a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Off to the Nationals

Friday, November 05, 2004

Off to the Nationals

In truth, off to Yosemite for 3 days without the dogs. A bit of sun, a bit of snow on the ground, temperatures ranging from mid-20s (F) overnight to mid-50s dayside. Should be nice for photography.

Back Monday night, unload my Yosemite stuff including the 5th seat in the van that I just put in for passengers, reload all the agility and dog materiel, and head out again Tuesday morning, heading for Scottsdale and the USDAA Nationals.

I'm excited and a little discouraged in advance. I vowed that I'd practice with each dog 15 minutes twice a day every day leading up to the nationals. Huh. Lucky to have gotten in 15 minutes total with all the dogs I could find in the yard, and only about every other day, if that. And mostly with Tika, because she's my Great White(and Gray) Hope. Hardly practiced with the little Jakey dog at all, and oh brother was he in need of an agility tune-up. So I'm expecting that we're going to go and Jake and I are going to crap out early.

I never did get my teeter repaired all summer, and that's Tika's slowest obstacle, so even if we do well enough beyond all miracles and make it to the final round, we'll never have a fast-enough time to win. Ahhhhhh, we probably wouldn't anyway. Then there are little details like this: She ran great in class on wednesday. What a lovely agility girl! Then yesterday, practicing a 90-degree weave entry, she kept blasting around to the back side and entering from the wrong side of the first pole. We'd break it down, backchain a bit, even out the angle and work our way back, and then as soon as I'd rev her up again, around she'd go to the far side. Argggghhhh.

We'll drive to Needles on Tuesday & stay in a hotel there overnight, then on to Scottsdale the next day, hopefully to arrive by mid-afternoon, find the rest of the Bay Teamers who'll be there (many of us), get set up, and go to the hotel to keel over from all those hours of driving. I am going with a friend, but still-- And you know darned well that the Beasts will be sleeping the whole way and will want to romp and play when we arrive.

Then 4 days of competition--2 or 3 or I think sometimes 4 events per dog per day, although if we do well and go on to additional rounds in anything, that'll be more. I can only hope. My first year's goal was to go to the Nationals. So then we managed to "E" offcourse both dogs in the first round of the Grand Prix. As a result, my goal for the following year was to NOT "E" in the first round--and indeed, we didn't, but we had other minor faults or speed issues that kept us from advancing to the next round. This year, my goal is to make it to the final round.

"A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"

See you in 10 days or so.

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