Chapter 35 
(January 2010):

The Gangster's First Birthday



Darn it! He’s taking over this place: When we have chew bones, he wants mine and barks in my face until I give in and trade, just to have my peace and quiet; the Gangster has a VERY loud voice  He won’t go into his crate voluntarily but uses mine for a nap at least once a day!

On our daily 90-minute walks in the fields he flies around with a training leash so that Mummy can step on it to catch him if he doesn’t want to come back. I always come back; well, … almost always. Now and then the macho flies back across the fields and runs into me like a battering ram. He must have a screw loose.


He’s also accident prone. Our vet says he’s the first dog he knew to have been injured by a blanket! Diarmuid got his foot caught in his car quilt, pulling it so tight in his panic that Mummy couldn’t get it off, especially with him screaming as if she were breaking his leg. Luckily she had her Swiss Card in the car and sawed the blanket off with that tiny blade. Diarmuid couldn’t walk (pansy!) and had to get a painkiller. Yesterday he got my leash all tied up in his moustache.

We practice on our walks: I do Rally-O tasks, e.g. "front", "right/ left round", "sit/ lie", "back",etc. Diarmuid has to practise for his big exam next fall. When we come out of the woods, Mummy makes us sit, walks 30 meters and watches her watch before picking us up again. Diarmuid has managed up to 5˝ minutes. I cheat and walk off after 2˝ minutes, see chapter 25. Mummy promised me I wouldn’t have to lie and wait ever again after I passed the BH, remember? When we practise heeling, the Brat pushes me out of position in order to get the treats; we can’t both be at Mummy’s left leg at the same time.

At home he cuddles with my Mummy and snuggles up to my Daddy. They call him The Viking, because he’s Danish-born and prefers to lie on cold, hard tiles instead of on the carpet. He pushes the blanket in his crate into the corner. Except when he’s in my bed! See Goldilocks: “This one’s just right”! 

When I had to retire from agility in September, Mummy and I started Rally Obedience, so we could continue to work together, remember? Well, once a month (twice this winter season) we do a course under trial conditions, with points and stop watch, etc. Trainer Ela donated a silly trophy her son didn't want to keep and had a new base made for it. Nobody wanted to win it, because you have to keep it until passing it on next year. ;-) But in the end everybody in the class has the ambition to do his/ her best so as not to look stupid.

In November we were 3rd of 5, because Mummy forgot to count her steps in one place and admitted it aloud. If she had just gone on, we'd have been first. In December’s trial Mummy hesitated when she didn't see a sign she was expecting. Minus 10 points and 2nd place of 6. That day we tried it off-leash and that was better for both, Mummy and me; I don't have the thing dangling around my head and she has a hand free for treats when they are allowed.

Now the irony of it all is that those who were each time better than we were - found themselves at the bottom the other time! So Mummy and I ended up with the most points in total and won the funny cup! Mummy is looking for some space in a closet ;-) The real prize was that when we came off the course, the whole group said, "super!"

When we started Rally-O two months ago, we thought it was boring. Well, it still isn't as exciting as agility, but as the tasks become more complicated it gets better and we're looking forward to continuing in April after winter break. Diarmuid will start agility then, but I don’t know if he has the finesse required for it. I think he’s the type to play American football.

The Gangster Viking is a year old today. Mummy made him the same liver cake I always get on my birthday.  He got snow boots for his present, after the first snow of the season formed ice balls under his toes and he was barely able to limp home. I almost felt sorry for the twerp.

We had a lovely walk through the fields this morning, and then Mummy cut the cake. Mummy says I have to wish him a happy birthday. Well, all right; he gave me a piece of his cake.




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