Partnerships? A One Woman Protest!

Its been a bit of a funny old time for Jade. Since the carefree days of her ‘Not in these Heels’ escapades’ life has had its ups and downs. Manys the long day spent tucked up on the Chaise Lounge with Jeremy Kyle on ITV2 and a pile of ‘Heat’ Magazines….

….. but there came a time, when the hot flushes wained and the working test season marched on and she needed to gently drift back into being a gundog again. Her overprotective father insisted it was ‘way too early’ and ‘I’ll remember next time you are spayed, Missus…’ as I waved a whistle at the pair of them and they pointedly ignored me and turned channel to another rerun of Top Gear on ‘Dave’.

So I did what every supportive partner and pushy mother would do… and sent an entry off for them accidentally forgetting to mention it. So therefore, about a week ago, I dropped it into the conversation that the pair of them might want to sharpen up as they had to take Mallies trophy back to Guildford Gundog Club on Sunday …’Oh and RUN in the Intermediate too….’ Silence. Deafening….. and then with a sniff and a promise of ‘glorious revenge one day’, they got down to it.

Off they trotted Sunday morning bright and early, Jade’s Jimmy Choos in one hand, Her Big Shot hairdryer in the other (incase there was water…) and reports back all day came in by text to the effect that the pair of them were gelling nicely again and things were going well. The odd hiccup like handling her OFF a dummy with great efficiency at one point will go unmentioned of course (oh… well…. whistle….) but in the main Jade was Jade. Health and Safety Jade. Harness, bungee rope and knee pads, Jade. Jade and Birds are like what Brad, Angelina are to Toys R Us… but Jade and Dummies can be a little like what Peter and Jordan are to publicity shy happy marriages.

I used to have a gundog trainer who talked incessantly of ‘partnerships’. A handler and dog were a ‘partnership’. ‘Partnerships’ were everything. ‘Can you see how *they* (whoever it was, it usually wasn’t ME) are working together as a PARTNERSHIP….’ Jade rather liked the whole ‘partnership’ thing. You see, maybe logically, to Jade, who is into her Ying and Yang. Her Feng and Shui. Her Abercrombie and Fitch, the idea of a partnership was entirely logical. But the thing BEING, to HER that meant as far as she was concerned, in gundog work, the balance was just a tad out.

She would explain it to Mallie for hours at a time trying to drown out Deeds snoring in the next kennel…. ” I just don’t get it, Mal. WE run out. WE stop and zing about, nose to floor, jumping, swimming, sweating and breaking nails left right and centre… and what do THEY do? they stand. They blow a whistle. They occasionally sling their arms about. Yeah cos thats what I CALL a partnership…..!!!!’ She would fret about this for hours till Mal would rightly try and smother her with some vet bed.

So sadly, at this ‘going rather well’ Intermediate test Sunday, was when Jade decided to launch her ‘one woman protest’ about the incrediable inbalance of justice in the ‘partnership’ department.

But picture the scene if you will. Four dog walk up. Everyone left in on decent marks. Nerves buzzing. Adrenaline pumping. ‘No pressure Al, but I did WIN last year and the dust ring on the mantlepiece could do with the trophy back in it quite honestly….’ ringing in his ears (I am BEYOND supportive…)

Walkety walk. Bang. Send. Gallop. Token hunt. PROTEST commences!

Jade finds dummy. You know she has found the dummy because she stands over it, staring back at Al wagging like mad yelling ‘FOUND IT! Its here! Got it! Darn thing was right where I thought it would be the minute that bloke over there chucked it! Thats just great isn’t it, dad….? Now dad….. (Unfurls her protest banner….) ‘YOU want it. YOU come get it!’.

Al: ‘Pip pip pip….’ (blush)
Jade (drips sarcasm): ‘Yeah righto’
Jade. Stands firm for her cause. Wag. Smile. Another stare at dummy. ‘How about Bollocks father?!!!’.
Al: ‘Jade! Come! Come! Peeep peep peep…’
Jade: ‘Exactly WHICH part of partnership do you not understand?’

….. Forcing Al for face sake to shout ‘oyyyy! Come Jade COME!’ doing a bit of handclapping and general puppy encouragement body language to his utter shame.

Her good ‘shoulder monkey’ took over and she gracefully picked the dummy. BUT she had a trick or two left which defined ‘peaceful protest’. She basically walked (and I mean ‘walk’) back in with a forceful purpose avoiding every thistle, prickle, blade of grass over a certain length and, of course, any mud. Then, as if that weren’t quite enough, about eight foot from Al, she let out a sigh and wee’d extensively before walking the last three strides in and delivering beautifully.

As he handed the dummy to the judge, who first had to be nudged to wake up, he SWEARS he heard her mutter ‘I’ll give you PARTNERSHIP…!’ in a smug fashion. As the judge noted the immortal words ‘Stood over Dummy’ ‘Slow inrun’ ‘Noisey handling’ ‘Wee’d – 12’ – in his notebook, Jade obviously felt her point was well made.

Diana – May 2009

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