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Between DeWitt and Clinton

Carol and Aero at the Clinton Kennel Club show, March 28, 2009

Carol and Aero at the Clinton Kennel Club show, March 28, 2009

Carol and I left Chicago yesterday afternoon, and made it to Clinton, Iowa by suppertime. We’re now camped out at a Best Western on US 30 somewhere between Clinton and the next town west, DeWitt. I’m still depressed over Mike Sargent’s death and haven’t felt much like posting anything here, but judging from this morning’s email, people are starting to worry about me, so I figured I’d better surface and at least wave.

Hey, I’m all right. I get quiet when I’m sad, and between the ongoing crap weather and all the death and illness among friends and family, I haven’t had much to feel good about.

But today I think we turned a corner. Carol and I got Aero cleaned up and brushed out this morning and entered him in the Clinton Kennel Club dog show at the Clinton County 4H grounds in DeWitt. Carol’s been working very hard at sculpting his coat (under the tutelage of master groomer Jimi Henton) and he looks better now than he ever has in his two short years. He performed reasonably well this morning, in a small slate that included only one other male bichon. He probably would have won, but instead of prancing sedately around the show ring under the judge’s watchful eye (the judge’s name is Fred Bassett, by the way) Aero kept acting up and turning around to look at the dog behind him and get into play posture. Carol has tried various treats to keep his attention at shows, including the usual cocktail sausages and raw meat, all to no avail. Today we tried little pieces of Twizzler licorice, which didn’t work any better than raw meat. He’s a hard dog to motivate, I guess.

The second day of the show is tomorrow, and Aero gets another chance to behave and perhaps win a point. We’ve brainstormed what to wave in the air to keep him focused, and we’re down to desperate possibilities like dead squirrels and dirty diapers. We have a chunk of a fair bacon cheeseburger in the mini-fridge, and if that doesn’t work, I’d be scanning US 30 for roadkill…except that tomorrow is the last day, and after that we’re (finally!) heading for home.

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