Dropped in the overnight drop box at Dumb Friends Buddy Center in Castle Rock, things were looking bad for year-old Clementine. For two months she languished in the shelter with very few people showing interest in her. She doesn’t get along well with kids… Her tail is to stubby… Clearly these families weren’t right for her anyway. Finally Aly came along, and that’s when Clementine’s life changed. Though Aly had never had a cattle dog, every dog who seemed to be a personality match for her was that type, but none piqued Aly’s interest like Clementine. It was love at first sight.
Aly and Clementine started flyball a few months after they met because like any good cattle dog, Clementine needed needed a job to do. It took a little time for Clementine to feel comfortable leaving Aly’s side, but after some hard work she caught on. Flyball has helped Clementine become much more outgoing and less fearful.
Because Aly worked from home when she first adopted Clementine, she was able to spend a good deal of time teaching Clementine tricks. Five years later, Clementine understands at least 40 words and in many ways serves as Aly’s service dog. Aly suffers from hearing loss and chronic arthritis. She taught Clementine to fetch her shoes and pick up dropped laundry on the way from the dryer to the closet. Clementine taught herself to nudge Aly if she hears anything at night, since Aly takes her hearing aids out at bedtime.
Aly has another dog named TeeVee, a Border Collie who participates in Treibball, a German time trial that involves pushing eight fit balls into a goal. It’s like sheep herding but with balls instead of sheep. I met Aly through this organization, as Hilary Lane, one of the founders of the American Treibball Association has been helping me advertise the Don’t Kill Bill show (thanks, Hilary!).
We recently decided to add a dog to our first aerial act, so suddenly we had a need for a very talented dog! Hilary put out the word, and when Aly heard about it, she signed up. I was stunned that she would be willing to drive all the way to Boulder from Denver after work so Clementine could come up and train for her big role, but she did so happily.
We’ve trained one day so far, and while I’m not going to tell you exactly what Clementine will be doing, I will tell you that she impressed me right off the bat and is more than qualified for this role. She’s going to be a star! (Get a few more tidbits about what Clementine will be doing at the Boulder Dog Blog and This One Wild Life.)
When I asked Aly why she was so willing to help with the show, she repeated my words, “If you know you have a talent you can help people with, you should use it!
“And,” she said, “I thought it would be fun.”
What a great gal! First, I love her because she actually listens to me when I talk (always appreciated), but more importantly, we’re giving Aly two paws up for her willingness and excitement to use what she’s got to aid in the cause of rescue. I hope her actions inspire you to do what you can to help a cause close to your heart. I call that creative volunteerism, but whatever you want to call it, just go do it! The other volunteers and the animals will thank you!