I’ve tended to be a cat person during my life, but the last several years I have been so struck by the joyful exuberance of dogs when they are at play and doing what they enjoy most. We recently attended a dog show, and a big one at that. Many breeds we couldn’t even name because we had no idea what they were. Talk about variety!
The most entertaining parts were watching the agility obstacle courses (tunnels, hurdles, teeter-totters, etc.) and especially flyball. Wow. In flyball, dogs race over four hurdles to retrieve a ball from a podium, and then race back, where three more team members repeat the process for a group combined time. The border collies impressed us the most: they perform their tasks with great focus and intensity, their intelligent eyes lasered in on their goal. Fox terriers were also good at flyball and agility. Other breeds sometimes got distracted and wandered over to say hi to the judges or went out of order through the courses, their handlers trying to encourage them and urge them onto the correct path.
I couldn’t help but think of us humans and how we are like dogs in some ways: happiest when we’re living life in a way that reflects what we were made for (whatever that might be; however that lines up with our personalities and skills), and how helpful it is for us to have people to guide us and direct us back when we get confused or lose our way. It was a good object lesson.
Oh – I also met some wirehaired dachshunds at the show. I was charmed. We’ve been thinking of getting a dog for a long time; a friend happened to know where we could find one of the little guys. This is the end result of our visit to the dog show:
Isn't he cute? He's eight months old and quite mild mannered. I never thought I'd own a dachshund, but he's one of the sweetest dogs I know. He was named Bentley; we're trying to decide whether or not to rename.