Yesterday while I was running my second group of dogs on Lavon's canal, he worked Jai.
He's worked Jai before, always when I am not around; I let him sometimes, reminding them both that they shouldn't get used to it. Their relationship will never be consumated on a trial field. No matter how much each admires the other's talent, Jai still has a long row to hoe pulling me out of The Suck. And Pat won't sit on my lap. I'm okay with a little outrun/lift and fetch action in the privacy of the training field, now and then, but when it's all said and done, my house is where Jai gets 700 thread count sheets and raw chicken for one of her two daily meals. Good timing and consistency are one thing, but sitting in a lap watching netflix on my shitty computer screen are what seperates us from the beasts. (That and a doggie door!) My face isn't going to lick itself.
I run with his dogs on the canal. It's an activity we all enjoy. It's where my talent really shines.
"I'm not trying to blow smoke up your ass," Lavon said when I returned (it should be noted that he begins 3/4 of our conversations thusly…making me wonder if this ass-smoke blowing is not another forbidden dream of his), "But Jai is an amazing dog! Seriously, I was putting her in some tight spots shedding and she came in like a flash and just got better and better…"
They were both wagging. I scrutinized his lap for telltale hairs until he shifted to the side uncomfortably.
"I know I've said it before but she is a really really nice dog," he squirmed.
"Yes," I said, "on and off the field. But she does get into the bathroom trash and chew my shoes. Do you like your shoes, Lavon? DO YOU?"
I pointed to my own, now missing the laces on one and the tongue on the other as Jai wagged her way back over to me. I believe Lavon's shoes are SYNTHETIC, whereas my own are LEATHER.
A few weeks ago, short weeks ago, whenever I asked Jai to come in on a shed, it was my cue to cry. She would lick her lips, stand there, and vibrate with intention to NOT DO AS I WAS ASKING UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. She preferred to not come in on the shed but instead stand around keeping her lips moist until a time presented itself for something she felt better about..like gathering. She preferred to wait until I ranted and raved and cried like a baby, scattering sheep that she would then circle wide and assemble again at my feet.
"WHY THE TARRED AND FEATHERED FUCK DID I MOVE TO OPEN!!??? I WILL NEVER SHED WITH THIS DOG!"
(I think Jai was thinking the same thing, only in a different font and inflection, regrouping of nouns and pronouns…and more hopefully.)
"Do you mind if I try to shed with her?" Lavon asked.
"Not at all…do you mind if I take Gus and Tess shopping for dog beds that will match your edible drapes?"
And so Lavon has worked Jai a few times and Jai really likes working with Lavon…well, anyone, actually. I swear – pull your most heinous maximum security criminal out of his cell in shackles and hockey mask with mouth guard, send him shuffling out in a field with Jai and she'll run a course ending in a shed and then pen for the most evil of miscreants. She'll flank and flow and make it all really pretty. All the worst human being on the living face of this 3rd closest planet to the Sun needs to do is whistle and stand there.
She doesn't take who she works for personally. Except…
Me… Apparently I put her on edge; After I walk her to the post and send her, I make her wish that she hadn't brought me with her to the field. Or that I'd wait in the car.
"You know what I think your problem is? She knows you too well. She can tell when you aren't comfortable and so she wants to do whatever it is to fix it; she gets ramped up on your emotion."
"You need to work on being calm."
"And you need to work Scout."
Ramped up, indeed. Scout can smell weakness you won't know exists until it outruns you in the desert. She'll shed until all that's left is your emotion on one side and sheep on the other.
"Okay! I will!"
Scout, too, loves Lavon.