That’ll Do, Fritz

When my boys begged for a dog and then did months of chores to convince me to buy one, I figured an English Setter was the perfect choice. We had an English Setter named Sadie growing up and she was wonderful. Once we got Ruby, I remembered that the reason Sadie was so well-behaved was that my retired grandpa spent hours training her and teaching her tricks. Poor Ruby didn’t get nearly as much attention, which means she doesn’t know any tricks, which means she doesn’t get much attention. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not an involved pet owner but then I remember that all my nurturing time and energy is taken up by my children. Poor Ruby will never be my first priority and I think she knows it.

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Although I’m not a big dog lover, Babe is one of my favorite movies and is the reason I decided to attend the Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Competition this weekend. Babe, for any who might not be acquainted with pretty much one of the best children’s movies ever, is the story of a tiny pig who becomes a famous sheep herder once he learns that kindness achieves more than the dominance and threats typically used by sheepdogs.

Although my older boys have seen the movie many times, for some reason they were just not at all interested in attending a sheepdog competition (go figure), plus they were all busy. My husband and I forced encouraged our youngest to watch the movie so he could fully appreciate the competition. He claimed it was boring and that he slept through the whole thing but then he quoted several lines for us using all the right accents, so something’s fishy.

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Now I know a sheepdog competition doesn’t sound super exciting, but this was so much more than just a dog chasing sheep. There was a whopping three-person pipe band (Fritz took this picture and managed to capture the girl plugging her ears).

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There were some really great food vendors. Also, there was this gyro place. I’m not a fan of lamb anyway so this didn’t help. Or is this what happens to the sheep who don’t obey?

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We waited out a short rain shower under some bleachers when we first got there but the weather cleared up and we were soon wishing we hadn’t left the sunscreen in the car.

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Fritz loved the wild animal petting zoo and the cow milking station. I was slightly disturbed by the size of that rabbit. That can’t be normal, can it? As he pet the skunk, he said, “Wait a minute, what’s he doing awake? He’s supposed to be nocturnal!”
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We got to see dogs jump over 20 feet into a pool in the Splash Dogs competition. They were pretty impressive.

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And Fritz especially loved the K9 Kings Flying Dog Show. Look how high that one is jumping! Of course, it’s cute when it’s for a show. It’s not so cute when one of its kind jumps up over the fence to scare me as I walk past it in my neighborhood.

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Maybe we shouldn’t have saved the actual sheepdog competition for the end of our visit. Fritz was getting tired and bored and most of the action was pretty far away and hard to see. At one point he sighed heavily and said, “I think I’ll just look at the fall leaves instead. Look at all those beautiful colors.” We did see a successful sheepdog and then one who just didn’t seem to have his act together, poor guy.

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Altogether, it was a lovely day in the mountains and it was a good chance to give Fritz a little undivided attention. He’s pretty sure he’s an expert now at cow milking and dog training – we’ll see how that goes. Seeing all those dogs doing amazing tricks did make me feel kind of dumb that Ruby isn’t even trained to go on a walk without chocking herself on her leash.

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