When we adopted Lilly from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in October 2004, I harbored no visions of canine championships of any sort. Honestly, I didn’t know such options existed for shelter dogs.
But, I began looking into advanced dog training, including agility … and later other canine sports … in hopes of building her confidence and our bond.
Lilly thrived in her classes. She learned. She mastered. She worked hard.
I met great people, amazing dogs.
And, I bought into the dream.
Ultimately, I hope to deliver a bigger story of redemption, of a couple of underdogs who make good things happen … despite the regular intervention of real life, real grief.
So amid our so-called failures, I’ve bestowed Lilly with the title Champion of My Heart because indeed that’s one she more than earns every day at my side.
Most times, in fact, Lilly is the professor and I’m the student. These are the tales of earning a real-world PhD from the University of Dogs With Issues.
Since January 2012, those issues have taken on a new meaning. Lilly suffered terrible brain inflammation following a routine rabies vaccine. We remain in a life /death battle for her future. Our tale has shifted a bit as a result, but we continue to share the important — and sometime painful details — of life between a couple of soul mates. A girl and her heart dog.
Lilly died December 17, 2013, after a 693-day fight for her life.