Until freestyle came to town, Rally was as close as we could get to canine boogie, so I did a LOT of it, but that all went away about three years ago when I finally got to join a dance team. So, yes, it had been a while, but a couple of months ago, mom asked me to help support her obedience club, so I decided to let her enter me in this year’s trial.

I have mentioned before that the most common response to my performance used to be, “but he’s so entertaining!” so you may understand why she was a tad nervous, knowing this could be a potentially risky and/or embarrassing decision, plus we didn’t get to practice before the trial. But geez, I already had four legs towards my third RAE, so how bad could I be? I know all the moves and despite what folks think, dogs don’t forget stuff.

Saturday was warm and would have been perfect, except for the wind which kept shoving all these great smells up my nose. But I managed to hold it together, as amped up as I was.

Mom said I was a little “frisky,” which I figure must be a good thing since I got a 95 and third place in Excellent. And since I do love to please an audience, the compliments were flowing, as always.  She HAD to be proud of me during the Honor exercise, because the little yapper in the ring was only three feet away, bouncing and barking and doing zoomies through the spiral cones, and I didn’t even flinch. Not a big deal, since I never break a stay, not even with squirrels partying five feet behind me (yes, that has happened, and more than once).  I just gave him my “Dude, what is WRONG with you?” look, which he totally missed, but then he was a Jack Russell, so what can you do?

Things did kinda go downhill from there.

While we were waiting for the Advanced class, I zoned out and leaned against mom’s leg, which she may have misinterpreted to mean I would behave in the ring.  Well, that WAS my plan, but just as the judge said “Are you ready?” something moved way off to the right.  From then on, it was seriously tough. I could barely keep up with mom, and I’m embarrassed to say I sassed her a couple of times, but hey, it could’ve been a CAT out there!  What the heck did she expect me to do?

She made me a bit nervous after that, because she kind of stopped breathing, but once they put my score up, she calmed down some.  I got a 71, and I realize that’s only one point above the minimum, but we passed, right? So that sarcastic comment that I might’ve done better if she’d played my dance music was quite unnecessary.

The next day was relatively uneventful – no wind, no possible cat sightings, and I got 90’s in both classes. Almost boring really, except for when we first got there. When we went to check in, one of the stewards was going on and on about an Irish Setter she’d seen a few years back.  About how he’d grabbed one of the stuffies on the figure 8, pounced on it and made it squeak to get people’s attention, and then danced across the ring, tossing it in the air. Well, if you haven’t guessed by now, my reputation is well established, because that Irish Setter was yours truly.  No one else can ham it up for an audience like I can.

Oh, by the way, if you don’t want me touching the damn stuffies, don’t go putting them out there!  And in dinner bowls, too!

Later, peeps.

I've known for a long time that birds weren't my thing.  When I was much younger, we went to a fun field day thing with a bunch of other Setters, all flavors, Irish, English, Gordon.  They sent us out with our people to see if we could find the birds they'd planted.  Boooring.  In case you're asking, yes, I found them.  And peed on them. 

All I really wanted was find an audience, so being a show dog was a huge thrill.  I positively floated round the ring. 
After that we did obedience for a while and then found rally.  Oh, what fun!  I'd throw stuffies in the air, zoom over the jumps over and over again, whatever popped into my mind.  But I'd always pose for a camera.

Every time we came out of the ring, people would say I was SO entertaining, which for some reason, didn't really thrill my mom.  But she couldn't complain.  I was the first Irish Setter on the west coast to get a Rally Novice title and the first in the country to get a Rally Excellent.

But then we discovered freestyle and everything else was forgotten.  I found my true talent.  I am a dancin' dog!  I get to strut and flash and twist and spin.  And to music!  I perform with a group called Appawse, plus I have my own solo routine, dancing to "In The Mood."  It just doesn't get much better than that.

Later,  peeps.

In case you haven't noticed, dogs are smart and we need a job.  So we struck up a deal with those first humans. It's worked well for a few thousand years now and in more ways than I count.  For example, some of us herd sheep (well, someone's gotta do it.  Ever try to tell a sheep where to go?  Not the smartest sweater in the closet). Some of us do police work.  A few rescue kids when they fall down a well.  And others just visit with sick people and make them feel better.

I, personally, am a Setter and what we do is, um, set.  Being the superior nose in the team, we run ahead and find the birds, then point them out to our humans. They shoot, we fetch and there you are - dinner is served!  Here's my mom's* latest painting, all four of the setters as puppies, seeing their first quail and figuring out for the first time what they're supposed to DO.
And So it Begins
I have to be honest though - I'm not really into the silly critters.  All those feathers and bird poop, no thanks. I am much too refined for dashing through the bushes like a lunatic and messing up my beautiful coat.

My brother, on the other hand, who is a Gordon Setter, lives to hunt.  His brain is on bird drive and not much else...nope, not much else at all.  Apparently he got that way because he got bread in his jeans.  Well, sure, he'll eat anything but I can't say I've ever seen him wearing jeans.

So what is my own personal skill set?  I'll get to that next time.
Later, peeps
*Yes, I know she's  not my REAL mom, but I love her like one, so get over it.

And happy birthday to me while I'm at it...
So...the Humane Watch people (a very cool bunch, by the way - http://www.humanewatch.org) got themselves a spokescat.  Snark isn't the most attractive  feline in the litter box, but he's got some good stuff to say.  Anyway, I figured if a cat can have a blog, then I owe it to my species to have one for us dogs.  And believe me, at ten years old, I have PLENTY stored up to tell y'all.

So here I am.  I'm an Irish Setter. and like Snark, I've got plenty to say about HSUS, but first there's this big load of dog poop y'all need to step around. It's called animal rights. What a total crock.  What rights don't I already have?  There are plenty of laws that say I should be fed, sheltered and treated nice. Beyond that, what else do I need? 

Well, apparently, there are some wacko nutjobs out there who think I have the "right" not to live with people.  Hellooo? Did anyone ask us?  Of course not, because you don't speak our language.  Well, listen up, because I'm here to tell you that dogs and humans have been partners ever since a wolf checked out the humans' hangout, got food handed to him and a cozy spot by a fire for snoozing.  Three squares and a warm bed. Why would we want to walk away from that?

I have a lot more to say about animal rights, HSUS, PeTA and a whole mess of other stuff, but I've got beef ribs and turkey necks waiting.  See what I mean?  Can't beat the service!

One last thing...at this point, you may be saying that all of this is totally anthropomorphizing (go ahead, look it up.  I'll wait).  And you'd be right.  Well, why not?  It's fun as long as we all remember one thing.  I am a dog. I'm not a person.

By the way, I was asked if I shared my birthday cake with the other two Setters here.  I said yes, but for some reason they don't believe me.  Seriously, would this face lie to you?
Later, peeps.