Why? Why is this decision so damn hard to make? Why does my heart feel like it’s being torn in two in this tug of war between what my heart sees and what my head knows?
In August of 2010, I saw a picture a collie breeder posted of a recent litter. The puppies in the picture were three days old and there was a face in there (the third one on the left, for anyone who has ever slightly followed this tale) that took my breath away. Three days old…and I told the breeder I wanted that puppy. Nine weeks later, after multiple reasons why I couldn’t/shouldn’t/didn’t need that puppy, he came home with me. I said the first time he reached top ten ranking status, the day I took him home, we never looked back.
I’m looking back now. I watched that beautiful, tri smooth male puppy grow into a precocious, head-strong, beautiful juvenile male. I didn’t think we would survive his puppyhood. If he could pull it into his kennel run or his crate, he destroyed it. The coup de grâce was at the Tulsa national when he ate four feet of the power cord for the high-powered dryer. I still don’t know how he managed to pull the cord into his crate as he was specifically put into an airline crate to avoid such destruction. And, then he left puppyhood behind him. And that precocious puppy turned into a beautiful, well-balanced teenager. His head lengthened one last time during this stage and that teenager became a stunning, impressive, beautiful adult.
For nine years, we’ve been in the show ring together. I can count on one hand the people I’ve trusted to take him in the ring for me. I cannot even begin to recount the judges who have given him wins and group placements at all-breed shows. Nor can I recount the specialty judges who have rewarded his virtues. If I tried, I would forget someone, and I don’t want to forget any of the judges who have given him the nod. To the judges who have rewarded his virtues, I simply offer a heartfelt and humble “Thank you.”
He’ll still travel with me, because…well, because he can. He has one last show circuit rapidly approaching. Win or lose, the Royal Canin show in December in Orlando will be his last time in the ring as a champion being campaigned for a coveted top ten ranking placement.
I’m looking back through a haze of tears. To his breeders, Bertha Garrison and Sarah Kelley, thank you for letting me have another tri smooth male that I truly didn’t need. To every judge who ever rewarded his virtues, thank you. To his ringside fans and cheering section, thank you. To his co-owner, Jacque Bailey, who said probably the hardest words she’s ever said to anyone when she said, “I don’t want to see you showing him if he isn’t going to be competitive”—thank you for loving him as much as I do and providing that extra little nudge my heart needed to make this decision. And to Vander—GCHP2 Bandor’s The Wyching Hour—it has been my honor and my privilege to be the person holding your lead and knowing no matter the outcome of a subjective process, I will always be taking the best dog home.
My blog is where I do most of my venting about all sorts of things--book scammers, book stuffers, book thieves (I refuse to call them 'pirates' because I won't insult pirates), stupid crap that happens at dog shows. You never know what you'll read in this blog because I don't ever know what I'm going to write until I start writing.