I would LOVE to tell you all that Tweed was the 2012 Canadian 10″ Double Drop Veteran Champion, but I would be lying! Plus, Tweed would have had to run clean 6 times to sport that title. Alas, my old man was just not feeling it last weekend, and he grudgingly gave me just two clean runs – a 5th place in Gamblers 2 and a 3rd place in Jumpers 2 – and otherwise quite firmly told me to go Jump In A Lake. Or maybe he was telling me that HE wanted to go jump in the lake, because it was 30+ degrees and we were all melting (annual sunburn – check!).
Nationals format was a little different. On Friday every division ran the first Gamblers in all of the rings. I had confidence, as Tweed is a Gambling rockstar. However, he ran around the ring like a damned fool, ignored my every command and didn’t rack up too many points … not an auspicious start! but the closing gamble was an easy one for him, so I knew he could get it. But he dropped a bar in the closing and got whistled off. That was not only disappointing but WEIRD as Tweed doesn’t drop bars.
Saturday every division ran a Standard, a Gamblers and a Jumpers, in that order. Standard is where we rack up The Big Points as Tweed is fast and accurate. But in Standard I heard the dreaded “tick tick tick” of him tapping the bars with his hind feet, and every few bars one would come down, so we ended up with 15 faults instead of like 25+ bonus points he would usually get. I was so worried that I enlisted several friends to come observe his next run, which was the second Gamble. If he was running poorly, or ticking bars, my plan was to scratch from Nationals altogether, as no competition, no matter how huge, is worth my dog’s physical being. If he was hurting in some way I couldn’t see, I wasn’t going to keep running him.
So of course he gets out there and kicks some gambling ass. Not a bar down, super fast and accurate, except for one weave entry where he went in the wrong side. Got the gamble in absolutely perfect form, without a foot out of place. That was his 5th place – woulda been higher placement but for those weaves!
I decided he was over whatever was ailing him, and left him in the competition, and promptly – ROYALLY – effed up his Jumpers. That was allll me :)
Sunday was all dogs in all rings running Jumpers first. That was his 3rd place, in spite of his handler who had some kind of difficulty grasping the course order, despite walking it several times! My poor dog ended up just running the course the way it was supposed to be run, while I flailed around behind him. Maybe I should let him read the course maps more often!
The last run of the weekend was the final Standard. They took the top 15 dogs in each division and everyone ran in their regular order until the top 15 dogs in each class, then they ran them from 15th place down to 1st place. I guess this was supposed to make everyone more pumped up and excited. But it didn’t matter much to me … before our last Jumpers we were sitting in a dismal 22nd place. Our clean Jumpers rocketed us up to – wait for it – 16th place. Ouch.
We could have sneaked into the top 10 if we had run the Standard clean. Based on the bonus points I know he could have gotten, and how the other dogs did, he would have ended up somewhere around 8th or 9th place (Nationals goes to top 10 instead of top 6 like Regionals). But in the final standard we had a long, painful conversation at the dogwalk contact. Tweed stood just above it, looked at me, looked at the contact, looked at me, looked at the contact … told me the contact was ON FIRE AND THERE WAS NO WAY HE WAS TOUCHING IT FOR LOVE NOR COOKIES and jumped off the dogwalk sideways. A brand new first is assholeness for Tweedles, which he just had to bust out at Nationals, of all places. *shakes fist at Tweed*. So in the end, he ended up in 16th place overall, about halfway through his division.
But you know what? That’s okay with me. I wasn’t super chuffed about tip toeing into the top 10 based on one fast run rather than a cumulative stellar weekend, you know? Tweed’s better than that – he is usually a fast, clean, precise dog. I mean, he did get 6 clean runs at Regionals, I know he has it in him. We should have done better at Nationals. But for whatever reasons, he and I were both not on our game, so we didn’t.
And I don’t care – I love my old man dog more than words can ever express. He’s 12 years old and he ran like stink for me, even though he was so hot and tired that after the last Standard he literally pulled me all the way back to the tent, where he promptly laid down on the mat and fell asleep within 45 seconds of arriving. Clearly he was just too hot and tired.
So we ended up with two pretty ribbons that cost me approximately $725. Ouch. But we also got to go play with the top agility dogs in the country at an event we only get to attend every 5 years or so. And he had the biggest retirement party ever, with about 350 canine guests from across Canada :)
Happy Agility Retirement Tweed! You’re still #1 to me :)
I’m retired! I can has retirement cake plz?
Tweed’s alphabet soup is 2012 Regional Champion of 10″ DD Vets, sATCh, BAoM, ExSt Bronze, MSCDC and some flyball title I can’t remember from back in the day, not to mention a movie or two to his credit. He’s 12 years old and has been playing agility with me for a decade, . He’s taught me so much and has been so much fun. I couldn’t ask for a better buddy. I wouldn’t trade him for all the 1st place national trophies in the world!
Dexter, otoh …
Bored dog is bored.
He hated the whole weekend. Not only was he stuck in a crate doing nothing for 4 whole days, he is also now on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for violating a 14 year old boy in an extremely unwholesome way!
He wasn’t totally ignored. On Friday, Auntie Fiona (who, by the way, rocked Nationals with her Devil Incarnate – errr, borderjack, Tempus – to a Podium 8th place in the 10″ Specials class!)
How awesome is that??? When Tem first started agility he was so stressed out that he would sometimes run out of the ring, especially at Regional/National events. She has worked hard with him for years, and it has clearly paid off! I am so proud of them both :)
Anyway, Auntie Fiona kindly gave up one of her warm up runs for Dexter, so he would have something to do. Just a ring of contact equipment and tunnels, and a whole minute to play. Dexter demolished the freakin’ ring! Clearly the Brand New Agility Dog that manifests in class these days was not the personality that came out to play at Nationals!!!! Maybe he remembered the venue (same place as Regionals) and wanted to relive the rocket-launcher-days of his stunning LAST PLACE placement at Regionals, but whatever it was, the damn dog was a hot mess out there! He fell off all the equipment because he was running so fast he couldn’t keep his feet. He tried to bank INTO a curved tunnel about 5 feet too early and ran SIDEWAYS IN THE AIR before plummeting to the grass face first. It would have been hilarious had it not been so incredibly sad.
This weekend he was entered – against my will, I must stress – in the ASCA agility trial so maybe we will have some video of shame for you all :)
Having slunk out of Nationals without a respectable finish, for which I went deeply into debt (*shakes fist at Tweed again!*) I felt the universe owed me some compensation. The universe clearly agreed, as today at work I got this!
This is Gale, an itty bitty smoothie border collie puppy that came in as a stray and didn’t get claimed. So I brought her home with me.
Isn’t she ADORABLE?
She’s awesome. And she’s a total bitch too – she took on TWooie and backed him down right away. I *heart* her.
Plus she fits right in with the funny faces.
Alas, I am more than at my dog limit, so no smoothie for me! I’ll be putting her up for adoption soon, and I am sure she’ll get snapped right up.
*sigh* I want to live with The Food Lady
Hrmph. I will get my revenge.
But however cute she is, she is not as cute as my Tweed!