Walking Point

‘Walking point’ — for those not familiar with military jargon — means to be ‘the point man’ or the person who goes ahead to check out the terrain. Slogging through the steamy jungles of Vietnam or enduring the heat and dust of Iraq or Afghanistan, where taking the wrong step might save your platoon members walking behind you.

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imageIn the same vein, people in previous generations picketed for labor rights and often died for us so we could have decent working conditions, a 40 hour work week and paid vacation.

No where close to the same experience, but I am sure starting to feel that apprehension and get that dry mouth. Fear. A thousand forms of fear, so they say. Because today I took Jethro and Ziva to do a bit of recon before we compete in our first agility trial in October. We will be at the same venue so figured it could not hurt to start crating them at a trial so they could start acclimating to the noise and excitement.

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Jethro and Ziva did quite well considering. Treats and lots of praise for quiet behavior helped quite a bit. Then, an 8 year old boy decided bouncing a soccer ball in front of Jethro’s crate to provoke a reaction was a good idea. Meanwhile, a friend and I were standing by the ring, backs turned to our dogs, watching someone running on the course. The sound of the ball finally got my attention, which the little twerp was hoping for. He smirked at me when I noticed him. BAD move on his part. I was the oldest of five in an Irish Catholic family. The last thing he expected was an old woman to march up to him and say ‘teasing a dog is NEVER a good idea, one day you will get hurt and the dog will suffer for it. So, I STRONGLY suggest you go back to your parents. Right NOW”.

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His smirk vanished to uncertainty since the ‘look’ I gave him is legendary and all my sisters have it too. Very gratifying to stand up for my dogs in an appropriate manner. No irate parent appeared. That was also very satisfying. Even better, Jethro did not react. A bonus. He did react to a few other things, but nothing like when he was younger. My baby boy is growing up.

Just another day of life on life’s terms without any consequences due to my threatening the kid with waterboarding. Or something worse.

imageWe had bird dogs when I was growing up. A neighbor boy’s idea of entertainment made Hans, our sweet boy, quite aggressive towards small boys, since this kid’s idea of fun was throwing things at the kennels — sticks, stones, kittens — which meant when we had company poor Hans had to be crated if company included any small male children.

I hope one day that people will start believing that bullying, including cyber bullying, when left unchecked, may escalate a child’s behavior into behavior requiring jail or prison time. It is not ‘cute’ or ‘boys will be boys’. Not teaching children respect for ALL living things is doing them a great disservice.

Overall, we had a good two days at the trial. Watched people and their dogs have a blast. Watched my dogs start to learn about self-discipline (meaning NO HOWLING or WHINING allowed) in a new and noisy environment. How to behave in public. I saw dozens of dogs with better manners than most of the children and some of the adults who were in attendance. I was really proud of my two. We walked around the facility with no meltdowns. Jethro was measured for his height requirement for the jumps and just tried to lick the judge to death.

I think we will be in good shape by the middle of October.

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