I am Daniel Daigle, a 59-year-old husband to my beautiful wife, Hu Qin, a fortunate father to ﬁve wonderful children, and an extremely proud grandfather to three amazing grandchildren. Our home is in Addis, LA., just south-west of Baton Rouge. I have been blessed with good health, a great education, successful entrepreneurship, and a wonderfully supportive family. My life has been a journey of faith, learning experiences, and rewarding opportunities.
Lessons from the Amazing Siberian Cats of Svetdanhaus
I hope the lessons I have learned can be shared with all interested readers to help promote responsible pet ownership for everyone, especially our pets.
When I was nine years old, I inherited a German Shepherd dog from an uncle that was previously stationed in German with the US military. I immediately bonded with this dog and he inevitably became my best friend. I learned so much from this dog I affectionately called, Schultz. I was told he had a great background of working dogs in Germany, but had no idea that any animal could be so loyal to a human, especially a kid. We learned tricks, we played games of fetch, ﬁnd, and hide and seek. Schultz quickly learned and dominated every game we could conceive. I visited the local library to reserve books on this breed and any information relative to training. We became a team that seemed to impress everyone we encountered. He acknowledged the neighborhood kids and was very social with them, but would only take instructions from me. Can you imagine how empowering this was for a nine year old kid. I had found something I was good at and truly loved to do. In retrospect, I learned more from Schultz than I could ever teach him. We simply loved each others companionship and continued to push each others buttons for more. AKC obedience was our ﬁrst structured training competition. We did well and impressed many older competitors. They thought I was a gifted animal trainer, when in fact, I was just a lucky country boy, with a great German Shepherd.
My early experiences with Schultz taught me to respect all animals. He helped us track and rescue lost and injured animals, particularly an abandoned kitten that appeared sick and malnourished. Schultz became a mother and protector of this kitten, just as he demonstrated his protectiveness of me. We nourished and medicated this stray kitten back to good health and this tiny ball of fur became part of our family. I was so impressed with the respect they showed each other and how quickly they became so close. I was taught, I guess through cartoons and old wise tales, that dogs and cats were natural enemies. I my opinion, Schultz was special and much smarter than I previously thought possible. I learned that old wise tales were not always wise. That we frequently misunderstand animal behavior and that this is very wrong.
I have shared with my children some of the lessons I learned from Schultz. How to respect all living things and the rewarding life experiences these acts of kindness and understanding can provide. All my children love animals. They are now passing this onto their children.