Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Dog Named Blitz - Chapter Five, "One Year Old", Part 4

For background on this serial, please click here. You can also start at the previous section

The neoprene dog vest hung off of the finger of the photo studio assistant looking like Everest must look to those that try and climb it.  I gazed upon the garment, then back at Blitz who was still in process of working the room and making introductions, and wondered how I was ever going to combine the two.  But we were there to model, and modeling is what we were going to do, come hell or high water. 

The vest itself featured two holes in the front for the dog’s front paws, zippered in the back, and then opened at the dog’s waist.  Thus, all I needed to do was get her paws in the holes, and then the zip up would be easy.  I hashed a plan where I would just lift Blitz’s paws into the holes, one after the other, and things would go smoothly from there.  I stood at her side, lifted a paw, and was immediately met with resistance by the dog.  She wasn’t taking to my lifting her leg in this fashion, and was waving it around like she was at a rap concert.  I quickly found I’d be able to get one paw in, but as I’d move to the other the first paw that I had in place quickly came undone. 

My frustration grew, as did Blitz’s enjoyment, as she thought this whole episode as quite sporty.  Soon her rapturous behavior erupted in her dashing from my grip and running around the photo studio doing what I call “the low butt.”  The low butt is what my wife and I called Blitz’s episodes where she’d euphorically dash around in a berserk fashion, in a posture that had her front end high and her rear end nearly dragging on the ground.  And in these moments, she loved nothing more than being chased, and we built games around her getting whipped up, doing “the low butt,” and me chasing her around. 

Unfortunately, here in the photo studio, this was not the time for “the low butt,” and my chasing of her to try and get her under control was perceived on her end as sport.  She zoomed around the photo studio crew, behind the set and out the other side, and all about the room with me shouting commands and waiting for a request to leave the premises that I knew would soon be coming from the photo studio staff. 

Blitz finally got settled down to a point where I was able to get her to sit, and I eased up behind her and petted her head in attempt to calm things down.  This appeared to work, so I pressed my luck and brought the vest around her in attempt to get it donned.  That immediately made her stand straight up and bolt, but it gave me a great idea on a new approach. 

Again I calmed her down and came in from behind her, however this time when I brought the vest around her and she stood up to run, I moved forward and sandwiched her between my legs.  While I was successful and she was trapped, the fight was clearly on and she bucked and shook in attempt to free herself.  However my grip was strong and I was able to move the vest around her, drop it to the floor, lift her front legs up simultaneously, drop them into the holes, and lift the vest into place.  Success! 

Unfortunately I was only half the way there, as the zipper required fastening.  I squeezed the neoprene material together to start the zipper, which was met by a whole new level of squirming and fighting.  After multiple tries I was finally able to make the zipper catch, ran it down her back, and completed zipping her up.  I immediately released my legs to let go of the bucking bronco between my knees, and Blitz instantly bolted from my grasp, flopped to the floor on her back, and squirmed to try and make the offending garment go away.  However the zipper held true, and Blitz soon resigned herself to her fate of having to wear the vest. 

At this point I looked to the photo studio staff that were looking at Blitz and I in looks that were simultaneously disbelieving and annoyed.  “Well, that wasn’t too bad,” the photographer muttered sarcastically. 

Immediately concerns were raised about Blitz’s ability to hold still, and doubts were voiced on our ability to get the needed shot.  After such an exhaustive investment, I asked that we try, and I moved Blitz to her spot on the floor marked in masking tape while the crew arranged lights and ran test shots. 

I’m not sure that the combination of the long walk, retrieves, playing with the kids, and fighting the vest being placed on her wore her out, or if she was just one of those diva types that is an enormous pain in the posterior off camera but instantly becomes the consummate pro once the cameras roll, but Blitz could not have been any better.  She sat on her mark on command, unmoving but engaged.  After about six shots the photographer exclaimed that he had at least three that were worthy of being in the ad, and that we were free to go. 

It was hard to believe that so much craziness translated to a grand total of two minutes of shooting, but that is all that was required.  I freed Blitz from the offending garment, placed her on lead, and headed back to the car and home. 

Here is the shot that ultimately got used: 

The benefit of this entire episode, beyond the bragging rights that go with one’s dog being a dog model, was that the vest was ours to keep.  Unfortunately that was also the curse.  Throughout her life Blitz fought wearing the vest, and fought like her life depended on it.  Once on, she was fine with it, but getting it on was always an epic. 

This fight was soon renown at our duck camp, and partners and guests alike lined up on the porch or on the yard as Blitz and I squared off for our famed “dog vest match.” 

My friends and I grew up watching professional wrestling on TV, and based on the feedback of those in the audience, I’m told that Blitz and I put on a better show.  Fortunately, I limited her wearing of the vest to only the coldest of days, but that never stopped the hopeful question being asked at the kitchen table over coffee every morning before the hunt: “So, are you going to put the vest on Blitz this morning?” 

Don't you wish, pal.  Don't you wish...   

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