SUMMARY: In which Tika is definitely deaf and Boost tackles Colors--yet again--to try to complete her championship.
I never before realized how much ambient noise there is in the arena here at Santa Rosa, not until I realized that my merely 11-year-old dog is losing her hearing. At home, she's --almost suddenly--no longer hearing me when I arrive home, and only sometimes when I come up the wooden stairs. Our January trial here was where I melted down a bit, in part because I couldn't understand why Tika was ignoring me.
Well, today, she was so uncertain in so many places in her runs, and when she was feeling certain, she was fast and completely oblivious to anything I was yelling (and clapping my hands, too). So I'm thinking that I'm just not going to try trialing with her up here any more; just too crazy-making for both of us. I came this weekend, however, knowing that her hearing is greatly compromised, so I treated every run as simply a chance to go out and try to have fun (no titles to chase, no expectations), and so we had a good day despite Qing only 3 of 5 runs.
Boost started the day by winning Gamblers (Jackpot)--a traditional one--with 62 points, one of the highest at the entire trial. Kept all her bars up did all her weaves beautifully, no refusals or runouts. In Full House, she had the highest points at the entire trial, but I threw away four of them in a fit of annoyance when she ran past a jump on the way to stop the clock and I turned around and made three additional attempts until she actually took the bloody jump. But she kept all her bars up, did nice weaves, no runouts or refusals until that last one, etc. Feeling pretty good.
In Snooker, though, it was a bit of a meltdown--did a very long leadout beautifully to start with a 1-7, but then knocked hte next 1 and although we fumbled and recovered, she then knocked the next numbered bar, and was bouncing around frantically, so I just ran her to the table to end the bar-knocking and brain overload.
In Wildcard, she also knocked a bar.
Not looking good as we approached our Colors run, since knocked bars have been what has held us back in Colors all along, and what kept us from getting her Championship the last two weekends. For some odd reason, the judges obstinately keep designing Colors courses with jumps in them, so I picked the one that looked like I could most easily be in the right place at the right time and hoped for the best.
After three other dogs who've collectively earned--oh, lordie, a dozen championships in different organizations at different levels, I didn't think that a CPE Championship would be that big a deal to make me nervous, but I was, once again, running with my heart pounding in my throat as I did a long lead-out past two jumps, released her, and hoped for the best. We had one really wide 180-degree turn where I didn't signal tightly (partly because I didn't want to risk her knocking the first jump in the turn), but she kept her bars up, went really fast, made her weave entry beautifully and stayed in--and then I was at the finish line with all the bars left up and a new Agility Champion! W00t!
And thank dogs that's over!
She also won her group in Colors and had, I think, the 3rd fastest time of all the dogs who ran it--under 12 seconds for 9 obstacles (I didn't note the yardage yet so not sure of her yards per second, but I'll bet it was high). But when we did our victory lap, I sent her over jumps in a straight line and through a couple of tunnels, and she really demonstrated her Hi C-Era Interstellar Propulsion capability--wowed the cheering audience with her amazing speed.
If only we could do straight lines with easily visible tunnels all the time!
So tomorrow is more just complete fun for both dogs, just do the classes we signed up for, no worries about titles or Qs, just try to do the best I can with the girls I've got--with my still-fresh C-ATE for Tika and my brand-new C-ATCH for Boost. Yowza.
(I'll try to post photos and video tomorrow evening or Monday.)