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The Mystery of the Disappearing Sleeves – A Laila Belle Detective Mystery

November 21, 2013

V Laila Bell von den Sportwaffen Kkl1







I didn’t know what mom was up to that week before the strange yellow ribbons appeared on the field and seemingly made all of the sleeves mysteriously disappear.  She had spent nearly every waking moment in front of that glowing box. By the end of the week, after countless hours of anticipating another fun day of sniffing for things that earn me a ball or chasing down a helper and biting the sleeve, I was quite surprised when none of the normal good stuff happened on our training field.

It rained all morning the day the mystery began. I didn’t mind the rain, but when she saw the growing puddle of water in my crate, she made unhappy noises over it, which wasn’t like her at all. She would leave and return, each time forgetting to get me out to track or hunt for the scents that earned me a ball.  I decided to splash water on her to cheer her up. She growled at me.

I watched all morning as other dogs walked on to my field and followed the yellow ribbon. Did they not realize it only circled back on itself and never lead to the yellow teepee where the man with the delicious sleeve hid? I found it odd that they seemed not the least bit annoyed by this. It was all very different and I began to worry. What if the yellow teepee’s no longer contained a man with a sleeve? I tried to alert her to this very troubling prospect several times, but she continued to ignore me. Finally, when I thought I would lose my mind, she dropped the tailgate and….opened Uma’s crate! Argh!!

I protested quite loudly, but she didn’t seem to hear.

She took Uma to the field with a bunch of other youngsters and they all began to follow the yellow ribbon. People watched them quite seriously and made approving comments.   People ran outside of the yellow line and mercilessly teased the youngsters with balls and other very enticing toys, which the youngsters foolishly chased until they panted heavily and it seemed they would just run forever not realizing they would never, ever be given the toy. If it were me, I thought, I would just duck under that yellow ribbon and snatch the first toy I came to!

The madness finally ended with all of them standing in a neat row in perfect positions while the humans further commented on them and made approving gestures and noises.

After an eternity and another inch of water had accumulated in my crate, she returned. She was so happy she didn’t even react when I shared more of the water with her. Apparently following the endless yellow ribbon and standing very still made her very happy.  I made a mental note of this.

Perhaps now that Uma was back, I hoped, she would get me out and I would be allowed to bite something! She reached for my crate door and opened it. I was out! ‘Let’s go!’ I turned to race to the field, but felt the pull of the collar. She beckoned me to her and began to rub my belly with a bite rag that I couldn’t bite. Torture! I let her know that this wasn’t acceptable, but she once again, ignored me. One of the humans came to assist her in her madness and my fears increased. I hadn’t seen any men with sleeves all morning. I hadn’t seen any sleeves at all! The humans had surely lost their minds.

After much fussing and fluffing and torture with a bite rag that I couldn’t bite, she walked me to the field where I was immediately met by a pretty girl who seemed to think she belonged on my field. She smelled way too pleasant and obviously needed to roll in something dead and get some mud on her coat. She turned her nose up at me and I immediately put her in her place. ‘Look, bitch, I haven’t had a chance to bite anything all week! Don’t mess with me!’ Mom didn’t approve of my little outburst, however, and after a stern warning, I was soon subjected to the same exercises I had watched Uma perform earlier.  Oh the indignity!

As we trotted around the ring, I kept watch, waiting for an opportunity to snatch a ball or toy from one of their unsuspecting hands.  It wasn’t long before I got my chance. Mom was wearing down, gasping for air and as I felt the lead slip slightly from her hands, I pulled away enough to bound under the ribbon and grab a ball! Although she found this somewhat humorous, she didn’t allow me to keep the ball, and soon I found myself once again following along after all the others.

After running forever, we stopped and faced the man who stood in the center. He looked at each of us very carefully, studying us. There was so much going on and yet no one, neither canine nor human seemed to notice that all the sleeves had mysteriously vanished. My only bit of consolation was that at least the balls had not suffered the same fate as the sleeves.

The judge made approving comments on the line of dogs in front of me. I tried to make eye contact with them to let them know I really didn’t approve of them being on my field, but mom was on to me.  I sighed and tried to patiently wait my turn. Perhaps if I stood really still and did as she asked, I might at least get to bite a ball.

Finally, the man turned to me. He made many comments and when he finished speaking, mom yelped like a puppy as did the alpha man who I had known my entire life and who first introduced me to the wonderful sleeve. They continued to yelp and jump up and down and embrace like I had just done something quite extraordinary, like speak in their language. But they had clearly lost their minds, because I hadn’t really done much and I didn’t get a ball out of it, and I certainly didn’t get a sleeve.

Mom danced me back to the truck where, finally, she gave me a bite on a blessed ball! Then magical things happened. People came and rubbed my muddy belly. Someone brought me raw meat. Mom    opened the truck and produced juicy bits of steak which I devoured.  It all seemed rather odd, that these humans would so appreciate my trotting and standing abilities, but as long as I was getting my belly rubbed and fed meat, I wasn’t going to protest.

I spent that night dreaming of chasing rabbits that I could never catch and being rewarded with tasty steaks while I lounged on a satin bed and had my belly rubbed by adoring humans. When I awoke, I hoped that mom had come to her senses and we would perhaps return to the field and do the things we normally did there and that the yellow ribbon would be no more. I suspected the yellow ribbon had something to do with the disappearance of the sleeves. I hoped to prove out my theory and was anxious to return to the field to see if it was correct.

When we arrived at the field, I immediately noticed that the ominous yellow ribbon was still in place. My heart sank. I sat in the car and waited patiently, hoping beyond hope that at least one of the humans had thought to save at least one of the sleeves before it was too late.

I lay in my crate pondering where all the sleeves might have gone. I contemplated that if I tore at the yellow ribbon with my teeth until it was a shredded into a thousand pieces perhaps all the sleeves would return. As I tried to work a solution to solving this mystery and after what seemed like a thousand years, I suddenly heard the familiar sound of a whip cracking! I jumped to my feet and peered out onto the field. There stood the alpha man wearing his special armored coat and upon his arm…. a sleeve!

Joy! Joy! Joy!

I called to her, ‘mom, mom, mom!’ She didn’t seem to notice.

‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!! Bite! Bite! Bite!’

She finally snapped out of her coma, came to the truck and walked me to the field.

I stayed by her side for several agonizing steps until the alpha man appeared.  She released me and I raced forward and took my prize. It was heaven in my mouth!  The alpha man danced me across the field and I held on and fought with him until mom called the out command way too soon! After the out, the man walked up field while mom and I stood near the yellow teepee.  I couldn’t believe my luck! Another bite was soon to be mine!

The alpha man turned to face me. He waved the stick, bared his teeth and ran at me with the sleeve held high. I bucked and fought the hold on my collar. When her fingers relinquished their hold, I bolted toward the man, leapt into the air and found my reward. As my teeth sunk into my prize, I noticed the yellow ribbon. It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I had solved the mystery. The ribbon was just another one of the many things that the humans found important. It made them feel good to see their canine partners move around the ring. I was just happy that it made them feel good enough to reward me with a bite.

Apparently all of the hullaballoo pleased mom greatly, because at the end of the day, I was once again rewarded with steak.

A week later, when we returned to the field, the yellow ribbon was gone and life returned to normal.  ‘Bite, bite, bite! Happy! Happy! Happy!’ Oh, and an occasional belly rub, and a ball, and a ride in the car. Oh, you get it. That’s all this working girl asks.

V Laila Belle von den Sportwaffen, IPO1, Kkl1, certified narcotic detection K9

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