Hello technology. Sorry to give you the boot the last week or so, but it’s good to spend time apart, you know?
I thought about updating during the nationals, but I opted to be selfish and take the week for me and The Dog. I don’t have the option to just immerse myself in agility so many days that I forget what day it even IS more than this one time a year- so why not? I imagine others enjoy weeks camping in the mountains or wherever for the same reasons and this way I at least got to sleep indoors, take showers and have Panera coffee every morning.
Oh, what a week. For all the hemming and hawing about nationals outdoors in Denver this year, the weather was great, the site was lovely, and no dogs were apprehended and arraigned on ten counts of being a pit bull. Sure, some hiccups occurred, but they probably always will. Life happens; it’s just in how you deal.
So that was goal number one this year. Keep calm. Move along. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Last year I couldn’t shake the bad; couldn’t block out the crazy. This year my new mental management skills provided a warm fuzzy shield. Bad run? Meh. Crazy? Deflected. Grumpiness? Hola, here is a smile for you.
I imagine others wanted to kill me but hey, so much better for me and The Dog to actually ENJOY the week. At the very least I wanted to know that I had fun- sadly I don’t think everyone can say that.
Let it be said- I DID have fun. Me and my rusty fat Dog had a blast. I went in just plain glad we had the chance to run at all. I knew we were (both) a bit out of our peak, but I also knew that just weeks before we’d been there and it probably wasn’t completely gone. I believed that all of the work we’d done this year would get us through. I focused on our best moments of the year and decided that there was no reason we couldn’t do well. Goal number two was set- individual placement!
We had a lot of chances this year. We got to run in the team classes and semis, but also the IFCS as well. I figured our odds were good, even given the impressive competition. The Dog has some tricks up her…well, not sleeves, but you know. So every run, I went in with that goal in mind. It’s the NATIONALS. If you aren’t going to pull the tricks out now, then when?
Overall, The Dog was amazing. She had a good Gamblers run, and a GREAT Snookers run. That was the only team class that had me scared- I had walked a lame plan and then realized there was time to be more interesting. So I went back and forth over three different (unwalked!) options all morning, finally settling on one as I went to get her out to run. I knew it was iffy, but in the end we pulled it off with time to spare. That run ended up 13th (one out of placement); so pleased with that contribution!
Then we had Team Jumpers, AKA the course that SURELY was meant to be the IFCS Jumpers course??? Nope, sorry! Apparently the judge from Asia wanted to um, challenge us. That was absolutely the most fun course. So much fun to watch too! The Dog aced it, and ended up with the 12th best time, just 1/100th from placement (at this point goal number two was just taunting me!!) behind a three way tie for 11th.
Our last team class was Standard and she nailed it. I can’t see anything I would change about that run. And it was good enough for 6th place! The score table told me there were 290 22” dogs running in team. Having my little Dog in the very top for multiple runs is so HAPPY MAKING!!!
Our group goal (and goal number three for me) was to make the dang relay finals. Since our teammates (Black Dog and BFAM!) were amazing, we finally did! We had a scary but not TOO scary relay run and ended up 8th overall out of 170 championship teams. My secret goal was Top Ten (to get the good loot!) so I was beyond happy.
As far as our semi and IFCS performances: She ran clean in IFCS Jumpers but was unfortunately pretty sloppy on her contacts on the Agility run so no finals there. Her Agility run though was, I think, her best of the weekend otherwise and maybe my favorite run. She was so frickin’ SMART! That was not an easy course and there were a lot of Es, but she made it so smooth and put up an awesome time.
Her one bar of the weekend happened in the Steeplechase semi. It was also the one run she looked a little hesitant. I’m beyond happy that we recovered from that run to go on to some of the best she has had!
Grand Prix semi: semi-filled with regret. The DW to weaves combo was the EXACT Achilles heel of our RDW training. We have worked this so much, but it still plagues us. I have to have perfect timing and I didn’t- pulled her off the side, slipped and she ran into me. This greatly offended her so it took a bit to get back on track, but then she had an awesome end. Per my camera timer, even being liberal, it would have been fast enough otherwise so… NEXT YEAR!
So, goals accomplished. Next year we up the ante. I see what I have, and it’s really enough. She may not be able to win the finals, but there is no doubt she could be in them. I have some homework to get us there (and it mostly centers on DOG WALK TURNS!) but I am thrilled with how far she has come in a year. Guess what? I have a teammate! This is what I’ve always hoped for with The Dog! The rest is just gravy.
Video, of course (the song is sort of lame- YouTube made me change it from the awesome thing I had which was from public domain, so, huh?):
And video of The Pup rocking the Lure for the Cure! She thought it was AWESOME until they tried to stop her from busting down the end gate to get the 'squirrel.' Jerks.