Friday, February 13, 2009

the heart of scotland

From my archive of columns....this one ran last August.

With a Scottish background on my father’s side, Sophie and I recently spent a hazy Sunday morning at one of the local Highland Games Festivals. It was a beautiful morning, rich with Scottish heritage. As we walked through the fairgrounds, poignant melodies from the pipers accompanied us. We joined in the applause for the highland dancers….young girls with flushed cheeks and happy smiles, their family tartans carefully pinned in place. We stopped to visit an elderly man that took a shining to Sophie…his thick Scottish accent and gentle demeanour reminding me of my wonderful grandfather whose time with us ended a few years ago.



As we made our way around the Festival, we ended up at the Scottish Breed Dog Show section. Sophie and I walked through the area where beautiful, delicate Dandie Dinmont Terriers were being groomed for the show and elegant, graceful Deerhounds lazed in the shade waiting for their chance in the spotlight. As we were passing through, a woman called out to us. She asked us if we were planning on staying for the show and when I indicated yes, she then asked if Sophie was well trained and, if so, would we would like to be in the show to represent the Border Collies as they were missing that breed? So we were about to make our Dog Show debut! Our tasks included walking in the parade of dogs once around the ring and then entering center ring when it was the Border Collie turn to be showcased. Sophie would do a few of her tricks and then we would head back to our place in line.



I was, admittedly, a bit nervous. The other dogs were beautiful, well-groomed, and so calm. As we took our place in line, I couldn’t help but notice, with some dismay, Sophie’s grass stained paws (from an earlier Frisbee game), her rumpled fur and her wild-eyed stare. The parade started and we were off! Sophie was a picture of perfect obedience walking in the parade of breeds and then it was our turn in center ring. We started performing our tricks as the announcer began describing the Border Collie…and then I saw the unmistakable twinkle in Sophie’s eye. I watched as a familiar blur of black and white shot past me to throw herself, shaking with delight, into the arms of the spectators.



I could feel my embarrassment rising, especially when I saw the horrified look on the announcer’s face. The other dogs had been so obedient and dignified in center ring...I was as mortified as the announcer. But then I looked out at the smiling, laughing faces of the crowd who had immediately become taken with lovable Sophie and I remembered where I was…at a Festival celebrating my heritage. Celebrating a history and culture that helped me become the person I am today. Celebrating who I am…with pride. And that’s just what Sophie was doing…being all things Border Collie. Being all things Sophie. Her grass stained paws and wild antics are some of the things that I love most about her. I had forgotten that for a minute, but never would again. So while we were not best in show that day, I do believe we showed the best of heart.

Cuimhnich air na daoine o'n d'thainig thu ~ Remember the men from whence you came.

18 comments:

Tatersmama said...

Awwwww.. That's my girl! Sophie was just being herself and I'll bet a lot of the spectators were more impressed with her personality and love for life than they were with most of the "mannered" dogs!
And I'll bet there were quite a few dogs wishing that they could have done exactly the same!

Deagh chaileag!!
(that's supposed to be "good girl", but my memory isn't what it used to be. I just hope I didn't say "your nose looks like an umbrella" or something equally stupid.;-)

Mildred said...

That's a great story and I love Sophie's photos. Hope you enjoy Valentine's Day. Give Sophie a hug.

Jan said...

I think she did what comes naturally and of course, she won the crowd over.

Sherri said...

What a great post. I a, so glad you resurrected it. Sophie is so special.

gigi said...

That is so funny, I just loved that story about Sophie. She is such a character. I've always wanted to attend one of those festivals but haven't heard of one around our parts. I have some really good Scotish freinds and I just love the accent. I could listen to him talk all day. Happy Valentine's Day weekend. Hope it's full of all kinds of love.

Dughallmor Beagles said...

What a lovely post....i've come over all bleary-eyed and patriotic...and i'm half English!! Great Sophie photos and a wonderful ending, of course win or lose, you get to take the best dog home!
Thank you for visiting us and for helping us find another lovely blog to follow...hope you don't mind!
Slobbers xx

Maggie May said...

Have you read the "lad, a dog' series? if not i think you'd LOVE them. i do.

such a sweet doggie you have!

Carolina said...

Great story, love Sophie!
Brings back memories of my first labrador Cosy. Do you find that posts of other people inspire you to write your own?

Katherine Aucoin said...

Sounds like you and Sophie had a wonderful time at the festival and Sopohie was a real hit. I would love to attend a Scottish festival. Happy Valentine's Day!

Sharon said...

We had a long legged jack russell terrier who was so fast that we entered her in the jack russell terrier races. Of course, we knew nothing about these races and had never trained our dog, Lucy, but we just thought she would win cuz she was so fast. Well, my husband stuffed her in the cage at the starting gate & I waited at the end of the course. As soon as the cage opened, she came out of the cage & went to my husband. She had no clue that she was suppose to run & chase that silly rabbit that all the other dogs were chasing. And that was that...our one & only experience with the dog races. Sophie did just what she was suppose to do...BE Sophie:) Loved your post!!

Bruce said...

Love ya Sophie...Happy Valentine's Day:)
p.s. I usually don't do what I'm suppose to do either.

Neil Bytes said...

cute dog!

Elra said...

Andrea, think Border Collie is the most beautiful dog I've ever seen. My sister own one, and I have 2 Golden Retrievers.
Cheers,
Elra

Emma Rose said...

Joyful spontaneity! I love it! You two have a Happy Valentines Day!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy Valentines Day! Wonderful column you had! I really enjoyed it..and the photos are great! I think Sophie may be a better swimmer than Chance! Sounds like a wonderfeul festival to go to, and you got to take Sophie! I bet she made a wonderful impression on lots of people that day! :)

Hollie and Janie said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Your Sophie is so beautiful!!!
hollie

Hilary said...

A dog needs to just be a dog. Sophie is a beaut. :)

Jessica said...

Awww..I've stumbled upon your blog and I'm so glad I did. What a beautiful dog you have! :)Your photos really capture Sophie's personality. :)