Monday, September 7, 2009

The Des Moines cluster

First things first, I am NOT going to tell you how many chocolate chip cookies from the food concession at the show site I ate over the weekend. Hot. Right out of the oven. With the chocolate all melty and the edges just perfectly crisp. With ice cold milk. It was a staggering number. You wouldn't believe me. Or maybe you would.

It was a classic Des Moines cluster: noisy, congested show site (no falcon in the rafters this year); hanging out with friends and watching everyone show; eating cookies; spending way too much at the vendors; eating more cookies; camping at the state fairgrounds; testing what my dog knew and didn't know in the show ring and doing some training.

Phoenix gave me a birthday present Saturday by winning Grad Novice to finish his title. He is now a GN. Personally, I think this stands for Gone Nuts. We did Wild Card Open, too, but he really had a hard time staying focussed. Too many shiny objects led to Malinois overload; 15 rings of breed and obedience under one roof will do that. So a good lesson learned for me. We need more work on sustained focus amidst distractions as well as relationship building. 

Here is a picture of the birthday flowers I stole. (See what my life has come to? Now I'm stealing floral arrangements from dog shows.) Okay, I didn't actually STEAL the flowers. Paula did.

But she asked the Boy Scouts first and they said they weren't THEIR flowers and since they weren't concerned about them sitting there all lonesome, Paula thought it was in the flowers' best interest that they come adorn our campsite. After all, she had permission from the Boy Scouts and that's like next to God, right? So she took them. Because I asked her to. Paula would never steal flowers otherwise.

And it's not like anyone was using them. The Onofrio people had torn down that ring and left the flowers behind. It was a very complicated situation. And our campsite was really plain, without any potted plants or pink flamingos or anything. So we felt we were doing our civic campground duty. Don't they look awesome stuck in the drink holder on my folding chair? 

Here the boys are enjoying bully sticks at the campsite. When you have Belgians chewing bully sticks at your campsite, who needs pink flamingoes?

It was a really great weekend, exhausting but always the obedience highlight of the fall. I got some new training ideas from watching a few other folks work their dogs and have a much clearer picture of what Phoenix understands, what he doesn't understand and how he deals with stress.

For some weird reason, he was AGAIN the ONLY malinois in the entire show, just like last year, and spent a lot of time being the Malinois Diplomatic Ambassador. He is exhausted and very glad to back home in the country where it's quiet. So am I. Except there aren't any cookies here.


  1. RATS!! Why didn't I think of that!! A free plant vs. a birthday gift? Oh'll get yours! Um, you gift that is. You don't need to water it and it won't take up much room! Congrats at Going Nuts!! I knew you would be the BEST at it. Gee, 1st place and everything!! G

  2. Is it going nuts or gone nuts? Maybe it's just the start of a GNu revolution? I can't believe you guys stole flowers!!!

  3. I have cookies. And petunias.

  4. What! I missed flower stealing AND cookies. Rats! What a gorgeous weekend to camp too. Oh well. The sacrifices we make to have a baby. And, of course, I'm still pregnant -- no labor yet!