~ submitted by Tracy Thorliefson
Ellie qualified in Rally Advanced and Excellent both days at the Olympic Kennel Club dog shows in Enumclaw this past weekend. She had scores of 98, 97, 96 and 95 and in one class of 21 dogs placed third. With these "q's" Ellie earned the RAE title.
This is not a particularly difficult title to achieve, you just have to double qualify in both Advanced and Excellent ten times. Last fall, when I realized that Ellie already had 8 legs, I decided that we might as well go for the title. She would be 10 in January, but still loved to play at obedience. I started taking her to Rally class with Griffey and she had a ball. (Plentiful amounts of cookies are involved so what's not to love?) I looked at the upcoming show schedule and planned to enter her at the Seattle Kennel Club shows in March.
Then, in February, she was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. She had surgery (her tumor-ridden spleen was removed) and then she had chemotherapy. While having chemo she was prohibited from going to dog class because chemo suppresses the immune system. Other than losing all her hair, she tolerated chemo really well. Nonetheless, I never thought that she would go to a dog show again, much less compete.
But Ellie finished chemo and seems to be doing really well -- eating, playing with Griffey, barking at the neighbor dogs and hogging the bed. I took her back to Rally class, where despite some foggy moments she showed she still remembered what "heel" means. So, I decided to enter her at the Enumclaw shows. Why not try for one last title?
We went, we competed, and we qualified -- title earned and goal achieved. But doing this with Ellie, under these circumstances, felt totally different than past shows and rally trials. I can get impatient or exasperated at stupid mistakes (mine and whatever dog I'm with), rue the lost points, plan the next training strategy, and focus on how to get better next time. That didn't happen this weekend. I was pleased with the decent scores and thrilled with the third place in such a big class, but mostly I was just grateful to be there, with Ellie, one last time. I appreciated her and her efforts and was happy with what we accomplished. So -- small brag but big life lesson. Remember to appreciate each moment for what it is and be happy that your dog is there to share it with you.
God willing, I will have Ellie with me for many more months/years. I hope that I will remember the life lesson for just as long.
Go hug your dog(s) tonight and be glad that they share your life. I know I'm just a little more mindful about how grateful I am for their companionship today than I was last week.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
For some time she has wanted to do something to help fight the mandatory spay/neuter legislation in our country. She knows how hard breeders work to build and maintain their lines, spending so much time & effort researching pedigrees, herding instinct, good conformation, sound structure, type, and temperament. She knows that so often a litter produced does not mean money produced, that breeding is a labor of love. The legislation toward mandatory s/n bothers her so much on behalf of ethical breeders, lumping them in where they don't belong and increasing the financial cost of a pursuit that is already so costly.
She's designed some breed graphics that can be printed on various items (shirts, hats, bags, etc), and is making it available at her store on CafePress. It's pretty simple, making the point that without great breeders we wouldn't have the breeds that we love so much.
She will donate a minimum of 10% of the profits of these sales to the NAIA Trust, which is the best organization she's found taking action against this legislation. If you belong to a club who places a bulk order for shirts, tote bags, etc, she will also donate a portion to your club's rescue committee. Please contact her if you place such an order so she will know and be able to send the donation to the right place.
CafePress Store: http://www.cafepress.com/Fetching_Design
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fetching-Design/142308212527074