Liv's school had a dog show today and Liv asked me to enter Molly.
I was reluctant. Molly is relatively old. Sometimes she is hard to handle. She gets overwhelmed. She doesn't do any tricks and she doesn't really behave very well.
But Liv was adamant.
And I had nothing else to do.
When she saw me getting the leash down in the middle of the afternoon, she got very excited. She hopped into the car with the exuberance of a puppy.
We arrived at the school as other parents were beginning to arrive with their dogs. She hasn't spent a lot of time around other dogs, so this disoriented her quite a bit. We had to go into the school to sign her in. There was a lot of barking (not Molly), jumping (miraculously not Molly) and butt sniffing (not Molly. Ok, maybe a little bit Molly). Molly just whimpered and wrapped her leash around my calves. She clearly just didn't know what to do with herself.
After we signed in, we were directed out the back door to the playground to wait for our kids. As we walked out the door, other kids were still out at recess. They MOBBED the dogs - the kids just went nuts. Molly had hands all over her and she was happy as a daisy. She tried to greet each one of them.
We mingled with the other dogs and their owners while we waited for our kids to come out for the dog show.
Liv came out and made a beeline for Molly. She fell to the ground hugging her and kissing her. Molly, by this point, was shaking like a leaf and crying. Liv assured her that she was the cutest and best dog there. All around us, dogs were practicing their tricks. Molly was whining and getting her own paw caught in her leash.
The regular cast of characters were all there; the folks I expect to see anytime I go to a function at my kids' schools. The bevy of soccer moms with their bob cuts and their big sunglasses paying more attention to each other than to the kids (or the dogs, for that matter), the asshole with a bluetooth conducting business throughout the whole event (so very important, don'tcha know?), the indulgent grandparents who think the sun rises and sets by their grandbabies, you know the crew.
The show goes off without a major glitch.
The dogs are being judged in four categories: biggest, smallest, best trick, and cutest. Molly, a nine year old Golden Retriever with no discernible talents didn't stand a chance. But Liv didn't see it that way. She told Molly, "that Chihuahua is the smallest and Bear (a St. Bernard, maybe?) is the biggest. You didn't do a trick. But you are DEFINITELY the cutest." As they announce third cutest and second cutest, she whispered to Molly, "next is gonna be you!" I looked around at all the puppies and the well-groomed designer dogs. Then I looked at old Molly, finally relaxing in Liv's arms and thought, if there were a prize for most cherished, she just might have a shot.