• Lilith Erlenbusch

by Mateo Erlenbusch

Many months in to Buddy being her full time focus, Lilith began working with Dante. Over the past couple of years Dante has been a steady presence and we’ve witnessed amazing development. He has been an important teacher for both of us and has helped build the Buddy Way.

Dante with his special uncertain look.

I vividly remember my first time meeting Dante. I was still in my car, almost home from work in our neighborhood, and Lilith was driving in the opposite direction with Dante in the front passenger side seat (nearly all dogs we work with ride in the back). We stopped and chatted through our windows and I could tell by his special seating position and his stiff body language that Dante needed special care.

My heart immediately went out to him and I could tell he already touched Lilith’s heart too. Dante was rescued from a feral life on the streets of Los Angeles. Bless his owners Desiree and Bill! Despite relocating to tranquil Truckee with loving owners, the traumas and fear from those early years remained in him. It is such a basic example of how early experiences can shape our present (for both dogs and humans!). Dante displayed nervous body language and distrust around new people and dogs. Lilith’s work with Dante was to rebuild his trust and overall sense of security needed to be his fullest self. I watched her consistently provide him gentle and loving affection and gradual exposure to new dogs, people, and situations. Dante was learning that he could trust Lilith, the other dogs and places she exposed him to, and new people like me.

After Lilith’s consistent guidance, Dante transformed into a new dog! The stiff body language eased into a basically relaxed state. His previous avoidance of other dogs morphed into joining into the fun of the dogs playing around him. His nervous sticking-by-Lilith’s-side during a Dog Pack walk has changed into him running around and exuberantly rolling on his back like other happy and playful dogs. Wow! Finally, another super sweet change is that when he’s boarded at our house, he now attempts to nudge his way on to the couch when we’re sitting there. Unfortunately for him it is still forbidden in our house dog-rules, but his will is in such a loving direction.

Also notable in Dante’s story is the role Scout played in supporting his change. Scout was around Dante all the time when he started with us. Scout was overflowing with playful puppy energy which Dante didn’t understand or want much to do with. She would invite him to scrap, provocatively bark at him, and speed in circles around him, but he rarely took the bait and at most snapped back an

exacerbated “no!” Through Dante’s

transformation he grew to trust and actually like Scout. He now accepts her invitations to play, tail consistently wagging, and sometimes he even initiates! Thank you Scout for the assist!

On a silly side note, from the beginning I coined Dante’s nickname as “Quetzalcoatl” as his look reminded me of that ancient Mesoamerican feathered serpent deity. Little did I know when tossing that nickname around that Dante would be such a force of transformation- precisely what Quetzalcoatl is a symbol of.

Observing Dante’s transformation, and discussing it with Lilith all along the way, taught me the power of dogs to change. Dogs living with early traumas that manifest in their present lives is very common. Dante has demonstrated to Buddy that change is possible: with a plan, consistent guidance, security, and a little help from our friends (both human and canine).

  • Lilith Erlenbusch

Smokey & Kiwi by Mateo Erlenbusch

After over a year in Bend, OR and in Truckee, CA side-hustling dog care in addition to full-time study and building an entrepreneurship in nutrition, Lilith decided to commit herself fully to Buddy and let go of nutrition. I couldn’t have been happier with that decision. From my perspective observing her remarkable way with dogs, I felt Buddy was her next chapter’s highest calling.

In addition to Madison and Scout, some key early dogs in our new Truckee life were Smokey and Kiwi. Both English Lab’s, both robust in size, energy, and canine-spirit. Both well loved by their family (so crucial for good dog health!). As steadily consistent clients, we have now witnessed two full years of development since late puppyhood of both Smokey and Kiwi. Even before joining Buddy I was around both of these dogs regularly. Sometimes I would take one or both on a trail run after work, and they commonly boarded overnight with us in our new Prosser location.

Kiwi is 12 months older than Smokey and they have spent their entire brotherhood playfully working out their standings. I recall freaking out the first times watching them spar, certain a dog will imminently be getting hurt, due to the aggressive intensity, bared teeth, and blood-thirsty snarls and noises they made. At the time I didn’t have enough dog-experience to know this was completely normal and healthy dog behavior- evolutionarily important ancient dances they would do to prepare them for life in the wild and communicating social standing. Now when they spar, and bared teeth are wrapped around each other’s necks and bodies are forcefully pinned to the ground, I get that all is right in their world. They taught me the assurance I now possess whenever seeing dogs sparring wildly- but wow do Smokey and Kiwi take it to the edge!

Despite sharing kin in breed, and are brothers under the same roof, Smokey and Kiwi are quite distinct individuals. Dog personalities being infinitely diverse and distinct is another major learning of mine in the dog world.

Smokey has developed, or wrestled out of Kiwi, a strong independence and security as a top dog among whoever he’s around. He knows his size and power grant him advantages to exploit (like defying Lilith or I recalling him on the trail when he finds a decaying carcass to delight and roll in) (alas, we have special kryptonite-style tricks and treats to overcome his spell under something rotting). Smokey is fine either hanging out or sleeping around people, or not. He’s indeed a lover, but not a needer.

Kiwi’s persona is much more connected to the humans around him. On trail adventures he’s regularly checking in closely where I’m at and when at our house I’ve long watched him follow Lilith from room to room wherever she goes. He prefers playing with other dogs and being by our human sides rather than always going his own way. Kiwi is a perfect unifying force among a pack of dogs in our activity groups- playing with everybody and modeling good-human connection.

We’ve treasured Smokey and Kiwi’s role in the learning and development of Buddy and love having them as regulars in the Buddy Family.

  • Lilith Erlenbusch

by Mateo Erlenbusch.

The beginning of Buddy solidified soon after Lilith and I relocated for my previous job from Bend, OR to Truckee, CA (in the Tahoe Donner neighborhood) in January of 2017. Similar to our situation in Bend, I spent a major proportion of my time away working while Lilith remained home building a new career for herself in nutrition entrepreneurship. Also similar to when in Bend, Lilith connected with a few neighborhood dogs to walk and care for while their owners were away. We couldn’t have dogs in our rental house so this mostly took the form of Lilith going to the dog’s house and taking them out for activity, or sometimes staying overnight at the dog’s house if the owner was away for a span on travel. Two neighborhood dogs in particular became pivotal characters in Buddy’s beginning. Madison and Scout.


Madison is a chocolate lab that Lilith met for near-daily activity in Tahoe Donner. Madison is a grounded, loving, and strong character who Lilith was guiding towards a therapy-dog certification. Common understating, trust, and connection grew naturally between Madison and Liltih. This strengthened their engagement, the effectiveness of the guidance and training Lilith gave, and the affection for Madison. Dogs often learn best from other dogs and Madison became a key partner for Lilith’s training of other dogs in need of good-dog-behavior role models. Madison not only helped teach other dogs but also taught Lilith and I what great dog-person connection is all about.


Scout is another of Buddy’s earliest clients and she remains one of our most consistent and favorite regular’s. Scout was a tiny white terrier puppy who was born with the outsized heart of a lion. Though no longer a puppy, she’s still tiny, and still absolutely lionhearted (except around the vacuum cleaner). Terrier energy is unique stuff and Lilith quickly recognized Scout’s powers must be channeled towards good.

Lilith helped redirect her reactive barking and jealous energies towards other dogs into more constructive behaviors upon triggering stimulus. Through consistent training Scout’s zen has emerged. Yet Scout’s unique personality, hysterical antics, and wild heart remain. Scout has filled us with delight for two years straight and provided key experience in Buddy’s approach. Scout also achieved the privileged position of joining us on camping trips, here at Saddlebag lake in the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

One day our Tahoe Donner landlord unluckily heard Scout barking in our rental house and asked us to remove her. We quickly hopped in the camper and zipped down to Prosser Reservoir for the night with Scout and Camber to stay out of landlord trouble.

After catching a trout for dinner soon after this picture was taken, both dogs were fascinated to encounter a fish and wanted the bodily remains after I cleaned it lakeside. Our time in Tahoe Donner included many more canine characters and further proved Lilith’s career future wasn’t going to be in human nutrition, rather in developing Buddy Dog Care and Training. More Buddy beginnings to come soon!

© 2017 by Lilith Erlenbusch

(541) 977 - 1566


10494 Iris Rd, Truckee CA

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White YouTube Icon