Arrival Story: Claire was at the Humane Society when I was volunteering. She was this tiny little vibrating pup, sitting quietly in her cage whenever I walked past. Even then, she was very expressive, and I knew I had to take her home with me. My mother claims Claire is me in dog-form - intelligent, energetic, stubborn, and bossy.
Claire's earliest days will always be a mystery, but at the age of 3 months, she was picked up in a corn field by animal control and brought to the humane society where I was volunteering. I didn't see her, though, for nearly 2 months, as she was too sick to be out on the adoption floor. My first sight of Claire was this little brindle and white girl, sitting in her cage, utterly silent amongst the chaos that was the shelter, focused with all her being on me. It took nearly a month before I realized what she had so obviously decided at that first meeting, that she was meant to be part of my family.
My mother laughed when I told her about Claire's paperwork from the humane society, claiming I had adopted myself in canine form. Her training forms said that she was "highly intelligent" and "high energy," traits which might scare off potential adopters but were exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a dog to take hiking and rollerblading and who could live up to her predecessor, about whom my parents kept saying, "You'll never find another dog like Scuffy."
A few months after I adopted Claire, we participated in a fund raiser for the humane society, a walkathon, at which Claire was very determined to walk with a particular white German Shepherd. The dog, Aina, seemed equally interested in Claire, and we were walking a bit faster than most of the participants, so the owner and I agreed to walk together for a while.
Nearly 10 years later, she and I and Claire and Aina are still best of friends. The girls, as we call them, are not quite as crazy together, as both are developing arthritis in their hips, but their devotion is plain to see. We take them hiking, camping, canoeing, and kayaking, along with their brothers. The photo I've tagged is one from this summer, showing Claire relaxing in my chair after a long day of hiking. We call her the princess because of her propensity for claiming chairs when the other dogs are content with the ground.
About two years after I adopted Claire, my mom told me that Claire is every bit as good a dog as Scuffy, the highest praise I think she could offer. Claire's the second of three dogs I have adopted and I cannot imagine obtaining a dog any other way.
I started taking classes with Bud Houston and absolutely love it! My owner is still a bit retarded about what we are doing, but she's slowly improving. At fun night last week, I came in third playing this strange game based on PacMan. Considering the competition, I was pleased. Most of those dogs are professionals and have been training their humans and competing with them for some time.
The only bad thing about classes on Sunday is that my idiot brother comes along, too. Half the time I have to sit in the crate and watch him act like a spaz. I try so hard to show him how it is done, but his body moves so much faster than his brain, he just gets lost on the course. I'm sure I could do a better job handling him than Katy, but for some reason, they insist that agility teams have to be a dog and a human.
At tomorrow's class, I have to remember to be patient with Katy. She's still getting the hang of doing front crosses and RFPs and all those fancy handler tricks. But together with Bud, I think I'm doing a good job training her. Maybe soon she'll be ready for competition.