Friday, May 29, 2009

and they're off!

As much as I love agility, even I have to admit that I got carried away signing up for shows, and it seems like we have not been home in forever. Yes, we have another show this weekend, but I'm finally reaching the end of my "show circuit" and we'll be home for a while.

You'll know where to find us...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

These photos were from the Evansville trial, May 17th. She is so excited waiting for her turn.

I love this photo because you can see the bottoms of both of her back feet. Isn't that cute?

Maggie flies through the chute so fast, a couple times I've turned around thinking she'd missed it, and she had already gone through and I never heard the fabric snap.

This photo reminds me of a comment from this past weekend. One of the people we were competing with happened to be the AKC judge who was at the Columbia show. I teased him a little about his difficult courses and he said "it isn't my fault that you are trying to run a black and white rocket in a dog event."

(Jim, don't look at this photo.)

Yes, my dog kisses me on the lips. And sometimes she does it without me knowing it's coming.

Monday, May 25, 2009

We choked.

Though I try to stay off the rescue soapbox as much as possible, most of you know that both of my border collies are rescues. Many of the handlers that we respect are running some very nice dogs that they have paid a lot of money for, and traveled great distances to get. Yet when push comes to shove, few (if any) of those dogs are any better at agility than Maggie. She has great jumping height, quick turns, lots of drive and a fast flat run (her only issue is her handler). This weekend at Lawrence, KS, Maggie's foster family came to watch her run for the first time. We wanted so much to impress them, but we both choked. In the first run, Maggie was her blazing and accurate self and she landed the table in a quick sit while the judge did the 5 count. "Five and four and three and two and one and g....." But she never got to say "go" because Maggie was anticipating the "go" and she left on the "and". I had just been telling our friends that Maggie had learned the count and I needed to start giving her a "stay" on the "one and...", but I'd forgotten and she was excited, so we were disqualified. Other than that, the run was flawless, but that didn't make up for our embarassment.
Maggie's "first family" stayed several hours to watch our second run and we hoped to do better. Her adrenaline must have been cranked up, because she didn't wait at the start line, but started creeping up before I gave her a release. Ordinarily, I would have pulled her from the run "no stay, no play" but I was thinking about her fans waiting hours to watch her go. So, I let her run. We did okay until a jump near the middle which I had practiced a couple times in the walk-thru, reminding myself not to move forward until she took the jump. But, in the excitement, I forgot and took one little step making Maggie think she was headed the wrong way and she quickly changed course, getting a "refusal" call from the judge.
Anyway, it just goes to show you why getting those double Q's are so hard... both dog and handler have to work together without a mistake, twice in the same day. And as long as Maggie is stuck with me, those days will be rare!

Stacey, Mark, Molly... I hope we didn't disappoint you! We'll try harder next time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our Rivals

I mentioned a few weeks ago that there are teams I have always made a point to watch, and Lili and Max are one of those teams. Max has a running style very similar to Maggie's and we have always had difficulty with the same portions of a course. So, when Max runs before us, we pay particular attention, hoping that we can learn from their successes and their mistakes. When we both qualify, Maggie's and Max's times are usually very close. On this run, Max took first place, nudging Maggie aside with about 1.3 seconds speedier run. Since I have not reviewed the video from Maggie's run, I'm not sure where we lost the time, but it was probably someplace where my butt was dragging!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

home again

Only time for a quick update because I am seriously dragging butt and fighting a headache...

The two day trial in Evansville went extremely well. Saturday we took first place in Standard for 38 MACH points but we NQ'd (non-qualify) in Jumpers. Saturday night we (Addie's Mom and me) went to the Log Inn (which is the oldest restaurant in Indiana- Abraham Lincoln ate there). We sat in the bar and watched the Preakness, but the best part is that the customer next to us trained race horses, so she was able to fill us in on some of the less obvious details. It made for a really enjoyable evening- good dinner, good conversation.
Sunday started with a good (not great) standard run. We Q'd and got third place. Then we had a PHENOMENAL jumpers run for our second dbl Q and 48 more MACH points. She really flew.
But, here is the best part.... another handler came over and asked me where I had gotten Maggie... if the breeder was in Missouri. I told her that Maggie was a rescue and her brows went up and all she said was "wow."
Sometimes when I think about what a great dog she is, all I can say is "wow" also.
Great job this weekend

Thursday, May 14, 2009

how much stuff can one dog need?

I remember when my kids were babies, I was always in shock at how much stuff we had to pack for even the shortest trip. Car seat, stroller, high chair, portacrib, toys, diaper bags, etc. We used to even make jokes about it. But the amount of stuff I just put in my car rivels even the most prepared moms.
Maggie and I are headed to Evansville Indiana tomorrow for an agility show (what else). It is only a two day show, so you wouldn't think we would need all that much, but YIKES! My Honda Pilot is filling up! Crate, bedding, chair, dolly, dog food, dog toys, ground cover, towels... holy cow- and I havn't pack anything for me! It is times like this that I miss my old conversion van... big 'ol Alice would have carried it all and had room to spare. Of course it only got 12 miles to the gallon, but hey, you can't have everything.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Love

Okay, this post isn't about dogs... it's about love. I was just glancing through my photos from Sunday and I came across this:

I was thinking that there is nothing else in the world like baby love-especially from mom and grandma. Isn't this the scene that William Ross Wallace had in mind when he wrote:

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

What a joy to watch (and be!) a mom this Sunday with a little baby to fuss over.

But the humans weren't the only ones that enjoyed watching over little Julian... Gertie was never far away and ready to lend a paw to help.

(you didn't really think I could make it through an entire entry without a dog, did you?)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers' Day

To all the adopters, the fosters, the transporters; to those of you that have raised the puppies and raised the alarms; for those that have written the papers, written their congressmen and written the checks: This day is for you.

Without you, I might be spending today in a shelter, in a cage, on the end of a chain- or worse.

But instead, I will be free. And when I run through the sun, feel the breeze in my hair, sniff the green grass and lay at my human’s feet, I do it in your honor. For without you, I would not know these joys.

Today is for you, whether you are man or woman, you have mothered me and I will always be grateful.

Happy Mothers’ Day

The rescued dogs.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I have to begin by saying that I really do not like the idea of putting clothes on dogs. For the most part, dogs are perfectly designed just the way they are, and there is nothing that needs to be "added." Though I admit, I will make an exception for coats in bitter cold or cool coats for working dogs in the heat. But frilly dresses, t-shirts, and whatever else they sell for dogs is a no-go for me.
So how can you explain my fascination with accessories? Sunglasses especially... at some point in time I will put every pair I've ever owned on a dog and take his picture. So how could I resist when Sarah's friend Ryan shows up with a pair of Elvis glasses. Of course I just had to give them a go, and who better for this than my man Jake...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Our Double Q

Here it is, captured on video! Thanks to our friends Carol and Addie, and Sue and Gretchen for filming us. And for being the very best training team!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

they miss the girl...

It is funny to see how the dogs behave when Sarah comes home from school. After the first rambunctious greeting, they all have to sniff her from head to toe and then sniff her belongings. But in between sniffing sessions, they jump up and lick her face or pull on her clothes... it is like they so excited to see her they just can't help themselves. Any time she sits down, they will all crowd around her-even if she doesn't have a snack in her hand. Jake and Mopsy will both be in bed with her at night, though I don't know how she sleeps through it because they grumble at each other, jockeying for whatever spot puts them closest to her. And while Maggie sleeps on her doggie bed, she does make regular rounds through the night, checking to see if she is okay.
Yep, the puppies sure miss the girl when she is gone... and so do I. Hang on kids, she'll be home soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

C'mon in, the water's f-f-f-f-fine!

Saturday I promised Maggie that she could go swimming when we got home. Though I fully realize that she could not understand what I was saying, I felt compelled to make good on my promise, even though the pool water is still a little green. Maggie doesn't care, though, she'd jump in if it were brown. She doesn't even care that it is still around 62 degrees.... in fact, I think she enjoys sharing it by running to within 3 feet of a person before she shakes. And if you saw the look on her face, you'd believe she is doing it on purpose- I think she enjoys hearing us squeal and laugh. As the summer wears on, I'm sure I will have more dog swimming photos, feel free to yell when you've had enough...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A different kind of day

What a difference there was from Friday to Saturday. Not only did the cold rains give way to sunny skies, our success on the agility field was completely different as well. We got there at "the butt crack" of dawn and you could tell it was going to be a pretty day. The sunrise was peeking though pink clouds and the water on the grass sparkled in the light. It started a little cool, but the sun had warmed it up in no time. In fact, we were wishing we'd brought along shorts instead of the winter weight gear we'd packed. Our first run of the day was FAST which I bobbled when I stepped over the line in the send bonus. But I didn't feel too bad, because NO ONE qualified in FAST. There were probably 100 competitors and not one qualification. That tells you something about the judge's course. Anyway, we set up for the standard course and we played it VERY safe and slow because I was tired of no Q's. We qualified at 17 seconds under course time, in 5th place (no placement ribbon, but I was happy to get that green one). The jumpers course came next and it was a difficult course... lots of switches and then a loooooong race for the finish. Those are usually the worst for us because I can't keep up and Maggie will stop and wait for me. But this time we managed to pull it off and not only Q'd but took 2nd place. It was our first Double Q in our race for a Championship (Master Agility Champion, MACH, requires 10 Dbl Q's as well as 750 speed points). Our tally to date is: 1 Dbl Q, 132 points. Go Maggie go!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rainy Days and Fridays....

We had a trail at Purina today. The day started out okay... everything was damp, but the temperature was warm enough that we considered changing into shorts. But as the day went by, it got wetter and colder, and the grass got slicker. Poor Maggie (and the other fast dogs) struggled to stay on their feet. To make matters worse, these course had some pretty hard turns in them... usually after a couple of jumps in a row, so the dogs had built up some speed, only to slide around when they tried the hard turn. Add that to the fact that I got lost on the jumpers course and that equals no ribbons for today. I sure hope we do better tomorrow... I'm beginning to feel a little bummed. : (