Aug 9, 2014

The Desperate Desolation of Doglessness Can Only Be Satisfied by a Dog Show

So I'm going to put it out there that while I miss having a dog and the loss of Matilda at the end of last year was an unexpected tragedy, I am viewing things holistically. I remember back in the day when Eloise was a toddler and we used to take the dogs out every day that - and this wasn't the dogs' fault at all - while it got us out of the house and getting exercise and all that, it was extremely time consuming and often actually not all that enjoyable for Eloise or me, as we would inevitably end up battling with one another because it just isn't possible for a toddler to keep up any sort of pace for any sort of distance without getting distracted and/or tired.

And the Brisbane attitude to dogs - that you walk them round the block if you feel like it, then take them to a fenced-in dog area and throw stuff for them to fetch - has never resonated with any of us. Dogs deserve more, and while it is possible to indulge them - and God knows our dogs were indulged to within an inch of their lives - the occasional rule needs to be broken, and miles need to be traveled in cars in order to get to the appropriate venue.

So all in all it's time consuming, and a lot of hassle to have a dog and to treat it properly. Don't get me wrong, it's enjoyable and rewarding, but it's no bed of roses.

Still Nicole and Eloise miss the dogs, and Lyra just loves dogs, and I'm sure that if and when we get one (or two if they have their way), they intend to do their bit - in theory.

But in practice it'll be Muggins who gets lumbered and I sort of think that that should give me a casting vote.

Notwithstanding all that Grand Bandstanding I'm reasonably sure it's a debate (let's not call it an argument) that I will lose eventually. As far as I'm concerned as long as the concept of dogs remains in the long grass, so to speak, the better.

So it was with some trepidation that I remembered that when we saw our friend Peter at the Kelvin Grove  Markets a couple of weeks back with Roman his Rhodesian Ridgeback (well one of several) he mentioned that he had a Dog Show coming up, and I put it in the diary, knowing that Eloise at least would enjoy it.

As it transpired Nicole was available too and we decided that we would all go down to Durack to see the Australian Championship of the Rhodesian Ridgeback world - serious business!

Peter's a big wheel in the Queensland Ridgeback game and he and his friend Cyndy had played huge parts in organising the event. We didn't pay too much attention to what was going on - just soaking up the atmosphere - but it all seemed to be running very smoothly and any frazzledness was handled in a very ducks-legs fashion with no apparent surface distress at all.

As per Dog Show normality, there were some fine beasts on parade. I think at Dog Shows if you're going to really appreciate what it's actually about then the people-watching should take a back seat to the dog-watching; at the end of the day all the smart dress and prancing around in their best pumps does look a bit ridiculous but it isn't the owners or the breeders that are on show. Thanks God.

Afterwards the Ridgies went off for some Lure Coarsing. Peter gave me Anza to look after, while he kept Roman by his side. Anza is Roman's mother, a big lure-coarsing fan and built like the proverbial brick hit-house. It had been a while since I had tried to restrain a dog that really didn't want to be restrained, and it made me realise just how much our dogs calmed down through their lives, because this dog was seriously passionately interested about getting over that fence and chasing that plastic bag around that field.

Every time a dog went in and the motor spun up and the rope dragged that white plastic bag lure away Anza was straining to leap after it just as the dog in the ring was. And that bitch, that 40-odd kg of bitch was seriously strong, almost pulling me off my feet, trying to get her head through the squares of the fence. I was in a warrior's pose, one leg braced, the other behind, torso forward, lead in both hands, and she was still pulling me along, much to everybody's amusement.

She quietened down after a while and I chatted to a couple of people. I thought that she'd finally got the message. She was just worrying away at the lead now.

I got the fright of my life as the gate was opened for round two and one dog came out and another went in and Anza's lead - which she'd actually been quietly chewing through - broke in two and she belted through the gap in the gate, Peter and two others grabbing her collar but she broke free and was off into the field with not a thing anyone could do about it except laugh at my naive stupidity and Peter's inability to get his dog back as Anza hammered across the field, jumped the lure and ripped the non-existent life from its plastic heart.

I went and got the car.

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