Friday, May 18, 2007

... and the Agony of Defeat ...

So, for the last week, my wife and I and the two dogs have been on the road -- we went to the Welsh Cardigan Corgi Nationals. If you are into the breed, the national show is the ultimate place to go -- there are other kinds of dogs there in the Agility part, but mostly it's Corgis, doing Rally, Obedience, Agility, and Confirmation, and if you don't know what those are don't worry, I expect I'll get to them someday.

Um. Anyway, this year, the gathering was in Pleasanton, California, which is just east of San Francisco, at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. We took the camper, set up among some of the other attendees, and spent several days there. Several hundred Corgis were there, more than you are apt to see anywhere else.

Learned a whole lot, truly

And since we've been putting Jude though some basic leash-obedience stuff, we thought, what the hell, we'll enter him in the Rally competition. (This is basically a somewhat kinder, gentler version of sit-stay-heel stuff, with some odd little tricks thrown in. You go out into a ring with your dog, a judge follows you around a course that is laid out with little signs that tell you what to do when you get to 'em.)

So, never having done this before, but knowing that Jude could do most of the tricks, we figured it would be fun.

Oh, it was that, all right.

Out there in this ring -- in the same way that a boxing match squared-circle is a ring -- about sixty feet on a side, we were trucking along just fine, when I looked down at Jude as he stopped.

I could read his mind:

Hey. I'm out here all alone with Daddy. Where is Momma? Where is my sister Layla?

Naturally, he starts to look for them. Sees Dianne, who is holding Layla in her lap.

Ah, There they are!

This is not a good thing, vis a vis the do-the-course-aspect of things, and Dianne realizes this when she sees Jude see her. So what she decides is the best course of action is to leap to her feet with Layla and run from the arena.

Momma! Where are you going? Why are you running? Is something after you?

And naturally, Jude, loyal packmember that he is, rushes to help. All of Daddy's sit-stay-heel commands are like pissing against the wind in a hurricane, and the technical term for what followed is DNQ -- did not qualify ...

I scooped him up and laughed all the way off the floor.

We got a chance to try again, early the next day, and this time, Dianne stuck Layla in a portable kennel behind a curtain and skedaddled out the door before Jude and I took the floor. Had it covered, we did.

We were doing fine until Layla, undeterred by the curtain, barked at us as we walked past.

Layla! Why are you barking? Are you trapped? Don't worry, I'll come bust you out ... !

The technical term is -- did I mention -- DNQ? But you have to laugh, because it was funny.

I think perhaps we need a bit more practice working our routine with distractions before we try this again. Especially in front of an audience that, while small, was very knowledgeable about such things. And the camera crew, of course. I wouldn't be surprised to see us show up on the blooper reel.

Meanwhile, I am pretty sure I got more than enough material for a novel. I'm thinking about a tea-cozy murder mystery set at a dog show: The Cardigan Corgi Kill. Seriously.

Well, okay, maybe it might be more funny than serious, but I think it would sell. People like dogs. Now if I can just work in doctors and Abraham Lincoln, I'll have a surefire bestseller ...


Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Should have named Jude Majnun...

Steve Perry said...

Funny. If we had gotten Layla first, that might have worked ...