Culpeper Remembrance Days are going down this weekend, and yesterday there was a Civil War encampment featuring Brigadier General William “Extra Billy” Smith at the Culpeper Museum. I had just enough time to get home from work, let the dogs out to potty, and then slap a leash and collar on Zille and load her in the car to go make nice with re-enactors, an important part of her training as the Sesquicentennial Emergency Backup Dog.
The only hairy moments came shortly thereafter, when a group of kids tried their hand at playing Graces. Graces is a 19th century game wherein two people each have two sticks apiece. The sticks are about 18″ long. There is also one be-ribboned hoop, and the goal of the game is to use your sticks to throw the hoop to your partner, who will theoretically catch it on her sticks and then throw it back to you. I’m sure you can see where this is going, given that Zille is Fetchy Dog Extraordinaire. She saw no reason why she should not also be allowed to join the game, since she would be WAY better at catching that hoop than any of the kids were. After I convinced her that I was not going to allow her to snatch toys from small children, she grumbled at me and went and sat on Extra Billy’s foot in the hopes that he would be sympathetic to her deep need to go join the game. Alas, the General ignored her plea.
Also present was the World’s Oldest Civil War Re-Enactor, I swear to God. The gentleman had to be at least 80, and he could talk the hind leg off a mule, which is how I know that:
1) His father used to breed and show German Shepherds.
2) Something about Zille’s ears and her color mean she’s a really good German Shepherd (He mumbled some, so I didn’t quite catch what about her ears and color make her so outstanding. But she does have Serious Ears on her.)
3) You must raise German Shepherds right from the beginning or they will be no-good curs.
4) You must “take German Shepherds to the water” to go swimming, or “they’ll go crazy.”
I’m now nervously wondering if the little wading pool I have for the dogs (in which Zille loves to splash around) is enough water to keep her from going crazy. It’s hard to say, so I think I might take her to the river some this summer, just to make sure.