Monday, November 23, 2009
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.)