Dogs, Of Course

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This weekend’s dog show left me with more than ribbons and memories. It was cold and windy, with some fingers of rain touching down from the same system that brought South Carolina’s historic floods. The weather was not forecasted and at the last minute I threw a light zippered jersey into my suitcase, not realizing a nice down coat would have been even better. Who knew the weather could change so fast. This isn’t New England. It’s the south, where the cold doesn’t appear until after Thanksgiving. But the resulting sniffles were worth it as my dog, Tommie, and I spent some girl time together.

It had crossed my mind that I should try an experiment with my dogs. I’d take one dog to a show for the weekend and board the others. That way the one dog could have ME time and we could bond more. The experiment was very successful and is something that I will do again from time to time. Tom and I spent time running, playing, and hanging out before the show, time that is not always possible with multiple dogs. That is the down side of having more than one pet, making sure that each has the love, grooming and attention they each deserve.

I had not realized how much Tommie likes to use her nose for attention, sticking it under my hand over and over, canine sign language for pet me, pet me. For the first time she howled for her dinner, since I was obviously moving too slow for her. After the six-hour drive I let her run on a long line in the newly mowed wet grass behind the show building. She became a puppy again, hopping, running and twirling. It was a delight to watch her cavorting and being a dog, not a show dog, a dog, a pet.

At the show the next two days she was well-behaved in her soft crate, nuzzling with a shy Sheltie who was curious about her. I found out that not only does she like children but she likes very tall men. Odd, but each time a tall, lanky, male exhibitor walked by me Tom’s butt started wiggling and she begged the person with her eyes to touch her. While warming her up for her ring time, a process we are trying to hone, building her up without tiring her, she became interested in a huge German Shepherd. Its owner was also warming the dog up for the same class. Unfortunately, the Shepherd had been attacked the week before. When it stepped into the ring it howled in fear and was unable to work. The owner sadly was dismissed from competition, knowing that she had a long battle in front of her to restore the dog’s confidence around other dogs. I wonder what vibes it was giving off to Tommie? It’s hard not to anthropomorphize and wonder if sweet, caring Tom was curious and concerned, sensing fear from the Shepherd.

From previous experience I knew that when Tommie and I returned home there would be some scrambling for position between the dogs. Tommie had just spent three days with me and wasn’t giving up her spot next to me easily. There was a second of growling and lips raised, then Tom wisely held back, later pushing her way to the top of the heap, so to speak. Poor Catcher did what any male in a house full of females does. He never made a sound, walking away to snuggle in his favorite chair.

On the long drive home I had time to clarify my feelings about adding another dog to my pack; more on that in another blog entry. But after texting the breeder we decided that I would pick up Bodie next week. Let the fun begin. Pristine houses with immaculate floors, fur-free sofa’s and beautiful quilted beds are highly overrated. As are pristine lawns with green grass, no hidden “piles” or half chewed sticks littering the yard. That all sounds way too boring for me. Perhaps I thrive more on chaos and unpredictability. For now, I’ll let four Border Collies herd me through each day’s agenda: eat, sleep, play, train and show. That sounds like predictable chaos to me.

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