Monday, September 27, 2010

Agility, camping and divine intervention

The DMOTC agility weekend was everything I had anticipated — a lot of fun with my dogs and friends. Phoenix and I had some great runs, some “almost” runs and and some "WTF was I thinking?" runs. Like Tammy says, “Don’t tell me everything that went wrong, tell me what went right.” Even amidst the train wreck runs, there were always elements to be proud of.

This was the first trial we’d shown in since the rule changes at the first of September. Phoenix seemed to like the new table rule, since I dropped him each time and never asked him to change position. His auto drop, which has been hesitant because he never knew if I really meant it or was going to ask him to sit instead, got faster all three days.

Plus the judge’s count starts as soon as the dog’s paws hit the table, which reduces the amount of time he has to spend there . . . he thinks that's a good thing, not so much for me since my catch-my-breath pause has been shortened.

Camping was great, at least the first night. The weather was fine and there was a beautiful full moon. I know this because the guy in the campsite next to ours was proclaiming it loudly to everyone he could find, then he started calling people on his cell phone and telling them about the moon. Apparently he had never seen one before.

Did I mention he had a beagle tied to a tree? Did I mention that it bayed? Endlessly? One of his telephone conversations, after pointing out the incredible beauty of the full moon, included the observation that “There’s some kind of dog trial around here this weekend, there’s at least 100 dogs in the campground.” Yeah, buddy, and have you noticed that YOURS IS THE ONLY ONE MAKING ANY NOISE?

After a good night’s sleep in spite of the moon man and his beagle, I woke up Saturday morning to find the ceiling of my tent about six inches above my nose. This was not a good thing. The dogs and I crawled out and a flashlight inspection revealed a broken support pole. Seriously. The metal had just crumbled at one joint and a big chunk of the pole was gone. Too weird. This was not a cheap Walmart tent and although I’ve used it for six years, it hasn’t been used that hard.

In spite of many offers to “fix” the tent pole, I opted to camp at Motel 6 Saturday night. Ye olde duct tape repair might work on the tent pole . . . but I took a dim view of finding out at 2 a.m. that it did not, then spending the night trying to avoid suffocation by 10 yards of wet tent fabric. I "sold" my camping spot to Jill and pointed out due to Saturday’s heavy rains, she now had waterfront property.

In any event, it was the last camping trip of the season so I’ve got all winter to fix the pole or buy a replacement. Or maybe this is the Sign From Above that answers my “How long is this really going to be fun?” question. Van camping is still an option although C3PO doesn't have as much available space as her predecessors, C1 and C2, making it more difficult if I have both Belgians with me. Hauling 26" crates in and out of a vehicle multiple times a day in order to have sleeping quarters is not my idea of a good time.

Here are videos of our qualifying runs from the weekend, one in JWW and one in Standard. Phoenix took a bonus jump at the end of his JWW run so the jump with the bar falling was not actually part of the course.


  1. Nice Melinda. You made that look very smooth and easy. Good little maligator! And yes, it was a great week-end.

  2. Wow, great runs! He reads your cues so beautifully. I saw it easiest in the JWW run.

    I like the camping idea - without the possibility of suffocation. I would've switched to a hotel too. I'll probably start tenting eventually, it'll be cheaper than hotels (which I can't afford) and cheaper than driving back and forth every day for a 3 day weekend.

    Also, I read this when I was tired and thought you said he had a "beaver" tied to a tree that kept baying. I thought to myself, "What a psycho to capture a beaver and tie it to a tree" and then I caught it.

  3. JL - whoever filmed your runs should be shot - your dog was out of the frame half the time!!! Wait a minute... I think that was ME!!!!!!!!!! Yikes!!! I promise to better this weekend!!!

  4. Oooopps! Almost forgot... you and Fawnicks looked awesome!!!!

  5. When 19 of the obstacles are PERFECT, why do people need to point out the ONE that was 'a tad bit off'? JL!!!

    I wish there had been a beaver tied to the tree! Now THAT'S blog material!! LOL