In light of recent stuff, I am feeling a little gushy when it comes to my dogs. We’ll start with the dog that I can’t really even talk about without getting teary or goosebumpy, and you all know that dog is Kelso.

Kelso is 9 and a half years old.  He is healthy, I think, and he has more letters on his name than anybody (including me, at one point) thought he would.  But I don’t have to tell you how insignificant those letters are.  The dog IS my life story so far.  Sure other stuff has happened to me, other stuff that people might think would be more life-altering than one little dog could be, but those people would be wrong.  Somewhere up in the sky a long time ago some sort of catalyst occurred and Kelso was sent to me.  The vessel he came through was tragedy, and–no matter how it happens– through tragedy he will leave (but not for a very very long time).  For a couple of months now he has been having what I can only describe as night terrors.  He’s been examined up and down, and he’s seen a doggie PT for pain assessment, and we can’t figure it out.  He keeps having them, and he has them wherever we are.  He had them camping a few weeks ago, and he had them at a friend’s house, and last night he had a particularly rough time.  So, needless to say, I’m sort of a wreck about it.  I keep my cool most of the time but I have no idea what’s going on with my doggie soul mate, so that’s been pretty rough.  Next step is to take a walk on the eastern side of medicine, since the western side has tossed up its hands.  If anybody has any insight on this, please comment, please oh please. 

Now onto the dog I’m almost never sappy about.  That’s right, I’m about to get all warm and gooey over the beast.  She really is amazing.  She is brilliant and sweet.  In performance dogs people talk about evaluating litters and picking puppies first on breeding, second on temperament, third on structure, and fourth on heart.  Some people mix these criteria up a little, for me it went like this: find a breeder I can buy from and still sleep at night, I found that in Joan Fouty of Quail Creek Ranch. Then, I immediately ruled out any and all puppies that appeared at all shy or fearful of me or my dad when we showed up (this actually ruled out the two I had picked based on looks before meeting them, funny how the world works).  Then I had about 5 puppies to look at structurally and I stacked them all and felt them all over and did my very very best as a relative amateur at structural evaluation.  I then narrowed my selection down to two gorgeous black tri girls, and went out to play with them to pick.  The dog that would become Idgie raced through the snow banks on the ranch, leapt over the lowest rung on a log fence, grabbed a pine cone, spit it at my feet, and all but demanded to come with me and learn agility.  She and I frolicked off into the sunrise, playing get-dat-pine cone! and all was decided.  That’s what these people were talking about when they talked about “heart.”  Which dog has that go-get-em attitude, which dog is game?  Idgie is game, and she always was.  She is turning two next month, and she and I are a total team these days.  She is my running partner, my agility teammate, and is teaching me all kinds of things.  I don’t think I often express it enough; I frickin’ love this dog.  

That’s all the sap for now. I think it’s really important, especially for people involved in any kind of competitive training with their dogs, for people to stop and remember how amazing these creatures are.  So don’t forget it! 

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