>Chuckdate

>Well, Chuck has come and gone, and thank the lord, she didn’t give him a grand old snort. I think she gave him a small one, but nothing compared to what I was expecting. I mean, he spends all day seeing various woofs in various towns. He would be a bonanza for her! But she seemed to know you don’t snarf this dude. Hmmm. Maybe she did understand me. Also, the weather was awesome for us.

But first off, he says we look good, and she looks happy and “in outstanding shape.” Thank you Chuck, I could just hug you.

It looks like the problems were mainly with me, as I suspected. Apparently, without realizing it, I had wussed out in the commanding voice department. He said it sounded more like a negotiation than a command. So with a little work, she had the old zoom back that I love so much. It’s amazing how far a small little thing can go, and how you can change something without noticing it. I had apparently also grown a wee touch lax in my ability to give high-collar corrections when needed. When I’d try, they wouldn’t be as effective as they used to be, cause duh, I was doing them a bit wrong. We ran into 3 dogs, and although she didn’t go as insane as she usually does, she went insane enough to warrant a high-collar correction, and quelle surprise, when ya do it right, she comes around a lot faster!

Plus, I hadn’t been exactly finding the curbs precisely with my foot when we’d stop. I think this may have come partly from the winter days when snow would be piled there and partly because I guess things can get sloppy with time. So after a couple of reminders, I think we’re back on track. Man I love follow-ups. I was so afraid he’d be disappointed in me for letting things slide, but he told me that’s what this stuff is for.

God I feel stupid for having to be reminded of basic things. As soon as he said it, it was like “Duh, you could have so solved this on your own.” But he didn’t seem to care. He said we looked good, and he enjoyed the walk I took him on, which was, uh, longer than I realized. When we’re alone and whistling along, I don’t notice time passing. But when there’s a dude following who has another appointment to catch, well, I heard an incessant “tick, tock” in my head.

You know what I think is absolutely hilarious? He always ends his visits in the exact same way. He asks how you think the route went, and then after you talk about that and he says the things he wants you to remember, he shakes your hand. It’s always the same. I remember it so well because of the horrible first interview. He asked me how the route went and I responded with, “It sucked!” He shook my hand and I thought “Yeah, ok, he’s gonna heave me right into file 13. This handshake is just a formality.” Then when I had the next interview, when he asked me how I felt the route went, I almost laughed because I had a totally different answer. I shook his hand and it felt full of hope that I would be walking with a dog before too long. Last year, at the end of follow-up, it was a positive route and the handshake seemed to be congratulatory. There’s probably a good reason he has such a formula. Years of experience has told him that it works.

So yea follow-ups. I just knew he could straighten me out. Chuck’s a good dude.

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