Image above by Jane Baker.

Today marks exactly one year since Chris and I brought Zara home from our breeder. I remember being so excited for that day – we had literally been waiting months to get a puppy. Looking at the photos from her first few days at home, I see how small she was but it is very difficult for me to remember that stage. It just went by so fast.

Photo Dec 12, 9 56 07 AM

Photo Dec 17, 12 01 25 PM

Photo Dec 13, 2 21 35 PM

It’s hard for me to imagine life without her now. My life is a lot busier in many ways, but also fuller. I know that I am biased in everything I’m about to say, because Zara is my dog, but I truly feel that she is special.

I love almost everything about her. I love her sweet face, her athletic body, and her warm belly. I love the way she greets us when we come home – her butt and tail wiggle so much that her body literally curves into a half-circle. I love how she doesn’t chew anything in the house that isn’t hers. I love how eager she is to learn new tricks. I love her [still] green eyes. The way she slowly stalks after squirrels in the yard. Her willingness to wear dog clothes. And I love how she snuggles in bed with us and how her tail beats happily when we wake up in the morning.

The two bad habits she does have are eating poop (her own and other dogs’) and pulling on the leash. But this post isn’t about those things.

One reason I wanted to get a dog was for the companionship. Although Chris and I live together, there are times when he isn’t around or busy doing something else. Sometimes I would feel a bit lonely or sad that I had to be by myself or go somewhere alone. With Zara, I don’t feel lonely anymore. She has filled every desire for companionship I had. I love going on walks or hikes by myself with her because I’m not actually alone. I love her “velcro” personality. She definitely fills the vizsla standard in that respect: following me into the bathroom, sleeping on top of us, etc.

I feel like we’ve been able to go a lot of places and do a lot of things in the past year, but I have several goals for the upcoming year, which also coincides nicely with the beginning of 2015. I’d like Zara to earn her Canine Good Citizenship title, which is a certificate given out by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to dogs that pass certain criteria to be “good citizens” in public, around other people, and other dogs. The main reason I’d like her to get this is so that she can be a therapy dog. This is different from a service dog. I (obviously!) wouldn’t be giving her up. But after some training, we could go visit hospitals or nursing homes and interact with the people there. I think Zara would do really well with this. She loves any person she meets and I think she would be well-behaved enough for it (after enough exercise, of course. :)

I’d also like to see if she could work toward earning her Junior Hunter title, which I mentioned in a previous post. We didn’t make it into the hunt test last weekend because it was full. There are other events in the spring, though.

And lastly, I’d like to continue working with her to cut down on the leash pulling. I think we just need to be more consistent and probably use treats more frequently until we can phase them out.