Note to my fellow dog-bloggers: thank you! This blog has proved to be an unscientific experiment showing that dog people read and respond to each other's blogs far more frequently than chicken people.
Now back to Alanis' story.
This morning we discovered sardines mashed in water after I prodded her along by holding up a piece of sardine enticingly in front of her nose. I fed her outside because she seemed more comfortable there. After scrubbing my hands with lavender soap, I wondered if I would be smelling sardines all day. Sardine-flavored dog kisses, sardine breath. At least she ate and drank a little.
How did this dog ever travel with a handler to strange, new places and prance around a show ring with enough spunk to win her championship? Certainly Darwin could have, if I had wanted to spend thousands of dollars and send him away with a handler, thus depriving myself of his company for a year.
The first time he heard a firecracker explode in a neighbor’s yard, he ran toward the noise, barking, and then back to me, as if to tell me there was something exciting happening and we should join in.
I stripped the last yellow grape tomatoes off the vines and tossed them into the chicken pen. Watching the chickens pecking and scratching, Alanis pawed at the wire gate. She circled the pen, interested, but not in a hunter’s crouch.
I took Darwin with me to my son’s soccer game. Walking on leash beside the field, he suddenly began stalking a shape in the long grass ahead. His body flattened down, neck extended, legs lifting high and slow. All his attention was fixed on that shape. It was a little girl, one of the player’s younger sisters, sitting in the grass. Swallowing a laugh, I let Darwin continue the stalk. Several yards away, he saw or smelled what the “animal” was. His head went up and his tail wagged as he trotted forward, ready to be petted.