It's Just a dog...And that's what makes them so extraordinary ~ by Joanne Jaytanie

Anyone who knows me knows how important my Dobermans are to me. Yes, they are just dogs…pure of spirit and willingness to do anything and everything for you. Dogs embody unconditional love personified. They will protect you from danger and rejoice with you in happiness. They sense when you are sad and they will comfort you. My Dobermans were always attentive and extremely intelligent beings who understood our conversations. Look into their eyes. There you will see what I say is true.

Because my dogs are so paramount in my life, I wanted to write about this topic. At the same time, it’s an extremely painful issue, for I recently lost my girl, Maya.

My Facebook post the day we lost Maya:

At midnight last night, Maya walked into the exam room where we were feeding her, stub wagging and flashing her beloved smile she always bestowed on me. She didn’t want me feeding her, but I needed to do it and she let me. When we were getting near the end of the can I scooped more food out, turned and saw the look in her eyes. She was done. But I knew she would fight to the end for Ralph and me if that’s what I asked.

At 9:54 this morning I cradled my Maya Baby in my arms for one last time. I told her I loved her with all my heart, and that it was okay for her to go to her brother, Tristan, and mommy, Anya. I kissed her and whispered into her ear all the things she meant to me. Reminded her that I was the one who held her as she came into this world and I'd hold as she went out. She didn’t move a muscle, still, I felt the moment she left us. I wanted to tell her to fight. To stay with us, but if I did, she would, and it wasn’t fair to her. My first priority is always what’s best for my Doberman and their quality of life. So, I waited until we left the hospital before I said; I didn’t want her to leave, I wanted her to come home and enjoy life with us for a little longer.

My heart is torn in two. The tears refuse to slow. I can’t believe she won’t be here tomorrow.

This morning at 11:30 I walked into our house and unlike the past 37 years…no Doberman was waiting to greet me at the door.

The feeling is devastating. Everywhere I look, I see Maya. Every sound I hear, I think it’s her. I expect to see her stretched out on her bed next to my desk or pawing at me because I’m not petting her. I already miss her crazy, funny antics, like bouncing into her bed that’s against the couch, front paws landing on the couch cushion, waiting for me to start rubbing her.

Not only did we lose our sweet, funny, loving girl, but she carried the torch for all those before her. They’ve been an important part of my life. They are part of our family. Always by my side when I was upset, happy, lonely, or to have a conversation with. They gave me such love, joy, laughs, and companionship.
 Ch. Jaytanie’s Made In Basic Black
March 8, 2006 ~ May 28, 2018
I love you with all my heart, sweet girl.

I wasn’t planning on posting at all today. But the more I thought about all the love, well-wishes, and prayers my friends showered us with, the more I realized I couldn’t leave you wondering. Your support has helped me, and I want you each to know, Ralph and I, deeply, sincerely, appreciate it—Thank you.


I wasn’t sure where to start with this post until I reread the post about the flowers I received from Maya’s cardiologist.

Each of my Dobermans represents different times in my life. I’ll introduce you to all of them. I’ve gained so many great friends because of my dogs. What a perfect way to honor Maya and all my Dobermans, by sharing my friend’s thoughts, a bit of their lives, and the impressions they’ve made along the way.

Today’s guest is my long-time friend, Noel Ritter. She is the owner of Guiding Hands Pet Obedience. Noel has taught puppies, people, and dogs since 1992. She is an ASCA Judge and actively shows her dogs in obedience, agility, breed, rally, and herding. Her perfect day is a day spent with her Australian Shepherds, known by all who love this breed as Aussies, herding ducks, sheep, and cows or simply training in general.

Noel and her Aussies

Noel and I’ve been friends for years. We are kindred spirits when it comes to dogs and often share each other’s thoughts about them. I asked her if she would share some thoughts with you and here is what she said:

Me: What age were you when you welcomed your first dog into your life?

Noel: I had an imaginary dog as a child and I named him Nicky. Got a dog of my own when I was 18.

Me: What part do your dogs play in your life?

Noel: My entire life is made up of dogs. I speak to dogs all day long, I seek their company and I hope they seek mine.

Me: How important are the dogs in your life?

Noel: Dogs are my life. They give me the ability to express myself to people.

Me: Do you vacation or take trips with your dog?

Noel: I take road trips because of my dogs. I like to see my dogs have vacations.

Me: Do you remember when you and I first met? What was the scenario?

Noel: We met at Bonnie Greens competitive obedience classes.

Me: Back in 1994. I decided to get back into obedience training with my girl, Misty, and Noel was training her corgi, Bonnie.

Noel is also an LMT, Licensed Massage Therapist, for two-legged and four-pawed clients. All my dogs loved, Auntie Noel. Both Tristan and Maya would smile when they saw her. Noel has a magical touch and played a huge roll in maintaining my dog’s mobility and health. I asked her what her impression was, with regards to her gift to heal and here’s what she told me:

“It is the power we all have, touch. To be a massage therapist is a true gift to myself, and I hope to my canine clients.

When I first approach a dog, I just put my hands on them and let them get used
to my touch. A bond happens. Not with all dogs, but most.

I have a few elderly canine clients that are very explicit about their massage. I try to listen, as it is their massage.

One dog, in particular, is part of a large pack. When I work on the pack, she must be the very last one. I start yawning and could go right to sleep. Every time.

Then there are dogs like Maya. Royalty really. A lovely Doberman Pinscher girl who smiles. If you were very lucky, she would smile for you.

I could tell when she hurt. I could tell when it was nerve pain or neck pain. She always wanted me to work on her neck. For the longest time, she would back up to me and sit so I could work on her back.

I think Maya told me secrets. She loved going to the ocean and looking for shells. Of course, that is just my musing. Massage therapists are like that though, we can read through touch.

When you can smooth their brow and settle them from hurting, we can take fancy and believe she likes to search for seashells. When I could see Maya walk and be silly, that was her gift to Me. Touch is a simple thing involving the spirit and the mind. To connect at that deep level. To reach across to another species, that is the spirit. I feel her through the touch, the memory in my fingers. I give that gift to others that she gave to me…She was my muse.”

Noel with Maya

Me: Without using the word, love, please describe what your dogs mean to you. In other words, what you are describing is your definition of Love.

Noel: My spirit. They are a gift of grace to me in my life.

Noel is the lead trainer at Naturally 4 Paws in Silverdale, Washington.
You can read more about Noel and her Aussies on her Facebook page:
 Noel Ritter's Facebook Page

Thank you, Noel, for sharing your love of dogs with us.

My entire adult life has revolved around dogs. I’m a member of the Doberman Club of America (DPCA), Puget Sound Doberman Pinscher Club (PSDPC), and Peninsula Dog Fanciers’ Club (PDFC). I was a board member of PSDPC. I served on the board of PDFC in the office of President for a total of 9 years, Vice President for 6 years, a board member for 4 years, and the show chair for our all-breed show. I'm the first AKC Delegate for PDFC and I have continued to hold the office since 1999.

I began studying holistic/all-natural feeding in 1994 and organized a seminar in Seattle featuring Wendy Volhard. A woman I consider the pioneer in all-natural rearing.

I’ve shown dogs in breed, obedience, agility, and rally for 18 years. I handled a Bullmastiff to the top 10 Bullmastiff in the PNW. Four of my Dobermans are AKC Champions. I’ve worked for many years with the 4-H in dog-related projects.

I bred two litters of Doberman puppies. Both times we kept a boy and a girl. Raising and training two puppies keeps you on your toes.

1st picture: Noel with Tristan & Maya    2nd picture: Me with Tristan & Maya

Not only are my dogs integral to my life, but they also played a major role in the turning point between which of my two career paths I would walk down. My Dobermans were my muse to finally putting my fingers on the keyboard and finishing my first book. Something I’d wanted to do from a very young age.

Dobermans play a role in my Winters Sisters books. Each book features one of my dogs on the cover. They also appear in the majority of my novellas.

In my next installment, I will explain the connection between my Dobermans and my Winters Sisters Series. They were the driving force behind the birth of this series. I will also introduce you to another of my amazing dog-loving friends.

I would love for you to share your dog stories with me. Post your story in the comments below.

Until next time...


  1. As the very proud mom to 4 rescue fur-babies this post brought tears to my eyes. Happy and sad. I know how much joy and love they bring to our lives and the heartbreak when we have to say goodbye. Thank you for sharing Joanne!! <3

    1. Thank you, Darlene. Dogs can fill your life and they can break your heart.

  2. Maya was your soul. It was awful when Tristan got his wings, but this little pup was so much your girl. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    1. She really was. Love them all so very much. My house is just not the same.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to Maya and to all angel furbabies out there <3

  4. A lovely tribute that actually brought tears. I was also fascinated by the discussion on massage therapy and how much more than simple massage it really is. What a great post!

    1. Thank you, Linda. Massage therapy is a wonderful thing, for both people and pets. Noel is a special person.

  5. Thanks for sharing your very personal story. You are so right about looking into the eyes of a dog. So telling.

  6. I am so thankful to have been on the receiving end of one of your Doberman puppies. Kona was a gift we will always be thankful for. We still miss him everyday.

    1. Thank you, DeEtte. I was truly my honor. You were a loving, wonderful home and you've become a cherished friend.

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