Honeybun looked like she had never been on an agility field before. During her classes Sunday, she ran around rather than over jumps, trotted, stopped, looked around, glanced at Asherel, and sometimes even just walked. When she did jump, she knocked the bars down. She almost never drops bars. Something was clearly off with our champion Agility dog. ( I use that word 'champion' accurately due to a useful writer's tool called "literary license" which can be defined as " a lie, or falsehood used to advance the plot of a story.") Fortunately, Asherel didn't seem overly upset. In fact, she seemed amused. Honeybun is a willing creature. For her to be so clueless, she must have had some unvoiced issue.
Unbeknownst to me, while I was working a class, our friends had sent Asherel and Honeybun to the on-site dog chiropractor. I know we didn't win the raffle for a chiropractic session, so they must have bribed, bartered, paid, or threatened the chiropractor to take a look at Honeybun. The doctor confirmed that something was indeed up with Honeybun. I returned from working the class and was handed a summary sheet.
"What does this mean?" I asked, pointing to some letters at the top of the spinal chart.
"It means her head isn't screwed on straight," said my friend Laura.
"Well we already knew that. How about these letters here?" Those letters were in the lumbar region of the spine, the hip area.
"That is where she was off," said Laura, "She has muscle tension down there and seems stiff. It may have been from compensating when her foot was hurt and she was limping, or maybe it was when she fell yesterday."
(She had wiped out on a sharp turn to a jump and Laura had seen her hobble when she stood back up. I had missed the hobble, but the wipe out was pretty spectacular.)
Anyway, the prognosis is good, and all we have to do is ice the area. When we got home, Asherel put one of Honeybun's cute little outfits on her. This particular little doggy shirt has a large pocket over the hip area. Asherel slipped the ice packs into the hip pocket. Voila, a doggy hip icing shirt! Honeybun trotted over to show me, with her hips bulging with the healing ice packs.
"Doesn't do much for her figure, but very ingenious solution," I told Asherel.
She has another agility trial in two weeks, which I am happy about. This was probably the worst trial for Honeybun in her history as an agility dog. It is the first one she hasn't qualified in at least one class. And she usually brings home 2 or 3 ribbons. She didn't seem concerned though. And I can honestly say that it was a glorious weekend. Even without ribbons. I was touched beyond words by the solicitous care of my friends, warmed by a beautiful sun on a clear blue sky day, and loved working the classes and watching my friends do well. I enjoy seeing Honeybun and Asherel win...but it was ok that this time she didn't. She and I both went to bed around 8:00 and she was snoring almost instantly.
I thought about the blessings of God as I was drifting off blissfully into oblivion and much needed sleep. It is very easy to praise God for His bounty when all is right with the world. It is not quite as easy when all is not. I thought about how when Honeybun wins, I am ecstatic, and much of my thoughts of the contest weekend center around those magnificent runs that earn the blue ribbon. However, when she didn't win, I had to look around for all the other wonderful things happening- the kindness of friends, the beautiful day, the serene surroundings, the joy of volunteering and being a part of something more than oneself, the bond of humans and dogs and their mutual love of something so simple and fun as running and jumping.
King Solomon did not always come to the right conclusions about life, I don't think, in Ecclesiastes, but he did understand that God is the God of both the wondrous circumstances in life, and the struggles in Life. If God is the Author, He wrote the good and the bad. And like all good writers, there is a reason and purpose and sense in all of it. The careful reader doesn't skip over the unpleasant sections or he loses the richness of the complete story.
This weekend, I met many dogs that were rescue dogs, pulled off the street just like our Honeybun was. Like our own dog, they had been starving, discarded, unloved, and homeless. Now they were running and jumping beside a beloved master, with the sun glinting off shiny coats. It was a weekend of God's bounty, I thought as I closed my eyes and Honeybun's snores filled the room.
When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
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