She was named Bella (which didn't seem to suit her at all). I actually took her for an overnight trial before deciding to keep her. I almost didn't keep her, actually. I thought about it really hard. I didn't know if I had the time and energy for a jack russell, even one as calm as she appeared to be. In the end, I decided to make her part of the family.
For a long time, I wasn't sure her ears would ever fully come forward for the classic JRT look. Her first photoshoot was in a field of daffodils next to a grange on our drive to a barn hunt event I was taking photos for. I left her leash on in case I needed to grab her quickly. Posing didn't come naturally to her.
My deceptively calm JRT puppy got crazier and crazier the longer I had her. I introduced her to lure coursing, and she absolutely loved it. We didn't compete this year, but she has loved every practice we've been to.
Slowly those ears started coming forward. Her posing skills improved with time too, though you still have no idea what kind of behind-the-scenes craziness it takes to get a decent picture of this crazy beast. For this tulip photo at a small local tulip farm, a friend came along and helped me out.
In June, I took Ptera to her first Barn Hunt to compete. I entered her exactly once, on Sunday morning for Instinct, and she totally rocked it. I insisted she check all of the tubes even though she hit hard on the first one, but in the end, she was right, and we got our Q and her first title, RATI. We haven't entered Barn Hunt since then, but I would like to get her some Novice runs soon.
I think I was really into dogs with flowers last year. Ptera went from posing with daffodils to tulips, then on to lavender. I love this picture, but I regret her collar. The hot pink just was never a great color on her. Not that she cared. Her ears were finally starting to come forward at the same time if I could get her attention well enough, the problem was getting her to stay still while still getting her attention for the ears.
In July, I introduced Ptera to SUPing. Koira taught her to be nutso barking and leaping off of the board. She was reluctant with the water at first, but she really seemed to get into it quickly. I love that, in the year we've been together, what it takes is that I tell her something is awesome, and show it to her, and then she believes me, and goes for it, even if she was initially reluctant. That is a trait that I just love in a dog so much.
From disliking water to being a nutso in the summer with Koira. Koira really did her part in teaching Ptera to be crazy, but honestly, I think she would have gone there herself even without the example in front of her. But crazy seems to come with a huge helping of enthusiasm for this dog, and even while crazy, she is so, so willing to work with me.
And at home she chills. She never got any bigger than when I first brought her home, and remains smaller than the cat.
We celebrated her one year birthday in September, just barely too late in the month to debut her in flyball. Instead, we waited until November and a spontaneous trip to Canada. She had been with me for six months at this point, and while a soft and cuddly house companion, she totally lives up to her registered name when out and about.
My precious girls. They are posing pros, though Ptera has yet to learn how to smile for the camera like Koira. That might just be a pit bull skill that Ptera never gets down.
Debuting Ptera in flyball was such a different experience than I had had with Koira or Pallo. I was confident that I knew what I was doing. I knew my dog was ready, more than ready, and I didn't have many doubts about her being able to get out there and rock. She exceeded expectations so much, being that rare green dog who just has an absolutely amazing first weekend out, without any prior experience listed on a team for warm ups, though ultimately, I would have been happy to spend that weekend just warming her up if that is what she had needed. She followed up that debut in November with a solid performance in December, and another in February, even being run by someone else all day. She is a dog who loves to run, and loves to play the game.
We've been hiking for a year, training for a year, chilling in the house together for a year. Her full crazy has really come out. Jack Russells have the reputation for a reason. But she is such an amazing dog. She would rather work with me than almost anything else. She learns so fast, and is so eager to do something new, go somewhere on an adventure, or do whatever it is I ask of her. I don't know how I ended up so lucky to bring home a scared-of-everything, not-interested-in-toys, no-food-motivation dog who just wanted to cuddle and yet end up with a spitfire of crazy, raring to go, and always up for a new, fun adventure.
Happy 1 year Gotcha Day, little girl. Brought home on March 11th, 2016, and made an official part of my family on March 13th, 2016.