Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Agility Trial Must Go On!

Rain, sleet, and snow can't stop the agility competitor in pursuit of a Q. Yesterday, started out with pouring rain and I had to get to Wills Park an hour early to secure a highly prized parking spot under the arena cover. Once the rain stopped, we enjoyed rather comfortable temperatures. Travis went on to win both of his agility classes earning double Q (qualifying score) #32.

Reagan took in all of the sights, sounds, and smells. I brought her out early while it was still quiet and folks were just getting set up. She handled all of the new stuff perfectly, was patient with ill mannered puppies, enjoyed meeting new people, and even peed once (remember that is still an important accomplishment). One thing that is really funny and enjoyable about Reagan is that when she is excited about something and can't contain herself, she literally leaps with all 4 legs off the ground. Its very silly.

Today, I started the day by putting on my long johns, lined pants, snow pants, 2 long sleeve T-shirts, a fleece, a sweat shirt, coat, gloves, and wool socks..... yes, all at the same time. Over the years I have learned to dress for standing around in the wind and in the shade at agility trials. It was raining when we left the house this morning. The three red-hounds were dressed in their finest fleeces and were tucked into the crates in the van. Katie is the most affected by the cold, so she was snuggly warm in her Seseme Street belly warmer fleece and her leapard print fleece coat.

As we drove to the trial, the rain turned to sleet and eventually the sleet turned to snow. I just couldn't believe it was snowing at an Atlanta agility trial in March. It was so ridiculously cold and the wind is always twice as strong at the Wills Park wind tunnel (aka covered arena). Travis' first class was the standard class (has the climbing obstacles) as usual. I was glad that he was required to do a sit on the table instead of a down today. The dogs have to run naked and most run without collars, Travis included. Since it was snowing pretty hard and blowing into the ring, I didn't want him to wear his fleece PJs outside of the van and get them soaked. Plus, in all honesty, the PJs are pretty silly looking and I prefer that we limit the number of people that see him in his penguin suit. I tucked his blue fleece lined coat under my sweat shirt to warm it up and when it was time, I was able to switch his coats inside of the van. After a quick potty break, I jogged, jumped, and stretched him until it was his turn. I wanted him to be nice and warm and didn't remove the coat until the very last second. Travis ran perfectly... another first place run in 42.26 seconds.

Later on, my friend Carol with the 2 fittest looking labs on the planet (greyhound-like wastelines and even a hint of ribs at the right angle) came up to me and explained that Brisk had knocked the first bar and so Carol stopped her immediately and pulled her out of the ring. Brisk loves agility, but she can also be careless. If she won't keep the bars up, she isn't allowed to continue. As Carol was leaving the ring, she noticed that the bars were set at 26" instead of 24"..... the ring crew had not adjusted the height prior to Carol's run. Ultimately, it is the agility handler's responsibility to make sure the jumps are the right height, so Carol was not going to say anything. The judge was very nice, so I decided to say something and the judge agreed to let Carol run again, this time with 24" jumps. Well, Brisk ran clean and knocked me out of first place with a run that was 0.04 seconds faster! Can you believe that? You would think after getting her another chance to run that she would have at least stopped her dog on a contact obstacle or kept her on the table an extra second...... just kidding :-).

Anyways, we both went on and qualified again in Jumpers, but this time the greyhound finished on top. Brisk can knock a lot of bars, so the double Qs are coming slowly.... so I was glad I could help her get 1 more..... I think she owes me dinner or something :-). Travis now has 33 double Qs. He needs 7 more to be the first MACH2 Greyhound.

As for Reagan, she learned about disappointment today by waiting in the van most of the day. I got her out once and she did very well with all the noise and movement caused by the wind and oddly dressed people. She did a few airs above ground.