Thoughts Of A Retired
By Val Till
Chambrays Sugar Bear CGC TDI
Thoughts of A Retired Show Dog
-By Sugar Bear Till
Well, Sunday, December 9, 2001 was certainly a special turning point for my Mom and me. That’s the day she hung up my show collar and lead for the last time and I officially became just another family pet.
No longer Sugar Bear, the Star but Sugar Bear, Couch Potato.
Now, I wasn’t sure what all that meant right off the bat but I found out soon enough.
It meant that if I let the fur fly and chased one of the neighborhood cats around the backyard I wouldn’t have to get a bath right away. If I woofed down a few extra milkbones, I wouldn’t have to worry about the love handles around my tummy! And, it meant that I’d be spending more time with my sister Tess.
But, it meant other things too.
It meant that I would no longer have to parade around in the show ring standing helplessly while all of those old lady judges groped my private parts. I mean, shouldn’t they have been home doing that sort of thing with their husbands?
It meant fewer trips to the South Miami Hospital parking garage. That’s where my Mom,the Drill Sergeant took me to work out four nights a week. Rain or shine, we ran down those ramps and up the stairs. Gee, we went there so often, we just about had every crack in the pavement memorized. Not to mention that we were on a first-name basis with Gus, the security guard. Mom would always fill him in on the triumphs and tragedies of each show. He’d always wish us the very best of luck with that big wide grin of his. Gus was really neat.
After our workouts, I always enjoyed sprawling out on the cool pavement up on the roof when the visiting hours were over. We listened quietly to the sounds of the hectic city below and watched the stars dance above us. Mom used to wish on those stars all the time that I’d win the right-colored ribbon. As for me, the real prize would have been scoring a date with Chancey, Penny, Bailey, Clancy or Cha Cha. Now, a night out with one of those hot babes would have been worth a hundred blue ribbons. But I suppose it’s just a matter of priorities.
So now, as my third birthday approaches, I can safely say that I’ve been a show dog and survived it. It really wasn’t such a bad experience now that I think of it. I will miss the early morning drives to the shows in the quiet of the truck cuddled up next to Mom, she rubbing my head as I slept. I’ll miss Thursday night practice, the pre-show pep talks, the hooting and hollering and the applause.
Mom had her chance with me in the show ring, too. Though our show partnership was less than stellar, it sure provided a barrel of laughs for the peanut gallery. All in all, it was great fun.
And we learned a lot too!
We learned that there’s victory even in defeat. We learned how to pick ourselves up, dust off our backsides and realize that even if we wound up bringing up the rear of the pack that there was always another show in another town with another judge and another chance to shine. We learned how to smile through the tears. We learned how to congratulate the winner when you really wanted to lift your leg on ‘em instead! We learned that it wasn’t really about ribbons and points, but about love, friendship, faith and companionship.
And when all was said and done, the applause died down, the lights went out, and the show was over, Mom and I were still together…still a team.
And regardless of whether I’d won or lost, I was already a champion. Because I had
won her heart. And that’s the biggest, most important blue ribbon of all.
So, thanks for the memories everybody!
So Long and Happy Trails,
Editors Post Script: Bear is now Chambrays Sugar Bear CGC TDI a contributing member of society pulling Therapy Dog sessions with the author, owner and confidant, Val Till. As Bear's breeder, I am just as proud of him as I am all the show champions that adorn the Great Wall of Champions. I have dedicated a special page for those dogs that serve the community with service work and Bear is featured there as well and also with several other stories that he has been involved with.
see Alternate Realities & Therapy Dogs In Action by Sandy Herzon
Answered Prayers by Val Till