My mom has been saying for a year that she wants me to get an AKC Junior Hunt Title. That’s fine with me. It means I get to go run out in the fields retrieving ducks, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
We’ve been working for a year on these special skills. As far as I’m concerned, you shoot a bird, and I retrieve the bird. Simple as that.
But for this Hunt Test thingy, you have to go through all this special protocol. You can’t talk to your dog here, but you can here. You can’t touch your dog. The old dead duck has to be delivered to the handler’s hand. You can’t say this or that. Pretty complicated if you ask me.
So, we’ve been practicing, and my mom felt like we were ready. She registered us to run today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) at the Atlanta Retriever Club test down below Newnan, Georgia.
Well, first off, it was raining. No, not raining. Thunderstorming, which meant everything was a muddy mess. And when you have a muddy mess in Georgia, you have a muddy mess to end all muddy messes. Red clay muddy mess!
You would have to understand my mom to see the irony in this. She can’t stand to have a spot on anything…not her clothes, her car, anything. She is a spot freak. So you can imagine how freaked out she was when her car looked like this:
So all these people were in their camo and rain gear and rain boots.
And my mom? Well, she was in blue jeans, a DockDogs t-shirt, her Nu Balance tennis shoes, and her North Oconee High School windbreaker. Oh yeah, and her UGA visor. She stood out like a soar thumb!
And me? Well, all of those dogs has bright orange collars or camo collars or something very “field doggish” looking. What did I have on? My collar with the pretty flowers on it.
What else did my mom do that was embarrassing? Well, all of the dogs were in special, really cool field dog kennels. Most looked like this:
All the other dogs drank water out of their little metal pails. What did I drink out of? My blue plastic water bowl. I could hear those dogs laughing with each lap I took.
Each time she came out, got in the car, and said, “Totally disgusting. I’d just as soon go out in the field and pee with you, Sally.” Well, Mom, what’s stopping you? Works for me.
The embarrassment only got worse as the day progressed. Later in the afternoon, we were walking down to the pond with three other ladies and this was how the conversation went:
Lady #1: Wow, will this rain ever end!
Lady #2: Maybe tomorrow?
My mom: Yeah, it’s pretty uncomfortable. I’m not a very outdoorsey type person.
Lady #2: (sarcastically) You don’t say. I think that’s pretty obvious from the way you’re dressed.
Lady #3: Yeah, you’re the only person out her in Nu Balance tennis shoes.
(All four laugh. At what, I have no idea.)
If I hadn’t have been on a leash, I would have ducked my head, turned and slinked away in total embarrassment.
To make a long story short, I didn’t pass today. I passed the two land retrieves. I passed the first water retrieve. But on the second water retrieve, I swam over to where you duck fell, but for some reason, I lost the scent and couldn’t find it.
But my mom was very proud of me. A lot of people said I looked good and showed plenty of field dog talent. They were impressed.
So I guess my mom in her Nu Balance and me in my flowered collar did okay for ourselves. We’re happy.
See you on the dock,
Sally, the Captain of Team 4 Dawg Flite
Proud members of Dixie Dock Dogs