It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Yes, I know I’m plagiarizing, but it fits our situation perfectly. Nemo and I are at K9 Nose Work camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania. We’re here to take our Odor Recognition Test (ORT) – a requirement before we can start competing in Nose Work trials.
Nemo passed the ORT with flying colors. He did better than me, if we’re telling the truth here. (What else is new, right? The dog’s stellar performance props up handler.
I was as high as I could be – we did it! We’re now ready to start training for competition. We have a long way to go before we compete, but it was satisfying to accomplish that milestone.
Contrast that high with today, which was filled with some pretty low lows. Nemo, who has never had trouble crating, actually busted out of his soft crate during our working sessions today. A few rakes of his paw against the mesh opened the front hatch right up. A few teeth placed just right, accompanied by a few tugs, and that hole was just the right size for Nemo to fit through.
Thankfully, he didn’t actually escape, thanks to some of my alert teammates. But his crate is now worthless for the remaining three days of camp.
A ripped up crate and half-escaped dog doesn’t sound all that bad?
I’m not done with the rest of my story.
So we’re out searching for a hide on the exterior (fancy way of saying the hide is outside). Nemo, a dog who’s *never* peed on a search stops to pee. In the world of Nose Work, that’s one of the biggest no-no’s out there. If that happens in a competition, you will fail that part of the test (and therefore will not earn your title that day).
So Nemo’s peeing in the middle of a search. After he’s destroyed his crate. Still not bad enough for you? Wait, I’ve got more.
I went to interrupt Nemo, and got my shoe right in the way of the pee. You got it: I also got pee all over my shoe (and my sock) today.
Thank goodness yesterday was a good day. That’s what’s keeping me up and running.
How does the song go? Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. Today I was the bug. No matter, we’re still having fun, still learning a ton. And I now have a camp story that will make people laugh.