Sunday, September 7, 2008

Credit Is Due

Katie has been retired for almost a year now. With no training goals, no shows, and no traumatic events (knock on wood!), there just isn't much to report on Katie. Its been said that Reagan has some serious paw prints to follow in, but almost everyone is referring to Travis when they say that. Recently someone said something to the tune of "even Katie will be tough to follow" and it got me thinking that she needed a little credit because Katie IS in fact a tough act to follow as well. She isn't as flashy or as soundly put together as Travis was, but she will always be the first agility champion greyhound. Unfortunately, she developed back problems that caused her to have issues with jumping and weaving and I retired her from agility soon after. If she had no physical problems, she would probably have several more MACHs by now. Travis was always little faster, but Katie was smooth, handy, and efficient and still holds a hard to beat record as the #2 greyhound in AKC agility.

Retiring from agility ended up not being such a bad thing. It switched our focus to obedience. Katie already had her novice and open obedience titles (CD and CDX), so we began training for the highest level of obedience, Utility Dog. It is the toughest thing I have ever trained. The dog has to do difficult exercises independently and often away from the handler. Katie is so much NOT like a hound. She is so good at letting me pick on the details and doing lots of repetitions. She is a work-a-holic due to her food addiction..... thank goodness she doesn't have the free will to feed herself :-). Katie finished her UD last May (luckily... before the spinal stroke).

Although Katie is retired from competition, she would probably die if I stopped working her. Plus its good for Reagan to have to share the attention. Katie and I mostly run through her obedience exercises and do some agility. The jumps are lower and we avoid the narrow plank obstacles (teeter and dog walk), but otherwise she takes her work as seriously as she always has.

Lastly, there is a hound only obedience trial in Atlanta on Friday, September 19th. They are offering non-regular classes, so I have entered Katie in the Wildcard Utility and Wildcard Open. The classes don't count for anything, but I'm allowed to pick the jump height. So now Katie and I have something to practice for. Competing in obedience (especially Utility) makes me so much more nervous than agility, so I like getting all of the ring experience I can get. It will be fun to get back in the ring with no pressure and to support the Hound Club of North Georgia.

Katie is just such a doll. She was quite the aloof hunter scanning the horizon as she would drag me along behind her when I adopted her over 7 years ago. When she realized I was the keeper of the food and toys, she looked at me and hasn't turned away since. Her focus is perfect. She is perfect. She has done everything I have ever asked of her. I could not ask for more. Thanks for letting me give props to my "Lil Pumpkin".