I suppose I am different than most people…no, I know I am different than most people, but I suppose I am different than most show dog owners. I have no kennel runs, no exercise paddocks, no dog room…well, I do have a dog room. It is any room I am in at the time. Wherever I am, my Cairn (DeeDee), IG (Pepe) and Scottie (Bernie) will be too. This normally works out fine.
My day begins with the dogs waking me between 6:30 and 7:00 to be let out. (Hopefully that will change to 7:30 to 8:00 on Sunday when we switch over to Daylight Savings time.) After a short romp in the backyard, they will all demand to be let back in for breakfast. After breakfast, we all return the backyard for a cup of tea & some serious squirrel threatening (I can’t really call it hunting. They almost never catch anything).
Hopefully by 8:00, I can sit down at the computer and begin answering e-mails and reviewing unpublished show reports, while the Terriers post up at the window to object to anyone who dares walk down the street. Even though it’s a deadend street and the dogs have lived here all their lives, they still object to sharing it with the neighbors, much less the occasional stranger. Their vigilance soon turns to boredom and a mid-morning nap. The rest of the day is filled with me exercising and entertaining the dogs and me trying to get in some computer time in between while the dogs are napping.
But that’s the normal routine, the relative tranquility of which is totally destroyed when DeeDee comes into season. It was bad enough when the very laid-back Bernie was the only male in the house, but now that the totally hyper Pepe is with us, her “time” becomes a surreal episode of the “Dog Whisperer.” To make a bad situation worse, DeeDee is one of those alpha bitches that insists on coming into season three times a year. (She also lifts her leg just to be one of the guys.) As soon as DeeDee and the boys let me know that chaos is near, DeeDee becomes a resident of the downstairs bath, which affords us the security of placing two closed doors between the boys and her.
Now, feeding and exercise time become more logistically complex than a Navy Seals raid on an Al Qaeda safe house. Before exercising and feeding the wanton DeeDee, the boys must be corralled and placed in the heavy-duty steel crates, the ones with double latches and chew-proof walls. While the Pepe screams in protest and Bernie sulks, I accompany DeeDee outside for 15 minutes of leaving her calling card at every available part of the backyard. I dare not just open the door and let her go about her business; this girl needs more chaperones than a Sicilian 15-year-old. She is then returned to her cloister, and the frat boys are released. They immediately hit the backyard on a sexually charged Easter egg hunt. Now & then tensions will boil over, usually when Pepe suggests an alternative lifestyle. This inevitably results in Pepe hiding under my chair rethinking what seemed like a good idea.
Happily, DeeDee will be out on parole in a couple of days and life will return to normal, well, normal for this show dog owner. (I did tell you that the Cat Fanciers Association allows you to show spays & neuters in separate competition, right?) And that’s today’s Back Story.