It’s not their fault, it’s mine. In fact, most of their so-called weaknesses are “operator error,” not the result of their disobedience, or lack of intelligence. That’s why this is the time, and here is the place.
Manny is going to be a “finished” dog. And I’m not going to stand in the way. He has all the raw materials: incredible conformation, beautiful movement, air of confidence. But until he can fill out the entry form himself, I’ve got to do my part.
It will be in honor of all of his predecessors, from Bill (the first, who convinced me to buy a shotgun), to Yankee (who taught me to hunt), to his great-uncle Buddy (in his golden years now). They worked so hard for me, the least I can do is pay homage to them by giving their young protegé’ the chance to meet his potential.
Because I’m like that kid Mikey in the old cereal commercials, I’ll do anything on a dare. If there’s an audience, I’m waiting in the wings for my cue. This time, I’m daring myself … with your help. Or to use a music industry analogy from my past, all the practice and good intentions mean nothing if you never set foot on a stage and play for an audience (that’s you).
Whether you are a NAVHDA member or not, a flusher, pointer or retriever owner, you are now officially deputized to get us both to the finish line and reading of test scores. You may not be there in person, but in spirit every one of you will be sitting under the tent next to me, in an uncomfortable lawn chair, agonizing as the judges scratch their heads and glance surreptitiously at all of us handlers while arguing over scores.
I humbly seek your counsel, and best wishes. See you in the fall somewhere in the west. Until then, I’ll see you in the training field.
Next: what’s involved in a Utility Test, and the challenges I foresee for both of us.