Tuesday, May 31, 2005

What is it we do here again?

I think I'm pretty much useless today. Three days of agility competition (plus volunteering as ring crew, course-builder and clean-up crew) have wiped me out. This morning I have recovered the ability to walk properly (I still have a painful blister on the bottom of one of my toes), but I'm still trying to remember what life in the real world entails--dog-sport events push everything else out of my mind. I feel like I've just spent three days on another planet ... Planet of the Dogs.

It was a win some, lose some weekend (Warning: potentially boring agility minutiae follows). We got three Qs (1 in Standard, 2 in Jumpers), which got us our first agility titles (SSA and SJ). We still lack that elusive Snooker Q, which would have earned us our Agility Dog title. We got further than we've ever gotten on a Snooker course before being whistled off for taking an off-course obstacle.

I had some real thrills unrelated to how we ended up finishing, however. For the first time in competition, Lucy showed no interest in going off to sniff things or roll in the grass (although while we were waiting at the start line she started rolling around a few times ... the dog just loves rolling around). Also, she was faster than she's ever been. Faster than I thought she could be. In fact, in one standard run in which we were faulted for missed contacts, we would have beat the first-place finisher by about 6 seconds had the run been clean, and our time was 26 seconds under the standard course time (which was 66 seconds just to give you an idea of how long we're talking). So I have a winning dog waiting for me when I finally get my act together as a handler. Which brings me to the other thrill--I finally felt like I really knew what I was doing out there. At least I did during the walk-throughs. I could look at the course and know (mostly) how I needed to approach every obstacle to stay on-course and be fast. The problem is that when it came time to actually execute those plans I was often a foot or two out of place or a second too slow to make it work correctly. Smart little Lucy saved us a few times by figuring out what I meant despite what I did. She deserves a better handler.

Well, time to go blend in with the earthlings ... thanks for stopping by.

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