A Summer with Quest

I wanted to update on some of the highlights of my amazing summer with Quest.

In the Dog Days of Summer, my happy place was the lake. I’ve never had a finer retriever than this American show line German Shepherd Dog, and the irony of that isn’t lost on me. For hours we can play. I get a tiny thrill watching him air scent items I’ve thrown, diving into the water with glee, swimming hard once he knows which direction to go. He does this activity with the same pure joy and happiness and desire to please that he has when showing, herding, training, or doing anything else I ask of him. I’m going to miss the lake over winter, for sure.

Another thing we enjoyed this summer was attending a car show. Quest was, naturally, the “star” of the show, with his friend Sky (another German Shepherd). He posed in a 3-wheel motor cycle, grinning in sunglasses, while a dozen people took his photo. He did the same in front of any and all vehicles I wanted to take a picture of him with. He never missed a beat. He ignored another dog snarling and lunging at him, strangers reaching for him non stop, and everything else you could imagine at such an event.

Shortly before the car show, we attended another show, where of course Quest gained another point or two, leaving him only three single points shy of his champion title at 17 months old. He also has advanced massively in his training for service work (for me) and therapy work (at nursing homes). He enjoyed some hiking, and he helped raise Dare, Melon, and Tuna. To top it off, he was X rayed and his results came back as OFA good hips and normal elbows! Good dog, Quest.

All in all, it was a summer with many challenges, but lots of happiness and love too, and I owe so much of that joy to my sweet brown dog.

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Built Like That

We’re regulars at the nursing home where we do pet therapy now. Staff, patients, and family know us. Case workers know us. The dogs are known by name. Residents save bits of food for them. Family reminds me their loved one is in a certain room, and begs me to please stop and see that resident if I can. I am getting to know the residents myself. I have learned their quirks. I know who wants to love on the dogs, who would rather just watch, and which nurse is actively scared of them. She doesn’t cringe and look alarmed anymore; she knows our dogs will flatten against the wall when asked and not even look at her. She knows we’re respectful.

Today a resident I had not seen before was staring from down the hall. I wasn’t sure if she was curious, disgusted, or desperate to meet the dogs. After some time had passed, and the dogs had finished visiting several others, I walked closer, testing the waters. It was very quickly apparent her look was one of deep desire to meet and pet the dogs. She began petting Quest, admiring him.

“I haven’t seen a shepherd built like THIS in years. It’s so nice to see.” This certainly caught my interest. She continued. “They’re so beautiful!” Dare greeted her too, and she examined both of them, petting and stroking them. She then turned stern. “Young lady, I have something to say to you!”

I felt a bit nervous, but she softened, smiling. “You’re doing a good thing. We need more people to show dogs and breed dogs like this.”

Oh how I would have loved to know more about her life and her history! I had to attend to something else, so I couldn’t ask just then. The next time we walked by the woman, just about an hour later, she smiled widely. “Here’s my chance,” I thought to myself. I couldn’t wait to know what breed she’d owned, and what she’d done with dogs in her life.

But she didn’t remember us. She asked about the dogs, and told us the same things, as if she’d never seen us before. And I let her. I told her their names again. I smiled as she complimented them. She stroked Quest’s beautiful face, and told me she hadn’t seen a dog in months. I let her start new, and I will let her every time I see her.

I don’t even know her name, but I let her know I won’t be giving up this breed or my dreams with them any time soon. Good dog, Quest. Good dog, Dare.

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