Ronnie was born October 2011 and attended dog school until Christmas 2019. He passed his puppy course in March 2012 and then went onto achieving his Bronze, Silver and Gold Good Citizen awards.
At the time of practicing for his Bronze award a new little Border terrier joined the class. She was called Annie and Ronnie loved her. He used to look out for her coming through the door and was so excited to see her.
He did his Bronze Award on 17th Dec 2013, Silver Award on 26th April 2016 and Gold 19th July 2016. He passed again with flying colours. I remember the Gold exam very well, as we were all very nervous, owners and dogs alike, and it was the hottest day of the year. Even though it was early evening it was so hot and humid. A lot of the work was done outside and finished off in the club. I think a few small exceptions were made due to the heat. Again he passed, bless him. I felt so proud of him, all he wanted to do was please me and he did tenfold, oh and have extra special treats.
As time went on and Ronnie continued to go to the obedience class, I thought it would be an idea to give him a go at the flyball and agility. After all, he couldn't go any further than the Gold, so that's what we did. He loved it. He loved the flyball more as he loved tennis balls and ripping them apart. I had to keep my eye on him in case he tried to do that with the ones at the flyball. He wasn't the fastest runner or jumper, but he gave his best shot. He just wanted to get to the end to feel the tennis ball in his mouth. The agility was another matter. He did enjoy it but it took more skill on both our parts. Sometimes I think he was confused what he was meant to do, but then so was I and I used to get the names of the equipment wrong, so no wonder he didn't understand either.
The equipment was set out a bit like a gym and had little mats at the bases of certain equipment e.g the see-
Another of his little skills was to wee in the tunnel without getting caught. This he did most weeks and the downside to this is that other dogs would follow and have a good sniff and then do the same thing. A big pool of dog wee in the tunnel is not what is expected for well behaved dogs.
Oh we had some laughs there, John always made me laugh and he was great with Ronnie and all the other dogs, they all loved him. I remember one time Ronnie was heading into the tunnel and I was following but somehow I tripped over Ronnie and I nearly went into the tunnel myself. That made everyone laugh.
During the time of Ronnie's schooling, he went along with the club and to the Hayfield Country Show, I think he went three times and did an Obedience display with the other dogs. It was such a good experience and the audience loved it. They were all so well behaved, and Ronnie of course. The club also entered an obedience competition miles away, the other side of Stalybridge. He didn't perform too well at that one, but still the hotpot lunch was lovely.
For all the years he was at school he attended every Christmas party. It was the highlight of the year. For him as well as for me. The only Christmas party where you didn't really need to dress up! The food was always delicious ( gosh, I'm making myself really hungry now), lots to choose from. Hotpot, chilli, quiche, sandwiches, trifle, everything. They had a raffle and I usually won a few bottles which was a bonus. They had games which were played with great enthusiasm by all. Musical chairs always got noisy and very competative as did "Full recall past the sausage". Which dog in their right mind, after doing it once and realising what it had missed, was going to play that game. Ronnie only in all those years of going ran past once. Never again. I put him in every year after that for that game and each time he would run to plate and eat the bits of sausage.
It was also a fancy dress evening for the dogs and owners if so wished. I usually just had a santa hat or fairy headband but I would try and make an effort with Ronnie. He had an outfit as a Christmas pudding one year. Another year he went as a fairy and another year as a sheep. He was so patient. Some other dogs went dressed up in all sorts. One year two dogs, same owner, went as Mary and Joseph.
But sadly Ronnie's last Christmas party was December 2019. He had his Christmas ruff on and had a great party, again eating all the sausages. At the end of the party came the annual prize giving. Imagine my surprise and delight when Ronnie came first in the flyball and agility. I couldn't believe it. For improvement and perseverence. What a proud Mum I was, and still am.
Dog School for Ronnie and I was a delight. Run by wonderful people who loved the dogs and wanted the best for them. Maybe one day I'll go through it all again.