The SEGD walk-a-thon on Saturday was my kind of event. No rules, no real start or end. No winners or losers. John Bauer has an excellent post about the event here, so I won't go into detail.
We planned to meet with John's friend Jason for lunch, and Jason wasn't available until noon, so we were on a deliberation mission to goof off. Even so, we only managed to walk the loop twice, stopping every 10 or 15 or so feet along the way to talk, just like at a family reunion, except this was a family reunion for dogs instead of people, along with the same discussions about lineage (like now, whose nephew are you?). The family tree for SEGD puppies is enormous and complex and yet another one of those things that will always be too big for my brain to absorb.
And even then, with all of our dawdling, it was almost 1 pm before we picked up Jason, who currently is in the program at SEGD and will be taking home a new dog (his second dog) soon. Bagheera, his first dog, developed a medical problem and couldn't continue working.
Cheryl suggested that we drive to Mississippi (or somewhere in Texas) for lunch, so off we went... After about an hour we finally got there and got settled (4 people and 3 dogs, including Bagheera) at a small table.
Jason was interested to learn more about puppy raisers, and he talked about his own experience with Bagheera--about the difficult adjustment during those first few days at home and about the sad decision to give up Bagheera, who is back living with John. Of course, Cheryl and I felt sad when Bingo went in for training, and parting with the princess will also be hard, but I can't imagine how Jason must have felt to lose his first dog so soon.
Jason told us about some of the problems he faces, like the time he and Bagheera were crossing a busy street and some kids yelled and whistled and caused Bagheera to become startled, leaving them both stranded as the traffic moved around them. He told us about the problem people he encounters in restaurants and other places. It's a wonder how some people can be so immature and stupid, a condition that seems to be an incurable disease in many human beings.
Anyway, it was a great pleasure have lunch with Jason, a nice guy who seems optimistic about the future, eager to learn about Information Technology at college, and ready to start a career. Good luck to him and his new dog.