I knew this day would come. I knew the day would come when Finney took over for Charlee. When we got Finney four years ago this past July, I had spaced out my dog's ages on purpose. I always feel so badly for people who have multiple dogs close in age, who hit their senior years together.
Finn has always been my great with other dogs dog, and Charlee my great with people dog. Finn's job from the day we took him home was as what I still refer as "bait" dog. The term "bait" dog is not politically correct. because it evokes images of fighting dogs, when in fact, Finn brings peace. Some old timers, like myself have a hard time breaking with tradition and using a more PC term like helper, or distance dog, or neutral dog.
Finney will always be a bait dog to me.
Charlee looks like crap. She has lost a lot of fur, her coat is dull and her tumor toe looks yucky, but she is felling great from what I can see. She is eating and drinking well, and still has the energy of the younger dogs. Last weekend when I was working Finn on front and finishes over a jump, Charlee literally jail broke the house by bulling her way out the back door when one of my kids opened it a crack. Charlee did a go out over the jump on her own free will, and came at me at full speed. She sailed over the jump, whizzed past Finney, and came to a Quarter horse like full speed ahead sliding sit front, followed by a big air flying swing finish left. She still has a lot of drive, that one and she loves to work. For those coming in late, Charlee may or may not have cancer. Her hair loss may be due to her thyroid issues, even possibly the flea issue we had earlier in the summer. Or not.
It was with a heavy heart that I chose to leave Charlee home and take Finney on what would have been her favorite kind of job, a Safe Dog/Safe Kids demo for kids ages 11-14 at Strive http://pslstrive.org/about in South Portland. After conferring with my daughter in the same age range, we both agreed that kids that age would not be able to get past "gross," and I had no desire to field public questions about her toe, or hair loss. My daughter Hannah came with me and we both agreed that Finney was awesome and far exceeded our expectations of him. Finney won over everyone in that room and he was really happy to get the gig. In one of the perfect life moments of "he knows", Finn lay down for the child who was most unsure of him and was a perfect statue when she approached him, while most of the other kids got licks to the nose. From start to finish Finney rocked the program.
The kids at Stride have special learning needs and were a sweet and wonderful group. When we were heading back to the car my middle schooler said "I didn't know doing something for free could make you feel so good."
The Safe Dogs /Safe Kids runs 30-40 minutes and is free to qualifying groups. The program is suitable for all ages.
My fantastic dog Finney looks forward to many more demos. .
Charlee says don't count her out yet.