Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Summer of Change

Fast forward to July 31, 2007. The day things changed for the worse. I was in Waukesha, Wisconsin for a dog show. I travelled there to show Hawk in conformation. I opted to take Sydney with me so that the two dogs would be company for each other. Earlier in July, Syd and Hawk travelled to Houston, TX with me for dog shows, and they both had a great time. On this particular day in Wisconsin, the air was hot and muggy. The dog show was outside. I entered Sydney for two days, just to get her some practice, and also so that she could experience an outdoor show. At just 7 months old, she was still pretty well carefree and up for any new adventure. Sydney showed very well, and she won Winners Bitch and Best of Winners. Her first points in the show ring. I opted to wait to have her photo taken with the judge. That was the biggest mistake EVER.

The judge was behind schedule, so we had to wait through Rough and Smooth Collies to have our photo done. There was very little air inside the tent, and I had Sydney laying down under the steward table, licking on some ice cubes to keep her occupied. I think we waited nearly 45 minutes, and Syd's puppy restlessness started to get the best of her. I finally got her to lay back down and watch the other dogs in the ring. At one point, she was laying quietly, concentrating on the dogs she could see out in front of her, just watching them all go by. In an instant, a tri-color Rough Collie walked behind us, and inadvertently stepped on the very tip end of Sydney's tail as it peeked out from under the table. There was no malicious intent from the Collie, he never even knew he did anything to upset my little Cardigan. And to me, it was just a minor little thing, nothing to get upset about.

Sydney had another take on the situation, though. Because this was a surprise to her, and she did not see the big, hairy Collie approach her, when she felt her tail get stepped on, she wheeled around to see what was going on. The big dog so close to her really startled her, and she nearly flew to the opposite end of her leash, taking me by surprise. She squealed and carried on as if someone had just pinched her. People nearby wondered what happened.

Syd recovered from that event, and I put it out of my mind. No big deal, right? Well, that's what I thought. She's fine, no harm done, it was just a silly puppy overreacting. Unfortunately, I learned that this one tiny little event seemed to play a major role in how Sydney perceives other dogs and escalated at the next dog show we attended...

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