Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Greyhound National Specialty

We woke up at about 5 :30 AM (which is actually sleeping in almost an hour for us:-). We got to the show site nice and early (maybe 6:30 AM). We were the first ones there. I practiced articles with Katie since that has been our biggest problem and I did some heeling and signals. Soon, Kathy Helmke arrived and I finally met her in person.

Utility B started at 8:00 AM and Katie was, of course, the only entry. We lucked out with Utility III which has articles as the first exercise. I thought doing them first would give her a better shot at getting them right...... or if she did get them wrong, at least I had other exercises for her to do and we could still end on a good note. Well, the ring steward was not very experienced and she ended up unzipping all of the pockets on my article bag and she dumped out all of my articles including 3 extra. So then she removed the extras, but then I realized the 2 I had used earlier that morning were in the pile and they are also blank (they are suppose to be numbered). Finally, she pulled the right articles from the pile. I was quite pleased with myself because I did not let this bother me. It was no big deal. Well, after all the effort to get it right, Katie rushed and ended up just grabbing an article on both attempts without looking. Oh, well.....

Travis was next in Open B. I had promised Travis a few years ago that he would not have to do anymore obedience once he earned his CDX..... UNLESS we go to a Greyhound National Specialty. I kept my promise. We did not practice any obedience until I knew for sure that I was coming NY. Travis can be quite sloppy when doing obedience and he is not nearly as eager to work on details like Katie is. So all that practice was leading up to this one 5 minute performance. Well, he was great and scored a 195 out of 200. His one major fault was changing sides during heeling for one loop of the figure "8"s.

Then it was Katie's turn again and her attempt at Open B. She too did great and scored a 195 1/2 out of 200. She was docked a few points for adding an automatic finish after the broad jump.
We luckily had a break before sits and downs. Kathy Helmke entered 2 greyhounds in Open A. One immediately left the ring and ran to her husband. The other one did great and scored a 192. The judge combined the 2 open classes and had us do sits and downs together. Obviously, they performed their stays perfectly since I already told you their qualifying scores.

I was hoping to win High in Trial, but Kathy Helmke was able to earn a 196 and a 196 1/2 in Novice B with her 2 movie stars (they are the greyhounds that will be featured in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts).

I'm disappointed to say that I was a total dork and did not take a single picture at the specialty. :-( A photographer was there so I'm hoping to get photos of obedience since I do not have many of those. However, I really wish I'd photographed the site and some of the show greyhounds. Two of my favorites belonged to Cynthia Swanson. They were year old, pretty, parti-colored females. Nicely balanced and just the right size for performance (in other words, not too tall or overly angulated).

There was a scarey moment when a black, male greyhound who was very spooky got loose. Remember the site is unfenced and on a busy road. I tried to coax him over by squatting down and turning away and even running away from him, but it didn't work. He started running for the road and Stephen had to block him and basically scare him away from it. Finally someone caught him. I hope he isn't bred since he has such a spooky temperment in my opinion. He was even too scared to lure course because of the sound the machine makes.

Kathy introduced me to some board members, so they would know who I was when my GCA application comes up for approval.

Another interesting thing, there was a blind man showing a greyhound. Another man would guide him around the ring when the judge called to see the dog's movement. He also had a Bernese Mountain dog as a seeing eye dog. I would have liked to have asked him about this since I would consider a BMD a poor choice since they do not live very long (8 yrs or so). They are huge. I wouldn't consider them the easiest to train and would not think they'd have the energy for a day worth of work. I would have liked to learn more.