Lyra is a border collie who lives with me and my family in Ontario, Canada. I am a writer and copy editor with no dog training background. I began this blog as a record of her progress — so that I could share info with her vet behaviourist and trainer — when she was diagnosed with a fear disorder in March 2016. I soon began to see a link between her treatment, ideas about disorder, and my own work with people and text. I then became obsessed with the question of how we relate to our dogs — which has got me keen to train Lyra in sports that will be fun for us both.
Why black and white dog?
Three reasons: 1) Lyra is black and white, 2) I work primarily with text, and 3) anxiety and “the black dog” have muffled the lives of so many of us, including my dog; I am looking for where the white comes in — to misquote Leonard Cohen.
I want to understand why disorder makes us “less than.” “She’s gone to the dogs.” Yet when I am outside with my own dog, it’s as if I’m wearing glasses that let me see colour — a dog who, in her own mind, struggles every day with fear.
Professionally, I spend a lot of time ordering text; personally, in the space between order and experience.
Caveat: this site is meant to be a record of my experience with one dog — not a recommendation to anyone else whose dog is struggling. I have zero qualifications in animal behaviour beyond my own experience. I rely heavily on a veterinary behaviourist, our regular vet, and professional dog trainers to help my dog. I believe such help, tailored to the individual, is essential for very fearful dogs — on top of loads of reading, online support groups, and research of course.