The photo at the top of this blog is Acadia One No Trump, known to one and all as "Mike." Mike has many special qualities, top of the list being he is the softest dog I've ever known. He is loving, sweet tempered, and can get quite playful. His one true love is his Jenny, my miniature Poodle. Yes, I own a Poodle. More on that later...
In the card game of Bridge you tell your partner and opponents what type of hand you have--strong, weak--and how many tricks you can take by bidding out loud. The name of the game is to take all the tricks played. When you bid "One No Trump," you are telling everyone you have a winning hand.
Mike was to be my second agility dog, my winning hand. He had all the physical attributes for the game. He shaped beautifully as a young dog. However, around age 2, a switch flipped and he could no longer focus on running a course. The tense environment of the trial atmosphere just did him in. I tried for over a year--various handling techniques, different venues, dropped down in jump height, etc., etc., but to no avail. Finally I gave up trying to trial with Mike. I love him too much to cause that much stress in life.
Mike taught me there's something at the other end of the leash, and you'd better respect it. We all have our strengths. And Mike's strength was telling me that not all shelties are the same. It was a tough lesson, but one I've taken to heart.