On Saturday, March 3rd, a little bit of “Oscars magic” came to Mason, Texas, as Reigning Cats & Dogs’ obedience class graduated its biggest class ever! Six dogs and their proud handlers showed off their skills before an admiring crowd of family and friends. Although nobody wore designer duds, cameras flashed, the crowd oohed and aahed, and awards were given out. Each dog performed an intricate individual series of heeling exercises, where they walked at their owner’s side, executing changes of pace and direction, all WITHOUT A LEASH!!! If you’ve ever seen a high school marching band perform at half-time (and if you haven’t seen that, you don’t live in Mason!) you get the idea of what the dogs had to do. Left turn, right turn, about turn, slow, fast, normal, and sit every time your handler stops. They also had to sit still, six feet from their owners, while the judge (Lenore Newsom) ran her hands over the dog’s back. Then more heeling, this time in a figure-8 pattern, then a “recall” (coming when called - does your dog do that?) from 20 feet away, to sit in front of the handler.But wait, there’s more! After the individual exercises comes the group - all the dogs lined up for the “sit-stay” and “down-stay” exercises, where the owners stand across the ring from the dogs, and the dogs stay, WITHOUT MOVING, for one to three minutes. All the dogs put on an excellent performance, showing their family and friends that all the hard work the trainers had done was not in vain! Trust me, if we had videotaped these same dogs eight weeks ago at the first class, and showed the tape at graduation, you would bet these were different dogs. And you’d be right! Our star-studded graduates of Reigning Cats & Dogs’ winter obedience class were: Ken Cordero and “Tex” (rat terrier), Becky Griffith & “Hank” (Airedale), Jordan Kothmann & “Jade “(German Shepherd), Kim Rabon and “Zeppelin” (Labrador Retriever), Fran Rodriguez and “Cooper” (German Shepherd), and Elisha Vierus and “Weezie” (long-haired Dachschund). Ring stewards were Jocelyn Hemphill, assistant instructor, and Tommy Newsom, husband. Judge was Lenore Newsom. Lenore would like to remind everyone that she is available at her store for free behavioral consultations during business hours.Reigning Cats & Dogs’ next obedience class starts Saturday, March 24th. Classes are Saturdays, 8:30-9:30 AM, for eight weeks, and 10-15 minutes practice time daily is required. Anybody is welcome, and you can pre-register at Reigning Cats & Dogs or by calling 325-347-1700. Make-up lessons are also available at no charge, so don’t let other Saturday commitments stop you from enrolling. In addition to the walking on a loose leash, staying, and the ever-elusive “coming when called,” our class also covers canine nutrition and home manners, like jumping up, dashing out the front door, and our favorite, bullying the cat! Your dog can be award-winning, too, in just eight short weeks, which is one percent (or less) of his life! Although we didn’t have an actual red carpet, all these dogs (and trainers) were winners! You and your dog can be, too!