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Women Go West

Mama pointed the car west early one August morn and off we went. She finally stopped the car just over the Illinois line and gave us a potty break at a certain little rest park that she frequents for that purpose. Then, it was drive, drive, drive until we finally stopped at LaSalle, IL. There, in a Dairy Queen parking lot, we found Lori, Ozzy and Scooby. Dave, Lori's husband who knows everything, was there but left immediately. I have reason to believe he wanted to be rid of Lori and the two Maltese boys for awhile so he entrusted them into Mama's care.

Right then a pattern emerged that repeated itself numerous times during this trip. The two mamas would go into a restaurant, leaving us dogs in the car with the engine running the whole time. Sometimes, it felt like a refrigerator in the car by the time they returned. Sizzle and the boys had to stay crated in the backseat, while I had the job of guarding the car from the front seat. I thought it was nice that they trusted me with a running car. If my legs were a little longer, I know I could drive the thing.

After a long, long ride and no food for dogs, we arrived at a very nice Motel 6 in Council Bluffs, IA. It surprised me to see the city again, having visited there in 2000. The hotel was fun for us because it had an elevator, and one night we found French fries on its floor. Thereafter we could hardly wait to go in and see what treasures we might discover.

Sizzle is the under-the-bed inspector whenever we stay in a hotel. I would hesitate to guess how many inspections she might have made during our stay, but it probably numbered at least one hundred. I did not bother to scope it out since she never produced concrete evidence of anything interesting.

Of course, the purpose of our trip consisted of all of us going to school. Mostly, it's the people who need help. We dogs are perfectly willing to do what our handlers ask of us, but handlers frequently have a difficult time expressing their desires. Alas, too often the dog receives the blame for these goof-ups.

Sizzle and I starred in our own video, as did all of the other dogs. However, I received a rousing round of applause after my performance, something that no other dog garnered. I like to add a certain pizzazz to my shows whenever possible, and, believe me, the audience appreciates my efforts.

We took several agility classes. Sizzle had never done any agility, and she found that she enjoyed it. I had not touched a piece of agility equipment in well over a year, but it all came back to me quickly. I even completed an "Excellent level" course, although I must admit that I did it slowly. I like to view the scenery as I go around the course.

Lest you think that we only worked at camp, let me share an amazing incident with you. Mama paid for both Sizzle and me to have a massage! A canine masseuse, Kelli, came to camp one day and did all of the dogs whose owners would pay up. Mama said that since she thought a massage would feel so good to her, she figured we would also enjoy it. I was the first dog to have the laptop version; all of the others had to stand on a table. By the time it was my turn, Kelli herself had grown tired and decided to modify her method. I found it pretty relaxing, but Sizzle just melted in her arms. This amazed both Mama and Kelli since Sizzle normally has a pretty skeptical nature when it comes to strangers. Her rubdown lasted twenty minutes, and Sizzle looked really mellow when Kelli finished.


The drive home took two days. We went to the same Dairy Queen parking lot where Dave abandoned his family, and after waiting awhile, he reappeared. He waved and spoke Sizzle and me, but we barked ferociously at him because of the way he treated his family. Apparently we caused him to consider the error of his ways because he loaded them up and set off towards their home. Mama drove us home and has proceeded to work Sizzle hard ever since. Good thing I've already achieved star quality or I'd find myself in the same boat.

I'd like to close by offering congratulations to Ozzy, who won first place in Open A during his second-ever Open show on Sunday, September 21, in Madison, WI. He also earned an award for highest scoring toy dog that day. See? All of these camps and seminars do help the mamas!

Until next month, I remain,
          Lilli White