Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Django Day

P1030464 Today is the eighth annual “Django Day” – when we celebrate bringing our beautiful red boy, Django, into our home eight years ago.

Django is known to many of our friends as “Mr. Perfect.”  He is the most honest dog I have ever known.  All he ever wants in life is to do the right thing.  Working with him always brings a smile to my face.  He is my heart dog, and I adore him.

This year brought us many more adventures together.  We attended Kay Laurence’s border collie workshop in Missouri, where we learned that he is much too polite to want to bother the nice sheep.  We toured the Upper Peninsula, hiking at Grand Island, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and the Porcupine Mountains.  I also had probably the worst 30 seconds of my life on a boat in Lake Superior during that trip, when during a severe thunderstorm I suddenly couldn’t locate Django on our pontoon boat after a wave had broken over the boat.  It makes me ill to even think of those seconds looking out at the turbulent waters, terrified that I had lost my precious guy to them.  Happily, I found he had somehow curled up to about the size of a house cat and was hiding under a bench seat, safe from the elements.  Upon hearing my panicked cries for him, he crawled back out, I’m sure wondering why he was being called from his safe little cubby hole to sit in the rain, but as always, willing to oblige because I’d asked.

CD_13059_119472_djangoSchmorrowZuckerman_m0165665 We competed at CPE Nationals, and he ran in top form all weekend, even getting a second place in Full House.  We had another great week at dog camp.  This fall, at the Michigan troop outing, he helped our troop win the friendly competition by showing off some of his favorite tricks, such as retrieving a dog biscuit and carrying a beer bottle for me.  Things I had even forgotten I had taught him years ago . . .  but he didn’t forget.

One memory I will treasure from this year was a reminder in how far Django and I have come together.  When we first adopted Django, he could be leash-aggressive and reactive towards other dogs, and we worked hard at modifying that behavior.  The process taught me a lot about dog training, and allowed us to build our relationship even more.  At the Kay Laurence workshop this spring, Kay wanted to demonstrate working on socialization and ignoring distractions for some of the younger BC pups present.  To do so, she needed some very stable, non-reactive, calm dogs who would stay focused on their handlers while the pups worked on their impulse control in their presence.  Kay looked at me and said “Bring in your chocolate guy.”  I paused for a second, about to say, “No, he’s too reactive . . . ", but then I realized – no, he’s not.  Not anymore.  He trusts me, he’s connected to me, and he only wants to make me happy.  I brought him in, beaming with pride the entire time to see the confident, happy dog he has become.  He is a long way from the underweight, sun-bleached, scraggly stray that was picked up in Detroit eight years ago. 

I’m enjoying every minute of our journey, Django.  I hope it continues for many more years to come.  Thank you for all that you have given and continue to give us.

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