Saturday, June 20, 2009

Go-pher It!

This is Casper.

Casper and his brother and sister, Buddy and Nikki, are in some of my Rally-O classes.

Casper is Romeo's new hero. Romeo has serious idol worship happening for Casper. Let me explain ...

I hold my classes in a lovely field on the University of Saskatchewan campus. It's quite large, bordered on two sides by fence and bush, next to a quiet parking lot for easy access. Lots of trees for shade. This field is often used by local dog groups to hold classes or practices in the summer, so I staked out my evening to take advantage of the great area as well. This year the field is unusually overrun by gophers. There are EVERYWHERE, there are literally 5 or 6 gophers in any given area you happen to glance towards at any given time. They keep to themselves, but because the field is used for dog sports at least 5 evenings a week, they have become quite used to dogs being around. I would imagine that, for the most part, the people that use the field discourage their dogs from chasing the gophers as the dogs are all there to work on their various activities. So the gophers have a false sense of security.

Bad horrible person that I am, I will often let Gio and Romeo tear around after class while I clean up, and will on occasion encourage them to chase the gophers. Now, I only do this because I know that neither Gio nor Romeo has any idea what to do with a gopher after the "chase" stage. Gio gives himself away by barking, so never really gets any closer than 15 or 20 feet anyways. He's none too stealthy. And Romeo is more apt to play bow at a gopher than try to catch it.

Today was a normal Rally-O day, and as I cleaned up my signs after classes were finished, Casper's "mom" volunteered to help. (Wonderful person that she is!) She let her crew off leash to tear around with Gio and Romeo, and when I told my guys to go chase some gophers, she mistakenly uttered the phrase "get it!" to her crew. Casper took her word for it and took off like a bolt, straight for a congregation of gophers near the back of the field. A quick snap and he had one, it's terrified gopher scream calling attention to it and the rest of the dogs took off running to see what the fun was all about. We successfully called the dogs away before they all got their paws in on the mess, but not until after Casper dispatched of the pesky gopher.

Of course, he was quite proud of himself, and pranced happily back to us with a shit-eater grin on his cute little face. I think he probably had "gopher stink" on him from the quick but efficient struggle, and this certainly drew Romeo's attention. Romeo just couldn't leave Casper alone while we finished cleaning up. He shadowed him precisely, staying close to Casper's flank, copying his every move. Romeo thinks Casper is amazing, and brave, and wonderful, and the best guy ever!

Stay tuned to Casper's Blog, I think he may have a photo of his trophy to share with the world.

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