Two steps forward, three steps back!

When owned by dogs you will find yourself at one end of the house vacuuming and the dogs are at the other end trashing the place. You can put the dogs in crates while you clean but they will return their kingdom to their idea of normalcy as soon as they are loose. Two steps forward and three back.

Advise from a dog trainer: to keep dogs busy when you leave for work: put a treat inside a toy or dog bone so the dog spends all of it’s energy getting the treat out. Hmm, today I found the ants had also discovered this is a great time consuming activity for them. Two steps forward and three back.

If your over zealous puppy is being destructive while you are surfing the Internet simply put him in his crate. Yeah, but then he wakes up at 5 a.m. when I went to bed at midnight after cruising around cyber space. Another three steps back.

If you can’t find your dog while you are cooking in the kitchen never assume he is sleeping. “Oh, good, he’s finally tired after that four mile walk”. Nope, he’s in the back room under the bed ripping out that muslin stuff under the box springs. Wanted: someone to walk two Border Collies 5 miles per day…each. Obviously 4 miles for one dog and 1 mile for another per day just ain’t workin’ for them or me. Another three steps back.

My first Hillsboro mouse: One winter evening I mindlessly walked from the kitchen, through the pantry/laundry room into the garage. I flipped on the light switch in the garage and screamed. There running across the floor making tiny screeching noises was a small, gray mouse. I saw him. He saw the three dogs. The dogs were all standing around me with question marks over their furry heads. As usual they thought I was nuts and never saw or heard the mouse. Well, Mr. Mousy packed his bags and I never saw him again. But I wasn’t taking any chances that he was going to munch on the dog food in the big, plastic Rubbermaid container. I moved the bucket into the broom closet inside the warm house. No late night dog meals with me scooping a cup into the dark dog food container only to bring up two beady eyes looking back at me. I’ve already had that experience way back in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. I screamed, Mr. Mouse went flying and we never saw each other again. My husband was rolling on the floor laughing, of course.

Only a dog person would get up early on her day off, drive 2.5 hours to a well know dog trainer, spend an hour of intense training, stop to eat afterwards, drive back home in the pouring rain another 2.5 hours and then the next day complain about having to drive “x” number of miles to buy something non dog related. Gas goes up to $2.00 per gallon? $3.00 per gallon? No problem. If there’s a dog event those of us with dog crates in the back of our vehicles will be the only ones on the road early in the morning. Priorities, ya know. I remember in the early 80’s driving south from Wilsonville on I5 when the ash from Mt. St. Helens was swirling around the car. Heck, there was a dog show. Hubbie growled long and hard about that one but I had a dog event to go to and neither rain, nor snow, nor mountain eruption was going to stop me. The show must go on. I could have made a Subaru commercial that day.

All my happy memories are dog memories, time spent with my dogs, people I’ve met at dog shows, the trips to dog events, the training, planning, the tears, laughter and celebrating after the shows, the anger and sadness when one of the beloved dogs die or a great dog trainer or judge passes on. Life with the dogs is like a music video, with beautiful jazz or County music playing in the background. Pan to the hot trips along the Columbia Gorge in the 1980’s with the windows down. Years later different dogs, an updated car with air conditioning, an older more confident me, the music blasting and me singing along off key, the sun coming up over Mt Hood. After the show, driving back and stopping along the Gorge to look at the sunset, the dogs sleeping in their crates, the ribbons laid across the seat. Now pan to an I5 trip down to California to either San Francisco or Sacramento or San Juan Capistrano or over to Denver, Colorado or north on I5 to Vancouver, Canada. Different dogs, different memories, different sunsets and sunrises but these are all snapshots in my mind. This great sport of dog obedience has taken me to places I may never have seen otherwise. It makes me forget all the steps backwards. I’d rather live in a messy house with my beloved dogs than a perfect house alone.

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