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It isn’t just a piece of paper

September 23, 2018

Bailey got mail this week.  She got a new title certificate from the AKC for her latest Scentwork title.  We are always excited to add new letters behind the dog’s names and there is always a good feeling when the certificates arrive.

I have a very cool hand painted photo album the one of the dogs won as a prize at one of the Southwest Support entry shows.  I use it to store show photos and title certificates and as I was planning to add the newest certificate to the album I realized I needed to reorganize the album to accommodate the certificate.  As I took each photo and certificate out of it’s sleeve it made me think about what they all really mean.

There is a very good essay that makes the rounds on Facebook that is credited to Sandra Mowery and I think it is a very good way of explaining why a title is more than a  piece of paper.    For me the title represents time spent with a wondrous creature, it represents time I spend with with people I love, it represents adventure and shenanigans.  The title certificates also represents education, breed preservation,  sportsmanship, compassion and good cheer.  And, yes it also represents a brag, but it is so much more, I’m proud that my dogs are always willing to play games with me and I am proud of my tribe and all the fun and life we get to share together because of our amazing dogs.   As I have said many time before it is my privilege.  I hope it is your privilege too.

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This represents the new AKC title certificates for the current dogs in the house Lindy, PJ, Frost, Bailey, Banner and Cali. This doesn’t include any titles from other venues.

Why title a dog?

Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just an adjunct to competitive scores, a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in record and in memory for as long as anything in this world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better in that regard.

And though the dog itself doesn’t know or care that its achievements have been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.

A title says your dog was intelligent and adaptable, and good-natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that please you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed.

And a title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with it because it was a good dog, that you believed in it enough to give it yet another chance when it failed, and that, in the end, your faith was justified.

A title proves that your dog inspired you to that special relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in return.

And when that dear short life is over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of pride in one small set of initials after the name.

A title earned is nothing less than love and respect, given and received, and permanently recorded.

-Sandra Mowery

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GCH Rockie Top Flying Snow, RN, BN, FDC, CGC, RATI

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