Friday, January 16, 2009

How I Almost Got Myself Killed At A Dog Show

OR: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, ANN???
OK, OK - I'll tell you what I was thinking: CH. Ebbtide Fine Fellow, aka "Spencer" is working so nice in Novice B obedience - I'll take a video for everyone to see!! Judi will be so proud! And all the world can see now, what a great dog he really is!!
Here's my story : It's Day 3 of Spencer's AKC obedience debut. He's already won a 1st place and a 3rd place, scores 196 1/2 and 197 (out of 200). Tough judges, nice works. Very impressive. I am proud of this team! I had actually left the showgrounds the night before (2 + hours from home), and drove back down again that morning, JUST to get this on video. OK, and see Judi & Spencer do well again. OK - you're right: I don't have much of a life beyond dog shows...Anyway - so there we are, new batteries in camera, a plan to keep Spencer from knowing I'm there (he loves me - I feed him cookies in the ring every time I show him - which is alot and how he got his CH. For the record: I love him, too). What was I saying? Oh. So, I'm outside the obedience building, so I won't distract him, and just as he goes in, I sneak in the building and duck into a far corner. I turn on the camera. This is where I find out my camera (which I normally use for still shots, but it takes little videos) will NOT zoom in while on "video". oh no. OH NO! You may notice in the first video, the ever so slight movement of me, tiptoeing closer to the ring (can you say "Bunny Cam"?). Then the ring steward decides to stand RIGHT IN FRONT of me. Tiptoe tiptoe. Now the table is in the way. I back into the narrow alcove of the doorway and make myself tiny - in my head, anyway. Through the On Leash Heeling, Spencer does great, even if my video doesn't catch his work - but, you be the judge:

Note how happy Judi looks at the end of this segment. She didn't notice that slight head turn of Spencer's, right towards me (gasp!).

But all is not lost (yet): Shall we proceed to the Heel On Leash, Figure 8? Smokin' work!! Spencer has perfect attention heeling, straight sits and Judi's footwork is smooth as silk! And I, yes, me: the humble, well-meaning, nicest breeder and mentor ANYONE could ask for - have immortalized it forever on video. Note how she confidently reaches down and unsnaps the leash, in preparation for the remaining three off-leash individual exercises. Watch again, and hear her lovely, lilting, soft voice calmly command Spencer through that mesmerizing work:

Ok - the leash has been removed. But we're confident in this dog. He has already won this class this weekend. The sky is the limit!

But wait! About this time, an unseen, familiar, yet, strangely, mind-altering, scent has wafted slowly, slowly, completely, into the vacuoles of Spencer's nostrils. First the left side....then the right side. He recognizes that smell: It's ANN!! Wonderful Ann. Happy Ann. Ann-who-loves-me-maybe-more-than-Judi-does-Ann! Ann who always feeds me nice cookies when I'm in the ring! Does she need to pet me now? Does she need to feed me COOKIES NOW?!

Watch it again and notice these little nuances: Judi man-handling Spencer's head so he WON'T look at me; Judi looking straight at ME - yes, yes, those ARE death rays she sent to me through her eyes (but I ducked and they missed); that not-so-lilting tone of her voice at "STAY"; AND, is it just me, or do her arms, when she turns to face Spencer, look like they want TO STRANGLE ME?? Yes. Yes. I. Think. They. Do.

You may notice there are no more video clips of the Heel Off Leash (very nice) or the Recall (also lovely). Or so I'm told. You see, after the Stand, I saw, yes I saw, how death could find me so fast, in the form of a handler who has seen her beloved mentor almost single-handedly destroy the obedience work of the dog they both love. Wisely, and as quiet as a mouse, I backed out the door and ducked under the window and sat on the ground, shaking my head and wondering "How could I be SO STUPID?" Fortuitously, at about that time, I nice lady also exited the building and stood there - looked down at me huddled behind the door. I whisper "Is the dog still in the ring?" pleezeohpleeze say YES, or I will die right here. Perkily (!!) she says "The Aussie? Yes." thankyouthankyouthankyou "How is he doing?" I manage to murmur. "Good" she responds. "Really good??" I dare to ask. "Yeah" she offers. Feeling confident, I ever so s-l-o-w-l-y rise up to the window, just to the bottom of eyes, and watch him zip across the ring on the recall. But my blood runs cold and I drop back to the ground, lest he recognize me one last time.

They say he did a brilliant job. They say his score was a brilliant 197. They say he won 2nd place. They say he qualifies for a Front and Finish Obedience Platinum Award. They say he might be up there in national rankings.

But all I know is this: Bless you Judi Scherrer, bless you. Bless you for not murdering me that fateful day. Bless you for not leaving my children orphans. Bless you for ensuring the world will not be Ebbtide-less. Bless you for only delivering a well deserved tongue-lashing. A lesser competitor would not have been so generous.

But, hey! Aren't these videos nice? Did I forget to tell you they are on YouTube, too?

.

3 comments:

Awiseboy said...

Classic!

cloverann said...

awiseboy: We are so alike (scary!) - when I finished writing, that was the word I said. SO what's your choice for my visit: the week after or the week BEFORE Memorial Day? Airline tickets soon...

gabby said...

Hey, I finally got here! (It's me, in H'burg) I see from your Thursday post that you still breed occasionally. What about your dogs?

Ha! Sorry, couldn't resist.