Never knowing what might frighten Marshall or how he may react on any given day I was a bit hesitant to expose him to many people and even more crazy Jack Russell’s at the JR event in Phoenix. I spoke with Sandy and we decided that we’d set up the book table right outside a large enclosure, put him inside where I could keep my eye on him and see how he does. I put Charm and Sharkey in with him thinking they would help him feel comfortable. Boy were they insulted. Charm stood at the gate with that "Let me out of here right now!" look on her face.
It was cool that morning, but soon warmed up to about sixty degrees. Marshall marched about the fence line marking his territory. Ears and tail were at attention. He seemed completely at ease and what’s more very interested in what was going on. People began to approach him through the fence and he marched right up to each of them even letting some pet him through the wire. My friend and photographer Suzanne Sylvester went inside, called his name and he came right over for a treat. Although he was reluctant to get near her giant camera lens, he overcame his fear to get close enought to let her pet him. It was truly amazing.
Many of the people at this event had seen Marshall when he came directly from the puppy mill in Missouri. He’d been cowering at the back of the crate, never looked at anybody and frightened of everyone and everything he saw and heard. They were thrilled that he now knew his name, looked up at them and could walk with his legs underneath him. For me, since I see him every day, it’s more difficult to see improvement, so this was a good measure of progress for me.
Sharkey and Charm didn’t last long in the pen. Sharkey was insane to race and run the lure course; she signed her pawtograph to books and greeted many. Charm was content to get in the car and snuggle under a blanket for the day. This was the first time she refused to race, a sign perhaps that her age is creeping up on her, or more likely, that her nose was out of joint after being put in the enclosure with Marshall.
Marshall stayed out for the entire event, let many touch him, give him treats, showed interest in the other dogs coming by, and wore the wonderful red scarf Sandy gave him without a wince. Although he doesn’t know tricks and will pee on just about anything he can he was a SUPERSTAR that day!
My unending gratitude to Suzanne Sylvester for her talent and the use of this photo!