Not an embarrassment, nor an effort to humiliate you,
not even an act of stubborn defiance.
An NQ is a tribute to your dog's willingness to try,
and a demonstration of your own character.
Your dog doesn't know or care that there was no score.
This fact may remain in the record forever
but no one will remember when you accept it with grace.
And few humans do that well without practice.
Though an NQ may damage your pride,
through it you can practice humility,
learn to accept defeat with dignity,
and show courage while facing your fears.
An NQ says that you loved spending time with your dog,
that you viewed her as a worthy teammate,
that you believed in her so much
that you wanted to show the world how wonderful she is.
In a world of multi-tasking and shallow interactions,
an NQ shows that you shared a deep connection,
that you gave each other everything you had,
and that your dog is a cherished friend, not an ego stroke..
Because when the day is done and the trial over,
an NQ proves that you accept your dog, flaws and all,
that you respect her efforts, no matter how poor,
and that it is not winning, but love, that matters.
Author's Note: This post was inspired by both What is a Title, Really?, a lovely take on why we do dog sports, and by some appallingly bad sportsmanship I saw last weekend. It is not intended as criticism of the original.