Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Thing Without Wings

Kerri is the daughter of Lilo and Habibi and, as you can imagine, the combination has resulted in a very “Canaan” personality.  Her registered name is “Kerach Dak” which means “thin ice”.  People have asked me why – well, Kerri is always on the edge – from a small puppy, she was the first one forward, the first one to notice things, to react, very active, very fast – in short - pay attention, thin ice!

A few weeks ago, Kerri went to her first dog show.  She was out with me quite a lot as a puppy, going with me to work and meeting many people, but as she got a bit older, I was very busy and had to devote more time to some of the other dogs, so she stayed home.  A pretty girl, I decided that at 16 months of age, the time had come for her to start her career.  So I entered her in our club show.

The show was held indoors in a small hall – although dog shows in Israel are very often held outdoors, at this time of year the weather is very chancy.  This was a completely new place and new experience for Kerri, and I really wasn’t sure how she would behave. 

The Canaans were scheduled to be judged last, but I got there quite early, so that Kerri would have a chance to look around, get used to the new place, and meet all the new people.  Rather to my surprise, as the Canaans are typically a bit suspicious about new things, she was thrilled to be out and about, and all the new people meant lots of attention and petting.  She proved to be as expert as her father in manipulating everyone who came in reach to pet her, with nose nudges, climbing on laps, and sweet expression.  Wow, this dog show thing was fun!

Finally our turn came to enter the ring.  Kerri behaved like a pro, gaiting nicely next to me, happily letting the judge examine her, standing nicely as he wrote his report.  I was feeling very relaxed and very, very pleased with her.

Then, in a fraction of a second, she was gone.  She had jerked the leash out of my hand and all I could see was a silver streak heading for her crate and the friends who were sitting with us.

I quickly ran over and brought her back in the ring.  But now she was crouching, uncomfortable, suspicious, unhappy – what had happened?  Something had affected her, a dog does not behave like this without a reason, but I couldn’t imagine what – I had not felt or noticed anything!

I asked the ring steward if there had been any sudden noise, if something had fallen over – no, there was nothing.  And Kerri was still telling me that there was danger here….

And then I looked at her carefully and saw where she was looking. She was looking up.  And when I looked up, I realized what had happened.  The hall was quite high ceilinged, at least four meters high. Suspended on wires from the ceiling were some small, round advertising signs.  Apparently, there had been a random gust of wind, and the signs started to rotate.  Kerri spotted these dangerous things without wings over her head, moving around in a suspicious manner, and decided that discretion was the better part of valor and took off for a place that she knew was safe – her crate!

The judge, a very experienced dog man from Poland, was very kind and quite amused.  He told me that there were three breeds that were aware of everything going on around them, over their heads as well as on ground level – the Saarloos wolf dog, the Czechoslovakian wolf dog, and the Canaan. It’s okay, he told me, this is normal behavior. 

So Kerri after all got her class first place.  She returned to her safe place and to all the admiring friends, to get some more petting before we left for home, very happy to leave the place of the things without wings over her head.

Kerri and friends at the show

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