I’ve been trying for a week to figure out how to articulate something I’m sure many other dog people have experienced. I’m equally sure many of those people have explained the phenomenon much better than I ever will.
But here goes.
Something shifted in my relationship with Jack last Sunday. I can tell you the exact moment it happened, though I didn’t realize it until a couple of hours later. The shift was subtle, but also paradigm shifting for me.
He became my partner, my true friend, a piece of me.
I know that sounds over the edge for lots of people, even people who love animals. But something shifted as I crossed the start threshold with him at the ORT. We became more than just handler and canine. We became a team. He understood what I asked him to do, and he did it. Willingly. With joy. I watched him work that hide in awe of his abilities, knowing I had to trust him completely to show me where it was, and that he would show me.
More than just me reading his alert.
I asked him to do something.
He agreed to do it.
He gave me information.
I understood what he told me.
A team. A partnership. A friendship truly from the heart.
So the comedy of the absurd continued the week before the ORT.
Friday the 6th I got off work and realized the middle toe of my right foot hurt really, really bad. As in I could barely walk. As in someone released a horde of fire ants on my toe.
Got home from work, took off my shoes and socks. Yep, infected at the site of my self-surgery. Three days prior I removed the corner of my toenail because frankly, it annoyed me growing into the edge of my toe.
The morning of Saturday, September 6 revealed a toe in dire need of antibiotics. So off to the Minute Clinic we went.
Fast forward five days, one Z-Pack, one more self-surgery to lance the infected area and toe is all better.
Now on to the ORT yesterday.
WE PASSED WE PASSED WE PASSED WE PASSED WE PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It totally rocked-even before we passed. What a community dog people create. Just amazing atmosphere.
We ran third in the first group for birch. I think that was the perfect running place. Not first, but not late in the order.
Now on to training for Nose Work 1 trial.
The members of the NACSW discussion group are a great bunch of folks. I sent out a plea for advice yesterday to help me deal with my nerves over the upcoming ORT. I’ve been overwhelmed by the thoughtful, supportive responses.
I kept tonight’s practice pretty short-only three searches with one hide each. Also kept them simple. We stopped with Jack almost begging to keep working.
To watch some advanced K9 Nose Work teams and see what it’s all about check out posts on the K9 Nose Work Blog here, here, here, and here.