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.
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