This story is about a show dog who had more fun playing tricks on his handler/owner than he did showing. He didnít mind being a show dog but he had other things he wanted to do. At the end of the story is an epilogue which tells what I should have done about his cut pad.
Cosmo was always entertaining to show. Unfortunately neither I nor the judge was that entertained. He was a great actor and invented ways to get himself ejected from the ring. His favorite and the one that worked twice out of the many times he tried, was limping. Soundness would be a necessity for a good example of the boxer breed. Hence judges donít like to have a limping dog in the ring. Cos played enthusiastically outside the ring and of course on the way to and from the grooming area. But the minute he stepped into the ring he acquired a mysterious limp. I tried to figure out where the limp actually was. I think he moved it around.
If the judge caught the act before I had a conversation with Cos, then we had to take an extra circuit around the ring by ourselves. The judge would look carefully to see if the dog was really limping. After the first ejection. I found that if I explained, aside to Cosmo, (we have serious face talks)what I thought of his fictitious limp. The limp would magically disappear.
On one occasion he found a way to actually get his paw cut. The cut, how in the world this happened is really mysterious, was a tiny little paper cut on his pad. I knew I was in trouble when I discovered it two days before the show. I got out my potions and a boot and commenced treating the paper cut. He really didnít seem to be inhibited by the wound around home.
Every time I took off the boot and treated the wound, (To call it a wound is embellishing it enormously.) I sat down on the floor and discussed how well it was healing with Mr. Cos. He paid close attention to all the ministrations and seemed very interested in the healing process. But, I knew, our Cosy would think it way too painful to show. I religiously put his boot on every time he had to walk anywhere. He, of course, wore the boot like a badge of courage.
The process of showing dogs is more than most would think. Probably more than it should be. There is a great deal of pre-show preparation, grooming and training. Entry fees, hotel accommodations planed and paid for. Often I have more than one dog entered. So skipping a show because one dog has a paper cut on his foot, is a little silly. Boxers are an extremely tough and pain insensitive breed. They were after all bred to bring down wild game like boar. I venture to say they would get more than a paper cut wrestling with a boar. Cos actually can claim to being one of the tougher boxers. With the exception of doing something he doesnít want to do. This is particularly boxer like. They are great actors.
The minute we arrived at the show the paper cut seemed to be taxing his ability to put his foot on the ground. I actually had to remove the boot and take another look, thinking he had really done something awful to his foot. ďNope,Ē foot was mending nicely. I had to put my reading glasses on to see the cut. When we got to the ring I thought we had it made. The ring was nice plush cushiony grass. It was a beautiful day not too hot or cold. I sat down in front of Mr. Cos, picked up his paw, looked him square in his big brown eyes and explained to him that he would ďNot limp.Ē Not under any circumstances could this tiny cut cause him to limp on that soft grass. He put on an academy award limp and got us ejected again.
Now please donít think I am inhumane. I Know Mr. Cosy well. And, just as I expected, when we were through for the day I took him out of his crate the paw had miraculously healed and he was ready to play. I took him back to the grooming area without boot. He danced and covorted, cut pad completely forgotten.
He actually likes to travel, visit with everyone, and loves the grooming. He is happy outside the ring playing with his toy, flirting or thinking up his next act. He has a fan club. They eagerly await his appearances. His disdain for showing starts when he puts his paw inside the ring. He always gives me a ďjust adequateĒ performance. He delivers his performance with methodical even scientific aplomb. Itís as if he is an automated dog. One completely void of personality. Only his fans, and me of course, know what insidious plans he is hatching in his little brain. He has tried throwing up twice, once successfully. The unsuccessful attempt happened when he was distracted by all the attention his fan club was giving him. He hangs his head over the ring rope and they pet him and tell him what a brave boy he is. While they were sympathizing with Cos the judge awarded us the win. His timing was a little slow that day.
His second attempt was planned beautifully. He waited until it was his turn to have the judge look at him. As the judge turned to him, he threw up enough food to represent three days of eating. Iím sure he had been saving it for this presentation. He never misses a meal.
At one of our bigger shows he dreamed up a whole new act. Obviously realizing the drool, upchuck, and limping routine were outdated. I donít need to worry about how he looks. I have to worry about covering up his antics. His most recent performance demonstrated clearly what he thought of being a show dog. One man, wonít be getting close to Cosmo in the future. Cosmoís newest act is to lift his leg & quickly spurt on an unsuspecting exhibitor.
I began to see the writing on the wall. Or in this case a dog bent on embarrassing me to the point of humiliation. The exhibitor with the wet pants was justifiably annoyed. I could see Cosy lifting his leg on a judge somewhere in the future. His antics were making me a nervous wreck. His fan club was becoming seriously annoying. The harder they laughed the more Cosy performed. I know when I have met my match. Cosmo is retired.
Cosmo shown below at the age of six and half.
Still looking great although obviously a mature dog.
Below Cosmo pictured at age 9. Eagerly awaiting someone to throw his ball. As a obedience trainer I use my own dogs as demonstrator dogs for my clients. Mostly they like to help me out. Except Cosmo. His demonstration act is a new variation on an old theme. He demonstrates a boxer statue.
The cut on Cosmoís pad was just barely noticeable. When I first noticed him limping it was probably because it may have stung a little to get it wet. Iíve had paper cuts deeper than his cut. By bandaging it, I kept it moist and it didnít heal. Thus, when he went to put it down in the grass, it probably stung. This is a case where no treatment would have been the better decision. A case of over mothering and over worrying. If the cut had been deeper it may have warranted a boot and bandage perhaps even stitches. In this case he would have been confined to his crate and kept off of it. And, he would not have been shown. If your dog has a cut on his pad, and you donít know how to treat it, take him to your veterinarian.