Monday, November 23, 2009

Career changes...

This is going to be an interesting blog to write, I think... I might ramble a little - it's nice to bounce thoughts off of people, so to speak.

Simon was our first show prospect. Like many show prospects he looked fantastic as a pup, at six months, at nine, and then the year hit and -- well, that's why they're called prospects.

(Now, Simon's breeder is wonderful, absolutely wonderful, keeps in constant contact, has great dogs, and I wouldn't hesitate to get another dog from her in a heartbeat. Si's full brother is a lovely dog, his sister too. They're doing nicely out in the ring, looking great!)

Simon's hips pre-lim'ed clear, and he can out work, out leap, out gallop, out think all my other dogs. When everyone else is tired, or disgusted with the mud and the cold and the heat or wanting to take a nap, Simon's still throwing himself gleefully forward, delightedly singing to himself. He's healthy as a pony. Heck, he's healthier THAN one of my ponies... we won't talk about my creaky old Arab. He's got more drive than a Ferrari. Everyone comments on his temperament; he's not got a mean bone in him, he's not fearful. He's rock solid and kind.

I can admit that I am truly, honestly a bit disappointed that his career talents sure seem to lie in an opposite direction from the show ring. I adore merles. I've wanted a merle dog since I was a little kid. (Of course, this merle dog promptly dumped me for my husband, which reminds me so much of Magnus... but that's a story for another time. ;) )

Of course, it doesn't mean I don't adore Simon any less. However, in a horribly fickle way I have to admit that there are times I've wished that Si had ended up with Caleb's structure and flair and "look at me!!!!" qualities with that lovely merle color and hard-working, gentle personality. ;)

However, I've been showing cats since I was five. I had good mentors in Shepherds and Korats that warned me not to be blinded what you produce or own, to accept your dog/cat's worst physical and mental points and to look really hard at your crew - to be overcritical, I guess.

So then you sit and debate each animal structurally and mentally. What can you live with, what can you accept? What can you not? I have always been drawn to work-ethic in dogs. I LOVE a thinking, working dog. Caleb is a lot of things, but thinking - well, not so much quite yet.

Honestly, you tell Caleb to connect the dots and he's off drawing glittery pictures of kitties in the corners. I keep telling myself that the Stripey Chompy will grow himself a brain one of these days, or at least get out of the Barbie Fun Wagon and graduate to a nice sedan. ;)

Sometimes, though, you just sit yourself down and realize that things happen for a reason. Without the loss of Ali, I wouldn't have found myself finally ready to try another show dog and get back into it again - something different - and thus I have Simon. And with the loss of Gabriel, I wouldn't have Caleb. I have two awesome Cardis, who have obvious, wonderful talent in totally different directions and who have caused me to go head over heels for the breed.

These dogs are the dogs I want to spend the rest of my life with. They had some big paws to fill, and they've stepped into them and shrunk them to fit. The people are lovely in this breed; it's so nice to see people greeting each other happily in the ring and wishing a dog well. It's great to see people whistling for the dog in group that don't own him or her. And it's fantastic that people are willing to be honest about your dog; they don't candy coat, but they're wonderfully polite, and I appreciate that.

The thing is... I need to sit and do some thinking. Where does Simon go from here? Agility? Obedience? Rally? Herding? Therapy dog? Poke him in the eye, hug him, he'll lick your face. Simon shoots fantastic photos and models well for photography - and I don't think it would be hard at all to start training him to really hold a pose when the lens clicks, like Riley. William Wegman has his crew, maybe mine will be Corgis. With less silly wigs.

Or maybe... just maybe he's got another calling, and maybe I'm just trying to avoid really accepting it for some strange reason. The other night I came home and he wanted to play ball. I was tired, had a long day at work, and had more work to do. I didn't want to play ball. Simon wanted to play ball - he always wants to play ball. I tossed it a few times down the hall and then hid it under a sofa cushion. Fooled you! I think.

A few minutes later I hear him rushing back and forth in the living room, nose up, intent. He's air-scenting, you see him touch down on things. The TV stand, the toy box full of dog toys. The dog baskets. A blanket. And then he finds the ball hidden under that cushion and pulls it out, and brings it to me to throw.

I forget about making myself a cup of tea and sitting down with the laptop for a few. I hide the ball again. Simon finds it. I lock him in the bathroom, hide the ball again in the living room. This time he stares at me, confused, and I say, "Hey, find it." He looks at me, and then you see the light turn on, and the nose start to go. This time it takes longer, but he finds it. He's all proud of himself. I'm proud of him. His tail is doing helicopters, and I totally forget the rough day I've had. We goof around with hiding the ball and finding it faster and faster, we start to change rooms. Is the ball in the kitchen? Is it in the bedroom? My tea water gets cold.

Caleb watches from the kitchen but doesn't bother to leave the teakettle - hot water means dinner. Who wants a silly slimy ball, seriously. Can't eat the stupid ball. Hmm, maybe he is a lot smarter after all... ;)

You know... my regular SAR group meets at the end of the month.

(And with that, we're off tomorrow morning to Denver for Thanksgiving. This month has just been crazy, wow.)


Red Dog Mom said...

Simon sounds like a dream of a dog who could take you ANY direction your heart desires - except maybe the breed ring. Cardigans can be awesome SAR dogs - Barb Brown had the first Cardi certified to do cadaver work. I would say try everything with Simon, he'll tell you what he loves the most; they all do. But also decide what you enjoy the most, you have to find some balance there or neither one of you will have fun.

dreameyce said...

I know how upsetting it can be for a dog to come to you with hope, and promise for what you wanted to do with it, and have that hope, and promise flop. It's sad, and a shame.

Despite what so many people in SAR say about Corgwn (being short), I don't think they're at all inhibited in the woods, or anywhere by their short legs, at least not any more inhibited than their handlers *G* I wish I had the budget to do SAR training with Galaxy, as like Simon, there's potential.

If the dog is willing, able, and the handler ready to go, why not? You may just save lives! Get out there, have fun, work your dog, and make all us Cardi people proud!

dreameyce said...

Also, it doesn't hurt to keep him intact a few years, put the paper bag over him, and reevaluate show quality later. There's nothing wrong with finishing a mature dog!

Never know, in a few years he may come back together, and be that dream show dog you've wanted, so a CH can be added to his resume!

Renay said...

I havent seen Simon...but we call the 12 to 18 month age the awkard least for our corgi boys. Maybe he will grow up some yet and be better than you think? If not it doesd sound like there are lots of things he would enjoy doing with you.

2Grandmas2 said...

I say go with tracking...and if you find a class can you let me know? I have a long legged Pemmie who would be amazing.


Dune Cardigans said...

It's very hard to change focus with a dog that you want so very much to be one way - and just isnt. I have had my fair share of hard decisions to make. I had a very wise breeder tell me that some dogs are meant to be bed dogs (aka not-show-dogs) and that we all NEED bed dogs.

If you want to pursue the road less traveled with Si, then do it! I LOVE hearing about Cardigan firsts - they happen all the time. Frist tracking ch., first triple champion, first this or that. And I certainly think Simon is the dog to blaze his own path!

It's very very rewarding to a breeder too to have titles at the other end of the name. ;) Those count (most of them) toward ROM awards too.

Even if Simon got his CH, what would you do with him after that? I hate the thought of leaving Hunter just sit at home and do nothing. That is why we have moved on to agility and herding. Just couldnt waste the brain-power!

We all want to hear about his achievements in the future!