Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sophie > Diary of a Southern Belle at the Races


Stella was lame in one paw so it was only the Soph & I who went to watch Carol race in the "Run Like a Mother" event here in Ridgefield on Mother's Day. The 3.1 mile route was to wend its way through town streets, ending up in the very pretty Ballard Park which is in the center of town.

It was a very festive, exceptionally beautiful day as Sophie & I set out. As usual, she was very excited to go on another adventure. I opened a small window so she could stick her head out to feel that rush of air as drove into town. She was clearly enjoying herself.

We found a parking space, & I got out, moved the front seat forward to make room for the Soph to dismount. She waited patiently for me to attach the lead to her collar & then waited for permission to exit the car.

We crossed the street and started down the sidewalk. She pulled ahead on a loose lead with some anxiety but I talked her into slowing down. Soon we entered Ballard Park to find it populated by fathers, children, photographers, balloons, food vendors and more. And the announcer on the loudspeaker trying to rally the crowd. Music was playing, little kids and dogs ran around. Sophie was very steady on her lead.

A lot of people stopped us, asked if they could greet Sophie, commented on how pretty she was and asking about her breed. We heard "Look at the big black dog, daddy" many times over. Sophie put up with the petting without much reaction from adults & children alike but I gently held her muzzle when little kids came over as I don't know her entire background. She was a real trooper & I was proud of her.

As we wended our way to the finish line, Sophie was very busy, looking left and right. There were too many people coming from all sides for her to re-position herself between them & me so she was a bit anxious.

Finally we were at the finish line, I asked Soph to sit which she did immediatly while I extracted the camera from my backpack. Every once in a while -- as I got organized -- I'd praise her & slip her a tiny biscuit. She semed totally calm. Eventually, she lay down on her own.

The time keepers tested the timer mechanism which emitted a shrieking sound but it didn't bother Sophie & I decided to test my shots w the early runners. As the crowds cheered & urged those women on, more people rushed to the finish line where we were. Some of them stepped over Sophie as she lay at my feet. She was a cool customer.




Then I saw Carol, took my pictures of the final few feet and went to give her a congratulations hug. Sophie calmly joined in the fun.

Carol announced she was off to the 'mamacita' zumba class so Sophie & I departed the park. On the way out, the Soph became a bit anxious, scanning the crowds in our path but I felt her anxiety was to be expected at this stage of her socialization with me, four months into our love affair.

Back into the car, we went for a capuccino & croissant & Soph got her share of croissant w a water chaser. She was a great Bouvier companion under VERY fluid circumstances. Never once did she panic. Never once did she yank on her lead as I took pictures or as people ran by. I was so proud of her.

Next: meeting other Bouviers. Ta.Ta......