Our first Dal, our first teacher, our first title, our first love and our first loss.

We brought Molly to our home in 1988 when she was 9 weeks of age. She was a darling pup: full of energy and she delighted us with her antics.  We had been told that she would have to go through puppy school, so at the age of 4 months, Molly began classes.  She did very well, and graduated as one of the top pups in her class.  We did not continue with obedience as we should have.  Approximately 5 1/2 years later, Molly met Kathy McCoubrey of Ravenwood Dalmatians.  Molly was a very anxious dog at this time (due to our lack of training) and she did not take kindly to Kathy entering our home.  Kathy looked at me and said, “You will bring this dog to obedience class this Saturday.”  I informed her that Molly would not like that and I had no intentions of showing her, so she really didn’t need classes.  Kathy repeated herself and I knew I had no choice in the matter.  Molly and I would be in class the next Saturday.  On Saturday, Molly and I arrived at Kathy’s training center in tandem:  Molly was literally riding on my back, barking at everything that moved.  I told Kathy that this probably wasn’t going to work.  She told me to get Molly into heel position.  The class began and Molly, scared to death, went around the ring eyeing everyone and everything with distrust.  Molly hung around my neck for most of that class and as we prepared to leave, Kathy said, “I’ll see you and Molly next week.”  She handed me our assignments and off we went.  Much to the relief of both of us, we had survived.  We returned the next week-Molly still around my neck.  We survived another class.  I told Kathy that Molly thought this was the worst stage I had ever been through-she just wasn’t getting it.  Kathy informed me that Molly would get a CD.  I thought she was kidding.  Molly and I continued to work with Kathy and soon Molly would run for her crate in the car when I would announce it was time to go to school.  Kathy moved to Virginia and we had to find another place to train. After visiting several training centers, I settled on Pikes Peak Obedience.  I had to work through Molly’s fears and anxieties of going to a new place.  Her transition didn’t take long, thanks to our new instructor, Janice Dearth, and soon she was as excited to go to school there as she had been to go to Kathy’s.  I also began taking Molly to matches where I would enter her in sub-novice classes.  She always performed well until it came to stays-they were just too frightening.  I entered my first trials in October of 1996.  Molly’s performance was great-she scored well on the exercises, but broke stays both days.  I was back to level one on stays.  Everywhere I took her for the next 7 months, Molly had to do stays.  In May of 1997, I entered another weekend trial.  Molly, much to my surprise and delight, earned 2 legs, and one day was high scoring Non-Sporting.  I entered her again in June and she got her 3rd leg.  She had earned her CD in 3 straight shows-all after having turned 9 years of age.  I’ll never forget the feelings I had as I heard the judge proclaim the exercise finished and we had a CD!  Molly looked up at me as if to say, “I did it for you,” and then she shot straight up in the air as I released her from the down stay.   Molly had become a different dog.  She loved shows and she loved people.  I used her in the Dalmatian booth at the Colorado Springs Kennel Club shows in June.  Molly put in 27 hours with me that weekend and had a great time.  Additionally, our booth earned 1st place.  I had set a new goal for her: we were going to go for therapy certification.  Sadly, Molly never got that certification for exactly 4 months after earning her CD, she became ill and died very suddenly.  She had taught me a lot about Dalmatians and obedience.  Her exercise was finished.