ON WITH THE SHOW!" ... His Master's Smile ... Ron Hevener
He had done his master proud and he had won.
It wasn't that he understood exactly "what" he had done to make
so happy. It wasn't as if he had fought off a raging bear, or
saved a lost child. He hadn't run for help or chased a thief
those he loved. He hadn't done any of those things. He hadn't done
anything but be himself, standing before
a crowd of strangers, beside
the one he loved. And, there it was: His master's hand upon his
shoulder; his master's
voice at his ear; his master's smile upon him.
It wasn't always like this. In the long-ago mists of Before, when
nudged his mother's breast and scrapped with his brothers and sisters,
he was blind to the life that lay ahead of
him, blind to anything but
himself. Listening into the night, his mother's breath comforted him in
a world of what he
could feel, hear, or sense around them. But, from
his earliest awakening, he was aware of a presence around him; an
From as far back as he could think, there seemed to be a
mysterious something watching over them, providing an order to
a mysterious someone who seemed to care.
Day after day it was like this. Day after day, as he dozed in the
of the newborn, he felt himself touched by something greater
than he, himself, seemed to be. It wasn't that he knew himself.
wasn't as if he knew he was any different from a rock or a tree or the
flowers decorating his life. He only knew
that his life was protected
by someone that could change anything around him.
It was a power that could change the
bedding on which he lay. It
could bring him food. It could bring water. It could take away his
mother, making him wonder
if she would ever return. It could fill the
air with music all night long and calm him with a reassuring voice.
the moment he first saw it, he knew he was important to this
powerful someone. He knew it from the moment he felt his master's
As it is with all young dogs, there were ups and there were downs.
There was the time he escaped
and followed a yellow butterfly. Yes, it
was true he could hear his name being called. It sounded nice, hearing
master shout his name to the Heavens and fade into the distance.
But, a yellow butterfly! Now that was something he had
to know about.
He had to know about all kinds of things in the Early Days. He had to
know about powdery wings that fluttered
and lifted a butterfly into the
air. Did he have wings, too, he wondered? Where were his own wings? ...
Where, he suddenly
wondered with a sinking feeling in his belly, was
his master's voice? Yellow butterflies melted into darkness and shivers
he learned the meaning of loneliness ... and longing.
A light! The rustling, crunching sound of dry leaves and familiar
Was it possible? "There you are!" came the words that showed
him all things are possible even when all is lost. "I've been
for you," came the caress of love as they turned for home and he felt
his master's smile upon him ....
were other times, many of them, when he tried new things. Some
were praised and others were not. But through it all, through
times and the bad, his spirit flourished and he grew. As his spirit
grew, so did the body in which it dwelled.
He grew taller, stronger,
and wiser with his master never far away; feeding him, watering him,
turning on the radio
and filling the night with music ....
With his master's help, he grew to understand that collars, leashes
were important things to know about. He grew accustomed to
riding in a car, accustomed to the slippery floor of a veterinarian's
and the bitter taste of medicine ... He grew accustomed to many
things, to please the one he loved.
There were others
like his master. As time went by, he saw many of
these gods, for that's what they were to him. He heard them speak and
not understand their words, he saw their eyebrows raise and fall,
he saw the gesture of their hands and felt their laughter.
thing worth showing?" they asked.
"We'll see," came the answer from the one who mattered to him most.
mother is the best one I have and his sire is a winner."
As spring burned into summer and summer leaves began to fall,
worked. They worked together, side by side, early in the morning. They
roamed the pasture and fields, just the
two of them, a master and his
dog; a master and his dog sharing a secret. "You can do it," he was
told. "I know you
After what seemed like endless mornings and endless nights, when it
felt as if this would be his lot in life
forever, something changed.
"We've done enough now, my friend. It's time to show them."
Show them? Show them what?
What are we going to show them?
"We're going to show them what you were born to be," came the
answer, as he felt
his master's smile upon him.
He was frightened that day. Was he good enough? Would he do the
right thing or would
he let his master down? What was ahead for him, he
wondered, as he hopped into the car. Were they going to the vet's
Please say they weren't going to the vet's office for shots or
medicine. But, they weren't going to the vet. This time,
past the vet. He breathed a sigh of relief and fell asleep.
It was the sounds that woke him: sounds of
barking, air compressors
and excited chatter. The smell of sausage, French fries and dogs --
hundreds of them; more
dogs than he had ever seen in his life -- lured
him to full attention. Where are we, he wondered, pressing his nose
the window. What's happening?
"Come on, fella," his master said, opening the door and snapping on
a leash after
they came to a stop. "Good boy!"
"Good" is what he always tried to be. Was it his imagination, or was
his master standing
extra tall today? Was his master brushing him with
extra-careful attention? Were people looking at them in a different
than they used to?
"Where'd you get that one?" somebody with a poodle asked.
"Bred him myself," came the answer.
Who's he out of?"
"The best one I have and his sire's a winner."
"Wait a minute -" came a voice of disbelief. "That
can't be the one
I saw at your place. That pup was just about the scrawniest thing I
Nobody had ever
told him he was scrawny. Nobody had ever told him he
was any different from a flower or a cloud or a beautiful butterfly.
had ever told him anything ... except that he was important;
except that he was loved.
The class was called, the
entries filed into the ring ... proudly,
he stood as the judge ran her hands through his hair, over his back and
his legs. Down and back they trotted; around the ring they went.
As still as a living statue he stood, though every fiber
of his being
wished to jump into his master's arms.
One by one the entries went through their paces. One by one,
went to the end of the line. One by one, they waited the judge's brave
"Around again, please,"
she directed ... and, sure of herself, she
pointed: "One! ... Two! ... Three! ... Four!" as the crowd clapped
No, it wasn't as if he understood exactly "what" he had done to make
everyone so happy. It wasn't as if
he had fought off a raging bear, or
saved a lost child. He hadn't run for help or chased away a thief. He
any of those things. He hadn't done anything but be
himself, standing bravely before a crowd of strangers; standing beside
one he loved. There it was: His master's hand upon his shoulder;
his master's voice at his ear; his master's smile upon