by Clondike Kintsfather
Other Rescue dogs write one article (or get their people to write it) and they're done. I don't understand why Penny keeps bugging me to write one every year. I know I'm a "working dog," but I never thought that would mean being chained to a word processor!
Oh, well. It HAS been a pretty eventful year in my life as a dog. Shortly after the last Rescue issue came out that nice Ms. Jane Gill organized a really fun workshop on something called Agility. Eleven of us Penn-Dutch Pyrs and our people got to climb the A-frame, run along an elevated plank and zoom through tunnels. The people seemed amazed that my folks were using my favorite food, brussels sprouts, for bait to encourage me along. With a little help from Conrad Gill, we all did pretty well on the obstacles and had a really fun day.
The biggest event in my life this year was an opportunity to go to something called a National Specialty. Wow! I can see why show dogs like this annual convention/party so much. Being new to this world of dog shows, I got a little frustrated the first night trying to mark over every other dog's messages in the exercise area. I don't think there was enough water in Frederick to make that possible!
The first day the people held something called the "Canine Good Citizenship" test. This involved ambling around from person to person, being adored and refraining from eating any of your fellow Pyrs. I played along and the people seemed to think this was something really wonderful! They are so funny sometimes!
For the rest of the show I mostly hung out at ringside and schmoozed with the crowd. A number of people who had seen my photos on Penny's web page stopped by to visit and it was great fun.
To be honest, the whole show thing seems kind of silly from my Pyrspective. A bunch of us beautiful Pyrs run around in a circle and then the human called "the judge" picks some of them according to something called a "standard." As has been pointed out to me in past fun matches, eating your competition is frowned upon, so basically there's not much for the Pyr to do except look beautiful. Since we can all do that, I don't understand what the humans make such a fuss about.
The highlight of a National Specialty for the Pyrs is the Pyrenean Ball, always held at a secret location in the show hotel while the people are off at their awards banquet. The National Capital Area Pyrs put on quite an exceptional event and I had a great time. My escort was Barney Huggard, a young gentlePyr from Florida, whom I had met earlier in the week. He was a gracious host and showed me around his motor home after the dance. The folks started calling him my "Barney Babe," but I thought it was just a summer romance (click here for photos).
I was really surprised when Barney came to Pennsylvania in September to show me his new motorhome and re-new our friendship (click here for photos). He's a real sweetie! We still correspond and compare notes on our humans. One of the advantages of being a Rescue Pyr is that your folks are much more accepting of your social life. If I were a show bitch, they'd want to see the OFA rating of every dog I went out with, and I don't even want to think about what they'd say about my little Aussie buddie!
Jumping backwards to July, we had the Pyrenean Fun Day with lots of Fiendishly Clever Canine Games. Klondike Setlock and yours truly anchored "Team Cklondike" and kicked Pyrenean butt (click here for photos)!! Now here is a competition that's actually fun for the Pyrs, as we get to see the humans make fools of themselves!
The end of September brought a return of the Penn-Dutch Fun Match, an event that hasn't been held in a couple of years, possibly because no one wanted to take a chance on me taking a bite out of their precious Pyr. I'm afraid I DID growl at that pushy B.B. Bowes once when she got in "my space" a couple of years ago, but I'm really not a monster and I behaved like a perfect lady this year.
Show Chair, Dianne Migas, created a highly suspect class for spayed/neutered veterans and probably warned everyone in Penn-Dutch not to enter. In any case, I won a handsome silver tray (to be a permanent Spay/Neuter trophy) and a bag of frozen brussels sprouts for being best (and ONLY) spayed veteran. Wasn't the judge surprised by the brussels sprouts?!
Barbara Bowes had loaned Dad a show lead and I hadn't spent 3 days watching show Pyrs in Frederick for nothing. We really seemed to do well, and managed to win over the very handsome Frank Woodward for best spayed/neutered veteran. Frank was very nice about it, and we shared some dog treats after the show. For some reason none of the other Pyrs would share my brussels sprouts, however. Strange!
A couple of weeks ago my Dad took me to a huge building with lots of people in chairs on wheels. We accompanied a collie and a small beagle mix as a "therapy dog team." I'm not sure what the point of all this was, but we met lots of people who seemed to be really glad to see us and we got lots of petting and treats. I think I could get into this therapy dog thing.
Well, that about wraps up an eventful year in my life as a dog. By the time you read this I will be 10, which the folks seem to think is getting on. I've managed to stay pretty healthy this year and I can still run rings around the folks, so I'm enjoying my status as veteran bitch.
I hope to see lots of Penn-Dutch Pyrs and their people at the Holiday party in December and the Canine Learning Experience in January. As you enjoy the holiday season, please remember to support Rescue. It's a really valuable resource for Pyrs in need.
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