This previous weekend, Ma and Pa and I packed up and drove about an hour North of home to enjoy and be a spectator at the West Coast Schuzthund competition. For those that don’t know what this is, you might enjoy a good read on what Wikipedia says about this canine event which from what I am told, is one of the most vigorous events that us Canines are put through.
In most cases this event is dominated by un altered German Shephards as well as Belgian Melanois but in this case there were a few other breeds participating in this event that the winners of would go to the National’s held later on in the year.
I was quite excited upon getting there as Ma and Pa decided that being there from beginning to end might give them something new, and while Ma is dutifully training to work with self protection as well as obedience and tracking, this was an exciting experience for her as well as for me. Unfortunately, someone forgot to make accomodations for those of us Service Dogs (SD’s) and we were forced back off the field so much so that it was pointless to sit and enjoy the event for long as no matter what we attempted, Ma refused to leave me in a hot car (although most of the K9’s competing were left in their crates inside the vehicles). Ma tends to be a bit more careful and knowing that I am altered (a nice way to say fixed) there seem to be panic set around the field that forced the competitors to be concerned about my presence near them. What I didn’t get is that these are dogs that have been highly trained and ultimately if they are THAT trained why is it they are concerned about me being a distraction? If they were that concerned, they had to have known that any UNFIXED female K9 (There was a groomers facility right across the street and another K9 kennel just up the road) up to three miles away could easily distract these K9’s. I should have been the least of their concerns. So with our weekend of watching dogs competing for such an honor, we found ourself spending more time randomly driving around and spending some time with the pups of the Mastiff Land Retreat.
With about 9 dogs there, all of Mastiff breed, I was a bit overwhelmed. Only cause they were all so much bigger than I and I definately found myself playing with just a few in short spurts. After a long day on Friday, and part of the day on Saturday at the competition, we spent more time with the beloved dogs of the Rescue. Until…. Ma noticed one of the boys acting oddly and attempting to get sick. After a quick evaluation, and some major panic by the Head Handler at the facility, we found ourselves, including Jean Luc our sick Dogue de Bordeaux piled into the truck and breaking speedlimits regularly to get back to the city as it seems that this rural community has NO vet that was open on the weekend. I feel badly not only for the owners of horses, chickens, cattle, goats, and the domestic pets that can’t plan getting sick on a weekend. Jean Luc might have been saved, but his bloat was very bad and thereffore a cramped and long drive to the city an hour away… we had to say goodbye to Jean Luc.
Jean Luc’s passing makes me and my owners sit and realize how important it is to make sure that you not only educate, but report animal abuse. He was rescued from a high kill shelter after being left in a backyard for over 5 years with no love, no human contact and ultimately no knowledge of what real love was. After coming to the MLR, he has for the last 5 months been showing fast improvements of being more social, playful, and loving to not only those that visited, but those that were his kennel mates.
Ma has been called a “heroine” by the MLR director, and all she can do is sit with tears in her eyes thinking of his big orange eyes and huge drooly mouth as she wishes she could have done more. After returning to the small community, we went to bed early and find ourselves wanting to be home more than anything. I think that it will be good to be home for all of us. We could have done without the expenses of the trip, but there is a few things we have learned about all of this:
- Make sure that the facilitators of an event know you are coming and that the presence of a service dog is inevitable, and therefore they should consider that there is a reason that dog is with you and not sittign 300 yards away in a vehicle, where this animal cannot help you when you need them. If they decide that they do not wish to accomodate you, then make sure they know that they are not abiding by the Federal Government and that the president of the event will be notified in writing as well as the other prominent branches of government will be notified of their inability to accomodate the “handicapable.”
- That despite the rural environment “look” never assume that a community has good health care for your four-legged family members. When relocating, know that you will have as good of medical care for yourself, but for your dogs/cats and livestock as well. It seems to me that a good Vet would jump on this niche and offer the community a way to have an emergency environment to help save the lives of those you love unconditionlly.
- Remember, despite the act that your day started bad, and then in your eyes got worse… We were in a position to help a pup that may have suffered a great deal more if we had not been there for him. Jean Luc… Rest in Peace cousin. Please romp and play like you were meant to, and know that we will see you again.
And for the horrible owners…. your time is coming and I can only hope that when you meet your maker… You will be denied a lifetime of love and compassion. Please, report animal abuse to your local animal shelter and/or rescue…. Know that rescue centers around the country need your help weather it be donation of food, blankets, gift cards for medical care, or sometimes, it’s just your time by loving on these dogs that have been denied it for so long. I know Ma did the right thing and she will continue to do it, even though it’s not easy and it hurts losing a loved one…she loves unconditionally and will fight for these big Gentle Giants for as long as she can.
You will be missed Jean Luc.