Police Dog (Narcotic Detection); a Belgian Malinois taught me how wonderful it is to have fun in life. She loved doing narcotic detection as it meant she got to be a bad girl and dig really hard at the site where the drugs were hidden.  While a very obedient dog when she had to be, she was always looking for opportunities to get into a little mischief. I loved that about her.

* Hawkeye, Security Dog (Explosive Detection and Handler Protection); a German Shepherd  taught me the value of resting so one can go play really hard.  While at rest, he commonly laid down with his paws crossed out in front of him.  I always envisioned him to be wearing sunglasses as he laid there looking oh so cool.  But he was always ready to go seek out hidden bomb scents or to go bite someone in protection training.

*  And, Starbuck my current dog is the best friend one could have.  When he looks at you with his soulful eyes, you know you are seeing the best perception of yourself in his eyes.

So what will you do for your four-legged Valentine today and what life lessons have your dogs taught you?  Please share in the comments below.

As for me, Starbuck and I are headed out for a long walk in the forest as I fondly remember the life lessons my dogs have taught me and how they have enriched my life.  Many years ago, I asked Simone if she would be my Valentine. She seemed to respond by saying, “you had me the first moment I met you.”

K9 Simone

K9 Hawkeye

K9 Draco


About Michael Burkey

Michael Burkey is a professional dog trainer, behaviorist and owner of MichiganDogTrainer.com, a highly successful dog training company whose aim is to promote peaceful relationships between pets and families. Additionally, he is an expert trial witness, certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC), former Police K9 Handler, Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 Training Director and SAR K9 Handler, obedience and rally competitor and social worker. Dog training is a complex science and art requiring knowledge of behavioral science and learning. You can rely on Michael's experience, teaching methods, and integrity. He can be contacted at info@MichiganDogTrainer.com or 734-634-4152.
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