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"Brae" for short. He was a Dutch shepherd from a very reputable breeder - Vrijheid Kennels. Brae launched into my life full of pizazz. When I met him at his breeder's house, he was around 8 weeks of age and he was already dragging fully loaded backpacks across the ground with his mouth. I knew I was in for it. Brae was a classic 'working line dog' in that he was always ready, always 110% there. He was actually very hard to live with for the first year because he did not settle, no matter how much exercise he got. Imagine being a professional trainer, spending 3-4 hours a day on training/exercise/socialization with an infant puppy, and that puppy STILL refusing to take a nap unless he was physically crated. That was Brae.

As a trainer, Brae was perfect for me. He was my go-to dog for group classes and helping with reactive dog clients. When he was on the job, he was completely stable and focused on me. Off the job... He was a bit neurotic, a bit too pushy, a bit too... everything! But I say that with complete love and adoration. Brae was the best example of how training with a dog and living with a dog can be two separate things, and also how "high drive dogs" can be extremely well trained yet still require constant vigilance in life. Brae was the kind of dog who still wanted to play fetch after a 16 mile bike ride. He would wake from a dead sleep if I chuckled during a movie, thinking that something exciting was about to happen.

Brae was a special dog, a once-in-a-lifetime dog. I love all of my dogs equally but I trusted Brae like I trust no other. I am endlessly grateful to his breeder for giving me a dog that exceeded my personal and professional expectations. Sadly, Brae passed away suddenly from mesenteric volvulus, a rare medical condition. I was with him till the very end, and he will always be a part of me.

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