Chico is loved

Last weekend we went and did AKC agility on Friday (two Qs, one of which was the final leg for our Excellent Jumpers title) and then to Eva’s for Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night, then to USDAA agility on Sunday (two Qs, one of which was our P2 Standard title).

Om Saturday evening we went to a holiday dinner at the home of a dog loving family. I did not know them at all before I got there, and when they invited me to see the yard and I asked if Chico could see it too, they invited him in for the dinner. And when we sang parts of the Passover service, he joined in and they all took it in stride. Chico is loved.

And then there’s Dogger. Dogger’s owner is moving away from Eva’s farm, so this was likely the two dogs last visit. As usual, Chico acted like he wanted to kill Dogger, and Dogger, who has the big square head of a dog that can lock on to the throat of something (and his hueveos, as they say in Mexico), absolutely refused to believe a word of the terrible stuff Chico said. Scares me still, but Dogger’s person swears that Dogger is obsessed with making Chico like him because of he wasn’t (since he didn’t attack Chico the first time they met) he’d just go away, and that Chico can’t press him into attacking. And after some time, they achieved a truce. Dogger let Chico explore, Dogger following, and when he got too close Chico told him so, and Dogger hoped that meant Chico was ready to play, and took it with a sloppy, tongue and tail wagging grin when he realized that was not yet the case.

And when his person takes Dogger back to their cabin, he gets out and comes to the door and does this:

for minutes on end. Chico is loved.

I’m not sure that I have mentioned that I twisted my ankle pretty badly a week ago Friday, so I was pretty sure that I couldn’t run very well this weekend. On the way to the trial Friday morning, I stopped to see my motion coach and either get taped or get cleared for the lace-up brace. Well, the brace won, but I was late leaving and when I got to the trial, I had missed the walk of the course, I had even missed our turn, but not the whole class. They gate steward kindly put us in at the end of the running order, I watched a few folks run and mastered the beginning and end of the course, and my classmate Sylvia said the whole thing was flowing and logical, so I went out and ran it. On the start line I looked at the judge and said “I have a bum ankle and I don’t know the course, but we’re going to give it a try.” And we ran clean. Not super fast, but clean. They say that when I was looking for jump 12, I actually said aloud “Now, where’s twelve?” You gotta love it.

Some say that I should be late and miss the walk more often.

In retrospect, we have had several qualifying runs under just those conditions. Doesn’t give me time to get nervous, to over think, to get bored waiting…makes it more like class. Class is where we can do almost anything.

On Sunday we had a nice moment – someone I recognize but don’t know told me just before run to remember to “keep moving. That dog needs motion.” I thanked her and said she was dead right and must have expressed some surprise that she knew us so well, and she said, “Oh, I’ve watched him a lot of times.” Chico is loved.

And today, at Paris Farmer’s Union not only do they know Chico by name and welcome him, they send us home with four – count ’em four – plastic eggs filled with dog treats: leftovers from their canine Easter egg hunt last Sunday. And when I looked at my receipt, the pelletized lime is on there, the 10-10-10 fertilizer is on there, but the dog bones I got for Chico are not. Chico is loved.

In the beginning of our time together I told him often that the world is a kind and loving place (OK, it is a bit of a fib, but I was looking out for him and making his world that way as much as I could) and that he could let down his guard. The nicer he has gotten, the nicer the world around him has been back to him. Chico is loved.

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