I’ve been trying for a week to figure out how to articulate something I’m sure many other dog people have experienced. I’m equally sure many of those people have explained the phenomenon much better than I ever will.
But here goes.
Something shifted in my relationship with Jack last Sunday. I can tell you the exact moment it happened, though I didn’t realize it until a couple of hours later. The shift was subtle, but also paradigm shifting for me.
He became my partner, my true friend, a piece of me.
I know that sounds over the edge for lots of people, even people who love animals. But something shifted as I crossed the start threshold with him at the ORT. We became more than just handler and canine. We became a team. He understood what I asked him to do, and he did it. Willingly. With joy. I watched him work that hide in awe of his abilities, knowing I had to trust him completely to show me where it was, and that he would show me.
More than just me reading his alert.
I asked him to do something.
He agreed to do it.
He gave me information.
I understood what he told me.
A team. A partnership. A friendship truly from the heart.
So the comedy of the absurd continued the week before the ORT.
Friday the 6th I got off work and realized the middle toe of my right foot hurt really, really bad. As in I could barely walk. As in someone released a horde of fire ants on my toe.
Got home from work, took off my shoes and socks. Yep, infected at the site of my self-surgery. Three days prior I removed the corner of my toenail because frankly, it annoyed me growing into the edge of my toe.
The morning of Saturday, September 6 revealed a toe in dire need of antibiotics. So off to the Minute Clinic we went.
Fast forward five days, one Z-Pack, one more self-surgery to lance the infected area and toe is all better.
Now on to the ORT yesterday.
WE PASSED WE PASSED WE PASSED WE PASSED WE PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It totally rocked-even before we passed. What a community dog people create. Just amazing atmosphere.
We ran third in the first group for birch. I think that was the perfect running place. Not first, but not late in the order.
Now on to training for Nose Work 1 trial.
So we’ve hit the ridiculous point here.
Monday night Jack and I get mildly skunked. But really is there any such thing as getting mildly skunked? If you count that the business end of little stinky pants pointed away from us so we just got the blow back, then, yeah, I guess that’s mildly skunked.
Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, gets that taste out of your mouth.
Praying Jack’s nose still works. I’m going to give him a couple of easy hides tonight to see how it goes.
This morning I crunch the index and middle fingers of my right hand in the window as I’m closing it. Thankfully I’m left-handed. But really, eleven days before my FIRST EVER DOG SPORTING EVENT!
What can I do but laugh?
It’s all good. We will have fun regardless of the outcome.