"Down on the sit, Twit Roll on the down, Brown Stay on the Heel, Seal Spin on the Stand, Sand
Two calls for the come, Bum Sit still on the eight, Mate Stop on the slow, Whoa Heckle your neighbor, Saber
Snarl at the judge, Fudge Leave the ring fast, Blast
Freak at the hat, Bat
Poop in the ring, King
50 ways to fail at Novice."
Mom sang to me all the way home from the dog show. She made up funny ways to fail at Novice. She said I didn’t do all of them. Only one of them. And nobody snarled at the judge. And nobody left the ring. This time.
But she says that I Not Quited again. This means I failed.
But she was wrong!
I heeled and heeled and heeled. I sat when Mom stopped. Well, once I forgot and another time I almost forgot. I was perfect on the Stand -To-Be-Petted. I ran to Mom when she called. I did sniff the Posts. But only to see if they had cookies in their pockets. That made me late. I did watch the Judge to see if he was friendly, too. That made me slow down when Mom didn't. But I remembered to stay with Mom when she ran off across the ring. And I stayed with her when the judge ran us under the ring ropes.
But I did NOT heckle my neighbors. I did not. I politely sniffed them. Both days. Mom said that if I had sniffed from where she left me, it would have been OK. But I got up to sniff. I had to say Hi. How can you say Hi if you don’t sniff? I had to step close to the Rat Terror. And I had to visit T-Bone, too. I know him from dog school. I got up to say Hi, what did you have for breakfast? His mouth was what Mom calls St. Bernard irresistible. I call it big and drooly.
Mom says we have work to do. But she said that because of me, she is no longer afraid to fail. She says this is a big relief. She says this makes her not even Sub-Nervous. And she said that SHE was perfect, even if I wasn't. And all because of me.
We finally had dinner. Mom finally had dinner, too. Dinner revived me and Jib. Dinner revived the Tri Trio. Dinner even revived Mom.
After we rested our tummies, the Collie Jollies romped and barked outside with each other. Mom romped and barked with the dishwasher. Then, in a fit of energy, she called us inside and brushed ALL of us. Even Tavish.
Jib and I jumped up on the hearth to show the Trio how it was done. We got cookies. Drummer jumped up on the hearth and Mom brushed him. He grumbled when she picked up his feet to brush the monkey fur out of his feathers. Mom told him to Knock It Off! He Knocked It Off. Then he got cookies. Jamie couldn’t jump up, so Mom brushed him on the floor. Mom gave Jamie a hug and cookies. Then Tavish jumped up and got brushed and cookies, too.
And then we played Drive-By! Mom sat on the couch and all of us circled around Mom. We went one direction around the piano. Then we turned around and went the other direction around the piano. Each time we passed in front of Mom, she did something fun. Sometimes she gave us a cookie. Sometimes she gave us a pat and a scritch. And sometimes she swiped us with the brush. Jamie drove by the most. He really liked this game. Drummer drove by lots of times, too.
When I couldn’t smell cookies in Mom’s pocket any more, I lay down on Drummer’s blanket and watched. Jib went into his crate to dig a bit of freeze dried chicken breast out of his Kong. Tavish lay down across the room and wagged his tail.
But Drummer and Jamie kept playing! Mom said she pulled quite a bit of undercoat from Jamie’s kilts and rear end. She brushed Drummer’s ruff until it was smooth and shiny. When she said, “OK, enough,” Jamie still wanted to play. But Mom put the brush away so Jamie had to stop. Drummer gave Mom a big collie lean and Jamie rubbed Mom with his head .
We ran! We barked! We played soccer! I got the ball! Tavish played Tug with me. Drummer got the ball! Zoe got Drummer! Well, she didn’t GET Drummer, she just told him who was Boss Lady.
Sailor says that Drummer needs to be reminded. He bullies Jamie. He bullies Tavish. He doesn’t bully ME. And now he doesn’t even think about bullying Zoe. Mom laughed. She loves watching Zoe being Boss Lady. She says that’s why she has all boys.
We ran some more! We barked some more!
I am tired. Sailor is tired. Drummer is tired. Jamie is asleep with his head on the bottom step. Tavish is NOT tired. But Tavish is in my crate, pretending to rest.
All was quiet last night. Very quiet. Our guests slept. And slept. All night. Mom was surprised. I was surprised. Jib didn’t care much one way or the other.
It was quiet until almost-light when the Dog Goddess came by and started taking flash pictures of me. Then she made the sky BOOM!
I lifted my head and decided to go back to sleep. She can visit me again when I’m awake and brushed and ready to pose. Jib got up and went to see if Mom was scared of the noise. Mom said, “Good dog, we’re fine,” and Jib went back to sleep. I listened to see if the Tri Trio was OK and I didn’t hear a thing. So I guess they don’t mind the Dog Goddess, either.
We all slept until past morning and just as Mom was ready to go downstairs, Tavish started barking. Mom said, “Eight o’clock, not bad.” I thought, "Eight bells, very good." Jib didn’t think. He ran downstairs to visit with the Tri Trio. And then we all got to go outside and run amok.
Right after Mom let us out, she reminded us of her lecture about Just Who Was In Charge. Yesterday she reminded each of alone and all of us together. She reminded Tavish to pay attention this morning, too, because yesterday he was booping Zoe while Mom gave us The Lecture, and Zoe couldn’t pay attention. Neither could Tavish. But he listened this morning.
We ran and Jamie barked and Jib chased his Frisbee and Tavish and Jib played tug with the Frisbee and Mom called Tavish and he came running. Mom threw the Frisbee and everyone went running after it and Jamie barked and Drummer shouldered him out of the way and Tavish caught the Frisbee and brought it back to Mom.
Then Mom threw the small soccer ball and Jamie said, “This is more like it!” We raced to see who could pick it up first and we played keep away. Then we realized it was more fun to bring the ball back to Mom because she would throw it again. And she did. Over and over. And Jamie was the happiest I have ever seen him.
Well, I didn’t play fetch and run. I stayed with Mom in case the boys decided to knock her over. Anyway, I could smell meatballs in her pocket and I’d rather be close to them than chasing an old ball, anyway.
Mom put the ball away and we went galloping to the back to find squirrels. Mom called Tavish to her and he came running all the way from the squirrel trees right to her. So did Jamie and Drummer. And me and Jib. I ran fast because Mom had meatballs in her pockets. Tavish was the only one who got a meatball this morning, though. Hmmmph. And he got another one when she called him off a squirrel and he came running. Double hmmmph.
Mom said that Tavish is being a model guest. She was ready to pounce if he was naughty with her books, but so far all he has done is sniff the titles, look over his shoulder at Mom, and plunk himself down at her feet. And he was perfect on his walk with her, too. He didn’t pull on his leash one time and kept up with her and didn’t sniff the bushes or pee everywhere. Mom is perplexed, whatever that means. She says she can’t find fault with him. Even when he barks for attention, he stops after a short time.
Mom says he hasn’t been here long enough yet to misbehave. He is still learning the rules and is acting like the rescue foster collies she has taken in and loved. He is not so sure of himself here that he is bored or feels like being naughty or saying, “Yeah? Make me!”
I am disappointed. I thought Tavish was going to make me and Jib look really good.
Our weekend has started! I call it Collie Jolly weekend. Mom calls it Collie Chaos. Sailor calls it Boot Camp for Tavish. Whatever you call it, its fun! It’s wild! It’s more collies than I can count.
Mom can count really well. She says we have five collies and a Siberian. I am one of the collies. So is Sailor. So is Tavish. And so are Jamie and Drummer. Zoe is the Siberian.
We ran wild. We played chase. We sniffed and peed and peed again. All over the yard. Mom blew her whistle and we all came running. We all got cookies. Even Tavish.
Mom told us to Sit and to Stay. We sat. We stayed. But not for long. I got up first. Then Tavish. Mom put us back. We sat again. We stayed. Mom took our picture. Then she let us play chase again.
Mom threw me the Frisbee. Jamie yelled for a ball. Drummer barked at the gardeners next door. Tavish ran to the dog yard to say hello to Zoe. Zoe was napping and didn’t hear us. Mom says she is getting harder of hearing by the day. I think she is harder of hearing by the night, too.
Then Mom came out and sat on the steps. She schmoozed us all. Jamie gave Mom tiny kisses. Drummer shouldered him away. Mom put her head over Drummer’s back and Drummer play bowed and backed off. He didn’t want Jamie to schmooze Mom. HE wanted to schmooze Mom. But then he said he was just kidding. Sailor wrung his paws. Mom told all of us the SHE was in charge. We were not in charge. Just Mom. So Sailor stopped wringing and yipping. He was glad he didn’t have to make any choices.
Now we are having some Quiet Time-Out time. Some rest time. Some peace and quiet time. I am quiet by Mom’s feet. Sailor is quiet on Jamie’s blankie. Tavish is quietly asleep in my crate. Jamie and Drummer are quiet on the back porch.
Mom says that in October Zoe is going back to Maine to live with her Dad and Katy and theGrandGirls. I will miss Zoe. Jib will miss Zoe. And I think Zoe will miss me. And Jib.
Zoe's been with me and Mom for four years now. She's run through screen doors, dug holes all over the lawn, bitten the heads off the sprinklers, unstuffed dog beds, chewed through wooden fences into the neighbor's backyards, dug out of the chain-link dog run and romped through the neighborhood (often), and ripped out the entire garden's drip system twice.
Jib and I are back in business. We are the Janitorial Service Front and Center! We have a job again!
The GrandGirls are back and so are their blue corn chips, chicken bites, strawberry pieces, and cheese stix. So are strangled egg chunks and toast points. And so are Jib and me right under the table waiting for eggs, cheese, toast, and chicken.
We are happy.
Mom is happy because her daughter came back with the GrandGirls. Mom and Katy talk non-stop for days and days about everything under the sun.
Zoe is happy, too, because her Dad is here with the GrandGirls. She misses him when he is back in Maine with Katy and the GrandGirls. Mom says that Zoe actually belongs to him, but that she has stayed with us for so long that my Mom is her Mom now, too.
And guess what? Zoe had another birthday! Mom says two birthdays in the space of a month and a half is highly irregular, yes, she really talks like that. But Mom and Zoe’s Dad did he math and Zoe is actually 14! Mom thought she was 13, but she isn’t. She’s 14. That’s really old in dog years. The oldest GrandGirl said that in people years, 14 is really old, too, practically grown up. But I don’t think Zoe will ever grow up. She’s still very puppy.
We are all happy. Jib and I are happy. Mom is happy. But happiest of all is Zoe, running free in the backyard, being 14-going-on-puppy.