Oh the memories...
I started my 4H project when I was ten. I wanted a dog really bad and had been asking for one practically since I could talk :). My parents finally said that if I did the 4H dog project with my grandma's 8 year old Beagle (Julio) and was still committed to taking care of a dog afterwards that I could get my own dog. I persevered...and yes it was persevering with an 8 year old, slightly overweight Beagle during an Iowa summer, teaching him things he never cared to learn :). I showed him at County Fair that year and received a blue ribbon. I was also voted Most Improved in my class, LOL.
|Dad and I washing Julio in preparation for the fair.|
|Showing Julio in Pre-Novice A.|
|He wasn't my dog but he was a pretty good sport!|
Finally, I got my own dog!! I accomplished my year with Julio and my parents couldn't say no anymore :). See what they started - now I have 5 dogs and am right back in the 4H world, LOL. So my mom took me to the Story County Animal Shelter and let me pick out my new companion as a Christmas present. Enter Freedom :).
|Finally, my own dog!!|
She was a Border Collie/English Springer Spaniel mix. When she was picked up as a stray by animal control, she had puppies with her and had an already healed broken leg (we never fixed it because it would require re-breaking it) which caused her to walk with a permanent limp. She was soo cute and way too smart for her own good. I picked her because she played with her tennis ball in her kennel and I wanted a dog that I would be able to play fetch with. LOL, she tricked me!! After we brought her home, she never picked up a tennis ball again :).
I did two years of 4H with her and each year we won my class and got a trophy. I love trophies! Sadly, I stopped participating in 4H when I hit high school :(. Bad Erin.
|Freedom and I at fair our second year.|
|Freedom and I showing Pre-Novice B (our first year).|
|Freedom during the stand for exam.|
Back to the present...
4H was such a great experience for me and I hope to pass on that experience this year (and however many more years I happen to be in charge!). It really started me on my path of dogs, LOL. I've been working with dogs in some way, shape, or form since I was 10. Whew, that's 20 years of experience! 4H helped instill in me the love of training as well. It was fun teaching your dog to do things and feeling the pride of accomplishment when you got to show them off at fair. Hopefully, I can bring that experience and feeling of accomplishment to all the kids participating this year. Wish me luck!