We have a couple of dogs here at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge in Belize (6 if anyone is counting). One of our first posts covered one of our all time favorites, Lassie. This time it’s Independence, our 5 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. She was born on September 21, 2011, which is also Belize’s Independence Day, making her name selection easier than our sheep.
This past Sunday we took her to San Ignacio for the 3rd annual Sacred Heart Dog Show, to see what our little girl had in her. Independence got the call over our other puppy, because she seemed to want it more when we tried them on the leash. 4 month old Bo Bo (short for Bodacious Bojangles) is going to be a Paul Bunyan sized German Shepherd and will certainly get his chance to shine in the future…
Sunday, though, it was all Independence. She had only been on a leash 2 times before, once to go to the vet to get her shots, and one 10 minute training session the day before. Plus, she had never even left the Jungle Lodge so everything was surely an overload for our little puppy. In San Ignacio she walked alongside speeding trucks to get to the competition. At our farm she chases chickens and only leaves the couch to bite Bo Bo.
We entered her In the hound category, and due to lack of puppy participants, she was forced to compete with the older dogs. Fortunate for her, she was up against a couple of Dachshunds and a Beagle and towered over the competition the first time through. She took home first place in both the puppy category, and in the hound group, earning her a nice certificate, medal, and sizable trophy.
By winning the hound group she earned the rite to compete in best of show. Unfortunately for us, that meant waiting around all day, in the 90+ degree sun, for all the other dogs to compete. Needless to say she was pooped. By the time her name was called for the final showing a couple of hours and 3 beers later (handlers need to celebrate too!), my treat coaxing wouldn’t even do the trick. She needed a nap!
Coincidentally, she was up against a huge Pit Bull male that was owned by Francisco our ATM Cave tour guide from the story we wrote recently. The big boy was clearly intimidating our little girl, even showing the crowd his pink thing! She did not like that one bit, and refused to enter the ring next to him. We gave her the special treatment, like an unruly racehorse, and finally coaxed her into the ring last in line.
At last, she gave it her all, only to fall just short, second place overall to Francisco’s Pit Bull. It was an amazing effort for having only been on a leash twice. The judge told me she couldn’t give her the win because she wasn’t ready, but when she filled out she would be the champion of Belize! We will see what Bo Bo has to say about that…