a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Title Celebrations and the Blue Merle Cycle

Friday, March 09, 2012

Title Celebrations and the Blue Merle Cycle

SUMMARY: Tika and T-Cam and Tala and Boost, oh my.

A very long time ago, when I was still competing with Remington and Jake, one of my classmates was competing with the dogs she'd brought with her from Argentina, a Doberman and a Spaniel. She was tall and slender and very athletic and accomplished great things with her "nontraditional" agility dogs. At some point, though, her dogs were out of commission, and someone whom I knew only vaguely at the time had a young blue merle Border Collie whom he didn't have time to work with. So this classmate ended up working with the Border Collie in my class. I remember my classmate's frustration with this very driven, very fast blue merle, as she didn't take jumps that seemed obvious to take and knocked bars for no apparently reason, but the classmate worked very hard, and the dog really wanted to learn, and they got better.

That was how I met and came to really admire and enjoy Tala, the blue merle, who several years down the road gave birth to Boost. Tala eventually went back to her owner, who also worked hard with her, ended up in the USDAA nationals finals various times--usually ended with a bar down in the final round, sighhh... But they became an amazingly consistent team who pretty much always Qed and took more blue ribbons than anyone could ever count.

My Argentinian classmate got her own Border Collie (Maja) and has done very well indeed, earning multiple MACHs and ADCHs, competing on the World Cup team for Argentina, cool things like that.

As is the way of things, people come and go into and out of different classes as the classes change shape, as people's schedules vary, and as the needs of their dogs change. So my Argentinian classmate has sometimes been a classmate and sometimes not.

About four years ago, she became my classmate again, and after watching me and Boost in class for a couple of sessions, she came up to me and asked whether Boost was spayed. Because she was starting to think about getting another dog, and she thought that a dog just like Boost, who was very much like Tala, would be just the thing. Well, of course, I had spayed Boost, and that was that.

Shortly after that, Tala became pregnant again--I believe her fourth and final litter--from the same mating that produced Boost. My Argentinian classmate (well, actually, a few years back she became a U.S. Citizen, yeah!) got a blue merle puppy from that litter and named her T-Cam (so she and Boost are full sisters). Well, Boost sure looks like Tala, and T-Cam sure looks like Boost.

Eventually, T-Cam grew up and they have been in our class again for quite a while. It's funny having Tika and T-Cam in the same vicinity--their names sound a lot alike, and I use "Teek" and she uses "Tee" a lot on course as short name cues.

So it seemed fitting that last night I took in TeeKA's huge new C-ATE ribbon--plus cheesecake for our classmates--on the same night that T-Cam's human mom brought in empanadas to celebrate TeeKAM's brand new MACH.

T-Cam is three years old.

I am trying very hard not to compare my seven-year old Boost to her leetle seester. But what did happen was a sudden, brief thought--you know, if I had a dog like Boost again, starting as a puppy, surely I'd not make the same mistakes again. And Boost really is a wonderful companion dog. And T-Cam reminds me so much of Boost in so many mannerisms and running style. And so, during class, I went up to my classmate and asked her whether T-Cam was spayed. Because if I were to get another agility dog... But, alas, it is not to be.

Heck, I didn't really want another dog anyway.

I guess that's closure for this tale.


  1. But what if she hadn't been...would you have been tempted? It's fun to dream.

  2. Oh, yeah, I'm sure I'd have said, "Please consider putting me on your puppy list." That still would've given me a lot of time to think about it.