Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Decatur Alabama Kennel Club Agility Trial

Stephen and I left for Decatur, AL at 4:30 AM on Friday morning. Very early, but it means one less night in our glorious tent. This was the first time we actually camped at the competition venue. It has its pluses and minuses. The plus side is that when you wake up, you are there. You don't have to spend time or gas driving to the site each morning. If you forgot to bring something, you simply walk over to the van or the tent and get it. However, I do think that managed campgrounds tend to maintain the bath houses better..... maybe actually clean then. Regardless, I am a germ freak thanks to my experience with MRSA a couple of years ago. I Clorox or Lysol everything I come into contact with at hotels or bath houses even if it appears clean.

Allie was again the token stepdog to tag along. She is a total freak at meal time. She and Travis both act as if they haven't eaten for days. But after breakfast, she pretty much lays comatose in the ex pen until breakfast the next day.

So you already know what happened on Friday. When a dog earns his MACH you are usually allowed to keep the bar of the last jump your dog cleared. Some clubs give you another bar, but this club allowed me to keep it. Then all of your agility friends sign the bar. This club also presented new MACHs with a beautiful ribbon. The really cool thing is that it doesn't just say MACH... it says MACH II. Stephen had also brought along a cookie cake. He didn't know that it's bad luck to buy the cake before the goal is achieved :-). Everyone enjoyed it and was thankful that Travis and I were able to pull it off on Friday while the cookie was still fresh.

Travis and I QQed again on Saturday (QQ #1 for MACH3) (see below). The big dogs ran first so we were done competing around lunch time. Since it was Katie's 10th birthday and Travis had earned a MACH, I decided to give them a special treat. But what do you give dogs that already eat such good stuff? I came up with fried catfish. I never give them fried food, so I decided that would be something unique for them.

Stephen and I were able to locate a Red Lobster with a nice shade tree for the greyhound bus and small bar with a TV. We hung out there for a couple of hours watching the Preakness and the pre-race coverage. Go "Big Brown". It should make for an interesting Belmont this year.

Travis ran clean and QQed again on Sunday (see below). I checked my records and that is his 6th QQ in a row now and in just the first 5 months of 2008 he has earned 12 QQs. For comparison sake, he QQed 10 times in all of year 2007. So we are having one heck of a streak right now.

Sunday was a long day and I think we started for home around 3:30 PM. I soon discovered that our camera was nowhere to be found. We pulled over and still could not locate the camera so we headed back to the trial.... probably 15 minutes away. It appears that when I opened the front door and got into the van... it fell out. The person parked next to us found it and was still there. Thank goodness. There were so many wonderful pictures and video clips, I would have been so disappointed to lose them. There happened to be a field next to the show site with different colored flowers and we had fun taking pictures of the dogs in the flowers.

The last exciting part of our adventure was witnessing a drug deal at the Gadsden Taco Bell. We were behind a person in the drive thru that did not have a window that operated so she had to open her car door to shout out her obnoxiously long order. Finally, we place our order. When we came around the corner, we noticed a strange car in front of us. We wonder what is going on as the obnoxious woman sits in her car as the Taco Bell employee nearly falls out of the window handing her sacks of food through her open car door. We watch as the second car pulls to the window and it appears that the Taco Bell manager hands the stranger in the car a wad of bills in exchange for some pills. That is just great and the best part, these people prepared my dinner.

Saturday Standard run - I'm not sure why he decided to turn away from me at the bottom of the dog walk into the tunnel. The point to me running on that side was so he'd turn towards me and go straight in the tunnel. Regardless, it was still clean, but wasted a little bit of time.

Saturday Jumpers run - Lots of front crosses. Nice and smooth.

Sunday Standard run - No problem with this one. I am starting to notice that he sits very slowly at the start and also the table. Yet he was quick to lay down on the table as required on the other 2 days. I wonder if there is an issue with that. I may retrain the start with a stand stay instead of a sit stay.

Sunday Jumpers run - I was pleased that I was able to get in my front crosses towards the end of the course. I was prepared to cross behind him if he was getting ahead of me, but I was able to get to where I needed to be each time. Front crosses are usually create a tighter (quicker) path for the dog.