The inaugural meeting of the Foolish Optimists Club was held Sunday morning, April 6, before judging began at the Iowa City Dog Obedience Club trial. Present were founding members Johnette, Paula and Melinda. Rufus, Johnette’s corgi, was also present although he slept through most of the meeting. Since he was the only dog who managed to qualify that day, it was later decided to overlook his lapse in attentiveness.
New member Tracy voted herself in and began making motions at random. All were approved unanimously in spite of no one knowing what was going on.
The first order of business was deciding what kind of pie to have for lunch. After much discussion, chocolate cake was chosen. New member recruitment was discussed but tabled on the grounds that Foolish Optimists generally know who they are and do not need to be recruited.
It was agreed upon that the mission statement of the group is “To train and show our dogs with joy in our hearts today and hope for a better score tomorrow.” The three degrees of optimism were reviewed. They are:
1. “Well, he’s never done THAT before,” usually felt by the handler upon leaving the ring after a disappointing performance wherein dog and handler did not appear to know, or like, one another very well.
2. “I wonder if I could fix that by (insert training idea suggested by friend),” followed immediately by setting up training dates with a group or lessons with an instructor to work on new approaches to solving problems.
3. “We are ready to show and this time we’ll do better!” Yes! Maximum foolish optimism achieved! It was agreed the ability to move rapidly from Step 1 to Step 3 indicates a high degree of mastery over foolish optimism. Newbies should be counseled on the importance of maintaining high levels of optimism in the obedience ring versus dwelling on failures.
The idea of serving therapeutic and/or medicinal drinks before showing was discussed. Suggestions included rum and Coke without the Coke and Baileys and coffee without the coffee. Members felt the judges should be offered drinks, too, just to be polite about it.
The meeting adjourned and members went to obsess about the Utility B heeling pattern and order of exercises.
The next meeting of the Foolish Optimists Club will be held Saturday morning, April 26, before judging at the Heart of Iowa Kennel Club obedience trial. New members are always welcomed. No secret handshake required. Just be optimistic about your dog.
(Editor's note: You think I made this up, don't you? I didn't. And this is why I love my obedience friends.)