January 15, 2013

Ode to the one who started it all.....

“Dogs are our link to paradise. 
They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. 
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” 
― Milan Kundera

(hmmm can't seem to upload from the computer any pictures) so here is an oldie. Gidget is on the left in her hay day :-) 

Happy Birthday to our Gidget aka Her Royal Highness. She is 15 today. She was born Reigal Q Belong to Me call name Celine on this day in 1998. She originally lived on a farm with a menagerie of other animals. She was not let out much and became a "runner." She was soon offered 'free to a good home' and thankfully my sister was working there at the time and brought the two of us together. She knew nothing. Not sit, certainly not stay, and she would run in the opposite direction if you called her name. She was our first dog as a married couple and she was 2.5. I from a horse farm and animal dependent, he from a town, taught to fear dogs and with zero animal experiences. She was the perfect first dog. I didn't tell him she was coming :-) He had a fit until she jumped up on his lap and just looked at him with her big eyes. He renamed her, well she really picked it but he came up with it. It was a week trial, I'll take her back on Friday. She never left and she is still his dog. She will only answer to him, just stands and stares at me like I speak some foreign tongue she never really got a handle on. 

My addiction to agility and papillons was all started with her. I had never had a pure bred dog before and I never had to teach one anything. Ours on the farm were always rescues and seemed to come already wired with all of the necessary skills needed to hang with kids and horses. It suddenly hit me, I have no idea how to teach a dog to sit, stay, or come. So the journey began. I began looking for more information about the breed and found agility on the AKC website, which led me to a local club JAG, which led me to watch my first trial, which then led me to other papillon owners. It is a much bigger circle now but our roots are still there at JAG. Many now don't know who she is but there are a few left that still remember our starting journey and the miracle that is her novice titles. 

Gidget is a princess first and foremost. She did not acquiesce to perform all obstacles but enjoyes the table most of all. She sat upon her royal throne waving to the crowd or sniffing the air. She does not climb the A frame or turn when asked but she did enjoy the chute and hiding in tunnels when it was hot. She does not go out in the rain. She liked jumps until one deigned to fall down near her, it took 4 months to agree to go near one again. Oh and we will only perform 8 weave poles, 12 is way to tiring. For four years and many styles and trainers I have only managed 8-10 weave poles. I had someone once tell me. I can get her to weave in three days. "HA," she said to that. "Oh and I used to like the clicker until I figured out you were using it to get me to do things. I then turned my tail walked away and never looked back at the clicker. Now it scares me terribly and you may not use it in the house!"

She likes people most of all so I managed to get her CGC (canine good citizen) and TDI (therapy dog international). Using the people as rewards I managed
to get our NA & NAJ in AKC. It was her MACH and that's O.K. because she has many other charms about her. She managed to charm my mother-in-law who was deeply afraid of dogs and she was the official greeter and lap warmer to any who visited, whether you like dogs or not :-) She never barked in the house and she is the only dog that gets along with my second papillon Rocket (he has a suitcase full of issues). Although she still doesn't have the best recall she rarely has accidents in the house. 

All these years later, she is going blind (definately in one eye) and is frightened easily by loud noises. She doesn't like to sit with us in the living room any more and prefers the quiet of the bed under the desk in the office. Its right in front of the heat and air conditioning vent. She can't navigate the stairs any longer (not that she ever did that well on them). She would go up the hardwood stairs backwards but now even falls going down. So she spends most of her days in her special basket coming out to check on us now and then, or barking to demand her dinner at 5pm on the dot just like the elderly at the diner. Oh and breakfast is promptly at 6:30am regardless if it is a Sunday or I will bark until you get up and come down stairs to wait upon me. 

But she will always come to greet a visitor and still is in charge of the household. Not one of the boys would even think about getting out of line with her. It amazes me. She never growls or even lifts a lip at them. She just gets really still and freezes. They get a worried look in their eye and give her very wide berth and politely wait until she is done eating. Lol amazing! She still likes her walks and sunning herself in the yard and it breaks my heart that one day she will no longer be out there among my flower beds just soaking in the sun and smells around her. 

My quiet easy going soul of a dog. My soft soul. My most loving of souls. I never really connected with her, I just didn't speak her language and by the time I learned it she was to old to do agility. I like to think that she saved me though. Saved me from a life that would have been so very boring with out agility. Saved me from not having the other dogs that I do now and saved my husband from not ever knowing the joy of loving a dog. 

Happy birthday Gidget!! Thank you for starting and joining us on this wonderful journey. 

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