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Finding something to do

April 2, 2020

There is nothing I love better than to delve into a good book. Food for the mind and balm for the soul. Now into the second or third week of the self-quarantine restrictions, it seems that the big bag of books I had previously checked out of the library … have all been read.

Now, by state declaration, our library is “closed until further notice.”

So I am working my way through my old collection of pre-read books from my shelves. Some are pretty good on the second take and others haven’t really seasoned well with age and so I give them about 50 pages and then back to the boxes.

I look at my now unused library card like an old friend I haven’t seen in a long while.

How ever do I get through an evening without fresh books?

Perhaps it’s boredom but I have been passing a lot of time watching the big Crufts Dog Show 2020 on my laptop. The huge show is held in the United Kingdom and it is perfect entertainment.

The event lasts for four days and dogs from all over the world come to show their fluff and stuff.

There are plenty of little puff balls with their fluffy tails groomed to perfection and waving like plumes over their backs. There are other groups like the field champions (think Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, and Labs) and the pastoral dogs (think Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs). Some are miniatures and others are enormous like the Great Danes and Bernese Mountain Dogs and some are working-class dogs, like the retrievers and of course the service and rescue dogs.

There are also different classes of competitions in which winners move forward to higher levels competition.

I love the agility competitions for various sizes. There is a course of jumps and turns and tunnels the dogs must run through and then there is something called the “weaves” where poles are set up and the dogs must enter on their right shoulder and then weave through to the end. Handlers can yell and make hand signals, but must never touch the dog. The dog must complete a “clear” course with no penalties under tight times.

The dogs that are good are really good and very fast. Their owners stay just ahead of them and there is an amazing bond which seems to direct the enthusiastic and sometimes barking, barking, barking dogs. Excitement reigns.

I also enjoy the “Fly Ball” competition in which a relay team of dogs must run down a lane and hit the board at the end which pops out a ball and then they have to catch it and turn and run back. They are out if they drop the ball and the fastest team wins. There’s so much screaming I don’t know how the dogs can concentrate.

There are also exhibitions by dog rescue groups. These are the dogs that were abandoned and some abused and ended up being saved by shelters or rescue groups. They are without a doubt the most fun to watch. After seeing so many beautiful cultivated dogs run a perfect course then here come the ones which are very nicely called “crosses.”

These guys come out with their handlers and some run the course (sort of) and some are more interested in the audience or sniffing the carpet. My favorite was a big, furry fellow who looked like he was going to stay on course and then like the clown that he is, he took a sharp turn and loped across to the tunnels and would go in one end and then the handler would have to wait to see what end it might come out of. Sometimes it stopped inside and after a long while was seen just playing peek-a-boo and getting a huge laugh (which you could tell it loved). On its way back around the course he pulled one of the jumping poles down and dragged it along in his mouth as he continued on.

Beyond all the American Kennel Club perfect examples, that guy was the one that melted my heart. I really think that he and Ivy Claire (my wire hair fox terrier) would have clicked.

He was the best example of a true clownish, big-hearted dog that would love kids and cats and other dogs — and most importantly could make his people laugh every day!

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