Yesterday Elsa shocked me; she tends to do this on a weekly basis. I've said it before and I will say it again, she is scary smart. She is probably the smartest standard poodle that we have had as of yet. I can't imagine smarter. So I had just come home with a bag full of meat from the grocers and proceeded to cut up their breakfast. Elsa is not a fan of raw yet; she still sort of picks it up with her front teeth, gives it a little shake and then plays with it. But raw is Luke's favorite, it always has been and when I bring home meat from the store he will follow me right into the kitchen.
Yesterday he had made himself comfortable on the double lounge outside. I proceeded to cut up breakfast and brought his Majesty an appetizer piece which he gobbled down. Back in the kitchen to finish the cutting I offered Elsa a pea sized piece which to my surprise she ate. So then I pushed it by offering her an inch sized piece which she threw onto the floor. I then told her "if you don't eat that, Luke will." She promptly picked it up and headed outside. I followed her wondering where she was taking it. She gave it to Luke. She put it down right beside him and backed up to watch. Of course he picked it up and ate it. She seemed happy with herself and came back in. I stood there shocked. Really?
Amazing girl she is but aren't they all? Each and every dog has an amazingness (is that a word?) in themselves. When Elsa joined our family I wondered what her "thing" was going to be. They all have something; whether it is a passion or a drive but each holds something amazing all on their own. I meet so many dogs and love nothing more than hearing about their amazingness. When I am at a new shoot I like to hear all about the dog so that I can best capture that individual amazingness for the owner. Each dog shines differently and individually. I really hate when I hear disappointment in an owners voice, jealousy I guess you could call it. "I wish my dog could do that." I use to hear this a lot when I was out with Tilley. Yes she was truly amazing in her athletic capabilities but not too many people could deal with the drive that she had. All they saw was her flying through the air doing her spectacular leaps and wanted their dog to do the same. Although she was one of those truly amazing dogs; my lassie in poodle clothing.
Of course I consider dogs to be amazing just by the simple fact that they are dogs but they all have a hidden talent. Sometimes it can be tough to find if you are not looking. I often see dogs doing things that they clearly don't enjoy but the owner is loving it. I like to offer activities that my dog loves. I've been noticing that Elsa loves to scent so in a couple of weeks we are going to give Nosework a try. We'll see how she likes it, I think she will excel at it. She adores retrieving, she is a retrieving maniac so she has a daily outlet for that passion.
Not all things amazing in dogs have to be "official" or spectacular. Lots of amazing things that dogs do are basic and enjoyed on a day to day. Just yesterday I walked by a freshly raked playground. The sand was perfect, awaiting the arrival of children. I couldn't help myself, looking around first I let Elsa loose on it. She spread her front legs and toes and dug into the sand. This is heaven for her. She has a mini zoom, within a 3-4 range while growling with over the top enjoyment. I don't know who enjoys it more, Elsa in the sand or me watching Elsa in the sand. Amazingness.
Each and everyone is amazing. From the all star athletic canines to the ones that simply share their amazingness through a tender leaning in or head on your lap. During a shoot the other day which I was photographing a Mastiff, Bull Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Greyhound and Glen of Imaal Terrier at one time, I found myself taking a moment with the Greyhound. As the others raced around he simply pushed against my leg; without thinking I reached down and stroked his face. He was pushing pretty hard and when I looked down into those eyes of his I just about melted. Amazingness.
All dogs are crazy intelligent, far more intelligent than we give them credit. But they don't all display it the same; sometimes you have to really dig, sit back and look for it. I hate to hear when people are disappointed in their dog "he's a dud." Oh no, there are no duds; they are just dogs who have not been discovered as of yet which if you think about it is a downfall with the owner not the dog. My boy Clyde who is now long gone did not have the sharpness in intelligence that some have but what he had was a true amazingness of heart. He was my heart dog and never away from my side. He would protect me with his life and I adored him, still do and think of him often. They are all amazing, I guarantee it.