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Winnie knows Nose memories

"Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved."--Thomas Fuller

There is nothing profound about memories, we all have them. Thru happiness and sorrow, around victories and defeat, after joyful times and heartache, memories in our minds stand in a continuum like books on a shelf. The covers of each book separate, define and protect the pages upon which are written the words of a memory. Like stories in a book, we cherish our memories and as a book cover protects the stories, we protect memories by attaching them to a picture or life event kept track of on the calendar. Book by book on the shelf, together from cover to cover, our memories reside and the space in between the books becomes squashed into seeming insignificance.

Taking Winnie to trials is guaranteed to create memories. When I begin to pack, Winnie immediately knows. She sees the harness, hears the distinct jingle of the clip on her home-made lead (a 12ft long 1/3" thick cord of boat docking line with a scissor clamp knotted on the end). I can see her face light up, the inquiring twinkle in her eyes. We are gonna go sniffing. Winnie knows. When we arrive at an event, to my amazement, Winnie is instantly standing, having rested peacefully in her crate the entire trip. It seems as if she knew where we were going all along tho she'd never been there.

After we've set up "camp" for the day and have waited for her turn to run, I see Winnie's muscles tense with anticipation when I reach to unlatch the crate door. She knows what's next, the fun part, the sniffing part, the reason we came. Time to make the memory.

At the end of the trial, we pack up and go home, but that is not the end of the day. As we drive, I steal many a glance back at the crate. Winnie is content, sometimes sleeping other times gazing at the scenery out the window. Winnie always knows each time I get out her harness and sail-boat cord it'll be for nose work, but she thinks not of the next time, she doesn't think of the future.

Each time we go, I don't know what to expect. I can see the venue on GoogleMaps, can check the parking situation. But how will be the searches? Don't even try to guess. Too many variables in each ever changing moment. No two searches are alike even in the same search on the same day from dog to dog. No need to try and predict it even after a walk-thru. The searches become the words on the pages in the book. We have pictures or videos, and when we do well, ribbons that become the books cover to protect and preserve the memory.

I have come to realize the best parts of the day are not written on the pages of the memory book nor are they the covers. The bet parts of the day become the space between the book covers on our mind's shelves. It is in these insignificant spaces of compressed air that lay the images of Winnie's expressive face while I'm packing, the reminder of her tensely anticipating when it's her turn to run, and the sound of her gentle snore or the look of her satisfied gaze out the window after she has sniffed. These are the parts not protected for easy recollection by ribbons and results. There are no pictures that capture these moments, they are the nuances we feel rather than recall and are kept forever in the space between. Like strings tied to my heart, that is where these pages are kept.

(Inspired by and dedicated to my children and grandchildren who's knots are tied unconditionally to my heart)

Kickin' back in the sunshine at the finish of a trial, searches are done but we are in no hurry. This is my truest bliss.

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