a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: There is Some Joy in Muttville

Sunday, May 02, 2010

There is Some Joy in Muttville

SUMMARY: Sunday at the Bay Team trial.
I love driving in the early dawn, as the shape of the world is gradually revealed in the growing light, as the wisps of clouds in the sky change through ranges of pastel colors, and as tendrils of tule fog loiter in the fields and hills. It piques my wanderlust, makes me want to keep on driving to newer horizons.

But nooo--I take the exit for the agility trial and once again find myself surrounded by the same canopies, dogs, people, and agility paraphernalia.

Like these typical agility judges. (Karen, Rich, Lisa.)

Like this typical gorgeous tie-dye agility bra that a friend made for me because she could. It will match my assorted purple-and-blue tie dye shirts! Thanks, Wendy Wear!

The day started with Steeplechase Round 2. Tika didn't Q yesterday, but she made it in as 4th-seeded wildcard entry (thanks, Ashley's finger) because they always take a minimum of 4 if there are viable candidates.

We pushed it as hard as we could, and Lo, Tika won. Our time was 31.57 and 2nd place Chaps the Wonder Aussie was 31.93, so we didn't win by much. And Trinity the amazing German Shepherd had a brilliant run--a time of 30.98--but popped the Aframe on the next to last obstacle. So we won. No ribbons, dang, but a check that paid for some of our entry into Steeplechase.

A bit startled to find out that the 3rd place 12" champion dog, whose class was less than half the size of ours (in Round 1 anyway) got the same amount of $ as we did, winning our larger class.

The rest of the morning followed Saturday's pattern, and I was becoming kind of numb to it all.

Grand Prix: Tika had another gorgeous run but had it in mind that the Aframe was inconsequential and had a pretty major fly-off, so no Q, and placing 6th out of 8 dogs. Boost had a really amazingly lovely run--time was slow because she didn't stick her teeter, so I had to figure out how to get around her for a front cross--and we were in great danger of actually earning a Q until she knocked the next to the last bar.

Gamblers: Thought I had a pretty good opening course, and thought that the Gamble was a gimmee for Tika. But I ran out of opening obstacles for Tika before the whistle blew, so I was improvising when it blew, and suddenly found myself blasting forward with my toes EXACTLY at the gamble line, so when I needed to give her one little push out, instead I was flailing my arms trying not to fall forward on my face past the gamble line, and bleah she did not get the gamble. And there were plenty of others who did, so we were 4th place but no Q, no top 10 points again.

So I planned for more obstacles for Boost, who then did NOT send out to ANY of the obstacles that Tika did manage to take, and again no gamble. Her opening points would've been good for 4th place of 51 dogs had she managed it. But no.

Then, after the morning sessions, Tika ruined our perfect non-Q weekend by Qing in the last 3 classes of the weekend: Jumpers (very nice but could manage only 2nd place for I think 3 top ten points, .6 seconds behind 1st place), Standard (another one where I don't know how I could have gotten any faster time but still managed only 3rd for 1 mere Top Ten point), and Pairs, where she knocked her first bar so took our 2nd fastest time and turned it into a 4th place.

Boost's Jumpers run was also truly beautiful, except where I assumed she'd take a jump and raced ahead of her, so she raced *with* me. Her Standard run--

Oh, man, what a heartbreaker on this one! (I don't know how many times my heart cracked this weekend.) The first half was flawless. She even went down immediately on the table. At the end of the table count, I released her, she started to move, I looked forward at the next jump, and I heard a really weird noise and no Boost coming my way. Turned back, and she's standing next to the table, one foot slightly up, looking dazed. I think the judge is asking if she's OK. I'm looking just at her; ;I have no idea what happened. She walked slowly over to me where I was standing by the next jump while I asked her if she was OK (you always have to ask your dog, as if she'd answer), and then she started focusing on the jump like she wanted to take it. So I went ahead and told her to HUP, but of course she was too close to it and ran by it for a runout fault. And then the rest of the course was absolutely flawless!

Crap crap crap! Not clear how it happened exactly, but turns out that she somehow lost her footing leaving the table and whacked the side of her head against it as she took off. She has seemed fine since then; I found a vet competitor who said she'd look at Boost, but then I was so busy the rest of the day that I never followed through.  Looks OK to me--

In Pairs Relay, she missed her weave entry for the first time this weekend (I think), for a fault, but in this class, it's time plus faults, and she and her partner were plenty fast enough to Q, ruining her perfect non-Q weekend with the last run of the whole weekend.

Tika also ran in the California Cup. The top 30% in each height who competed in Grand Prix both last weekend and this weekend got to run in it. It was just for fun plus for really nice ribbons and a trophy for 1st place. Like another Grand Prix run, but no Qs involved. Once again, really pushed it, and we were clean, but came in 2nd (33.88 time, just behind Chaps' 33.27-- the dog we beat in the Steeplechase by less than half a second). So we got a really lovely ribbon and posed with our arch nemesis Chaps.

Also, for simply being eligible for California Cup competition (entering Grand Prix both weekends), we got these cool collapsible travel water bowls.

Most of the courses this weekend were really nice--flowing and yet still challenging. It was a real shame to miss Qing because of stupid handler tricks or simple knocked bars (or danged Aframes). Both dogs mostly ran very well. I'm very lucky to have the two of them, for all the frustration they sometimes give me.

For the second weekend in a row, I was able to set up in the shade of the big trees, so didn't have to wrestle with that huge and heavy canopy, which made setup and teardown SO much easier on my poor aching shoulders. I just set up a screen to prevent Boost from being able to see the running dogs to prevent massive crate thrashing.
 For some reason, people think I like purple
And now, maybe a couple of months off of weekend agility again? I think I'm really looking forward to that. I can't take many weekends like this one, no matter how many I have like the preceding 2.  3 Qs of 10 runs for Tika, 1 Q of 10 runs for Boost.


  1. Way cool ribbon Tika got. I think it's prettier than the first place one! And I really like the collapsible water bowl!!!!

    Glad Sunday was better, the dogs had fun I'm sure, and you weren't totally miserable...so ...a SUCCESS! LOL!

  2. Gah, sorry to hear about the merle girls ruining their near-perfect NQ weekend. Sigh.

    I love that photo of Tika with her ribbon. She looks so nonchalant about the whole thing, piece of cake. (No, Tika, not actual cake-- )

  3. She is SO nonchalant about it, in an excited Tika sort of way. You can tell on course when my timing is really lousy and I do something she didn't expected; that's the only time she gives a bit of a "woof!" The rest of the time she's just executing familiar sequences, sometimes feels like!