Not with a bang, but with a WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED OUT THERE?!?!
Get in your bunkers folks, Armageddon is nigh.
I type this slowly, painfully sunburned as I am. Which, as you all know, can only mean another AAC Regionals has wrapped itself up. I do not know why sunscreen disdains me so thoroughly.
Usually I would illustrate my annual Regionals post with video, as I give you a blow by blow, but this Regionals was so horrifying that I do not wish to re-see it. I already cannot un-see it and am haunted by it’s ghostly echos (they all sound like this: “Where the hell are you going, dog???”). So you’ll have to be content with this summary, sans visual aids.
SUMMARY: Dexter – not too shabby. Spring – SUCKS DONKEY BALLS.
I know, right??
Both dogs Q’d both Steeplechases, but with miserable 12th and 15th type place finishes. Spring did all of her pooping outside of the rings rather than in them, which is a marked improvement on last year, I’ll give her that.
But it was all downhill from there for Springles. You will kindly recall that last year my steady little lurcher made the podium with only very minor one error for the entire weekend – very impressive for a dog who had only trialed two times before. Well, she made up for it this year, by gloriously failing at EVERYTHING we tried. She decided that contacts were not merely optional, they were clearly lurcher-eating monsters and she jumped over or sideways from each and every one of them. She ran at cruising speed for most of the weekend, with a distinct pout on her face, and wandered off mid course to slowly – painfully slowly – take off course obstacles for no discernible reason whatsoever. She made neither gamble, and achieved only one clean run, a Jumpers in which despite being clean, she placed a dismal 9th or something like that.
Where did my good dog go? In the end, she not only did NOT qualify for Nationals, she finished 30th out of 33 dogs. IOW, Spring = teh suck. I don’t know where her fire went, and we are now on a quest to rekindle it :( Even running Dexter as his worst is an adrenaline-filled out rollercoaster. Running Spring at her worst is like swimming against a tide of stanky old crank case oil.
Dexter and I tried his paw at our third Regionals together – third time’s the charm right? We have worked very hard this year to become a team rather than a “who’s on first?” comedy routine in the ring. It is mostly paying off. Dexter also had only one clean run, a lovely Gamblers full of The Listening, but the bulk of most of his errors in the other runs were small – the weave poles chewed us up a little in both Standards. In the first one he tried so hard to get the entry that he actually fishtailed and bonked his bean on the pole, and basically just slid into the second pole. I’ll take that effort! In the second, he nailed his entry but for some mystery reason stopped dead at pole three and looked at me and started popping up and down like a cork in the ocean. Such tiny errors for such a big personality dog!
His second Gamblers he achieved the most amazing call off at the wrong tunnel mouth in the closing – he actually threw, like, POUNDS of sand into the tunnel as he put on the brakes, as he was at full speed (Spring ALSO went into the wrong tunnel mouth, so clearly I mishandled them both, however Spring just mosied on in rather than call off). He then redirected to the correct tunnel but we lost the time and he completed the Gamble but not in time. However, in the 5 year history of Dexter he has NEVER called off an obstacle EVER, so I feel like we achieved a milestone there.
Here he is heading to the wrong tunnel mouth. Photo taken by Jen!
He had only one refusal in one Jumpers run, but the other Jumpers was colossal … I at all times do NOT do rear crosses with Dexter. He has a short-circuit with rear crosses; one rear cross in a run is intriguing. Two means that EVERYTHING must be a rear cross from thereon in. But in this Jumpers there was simply no way to avoid two rears in the first 2/3rds of the course, so in the home stretch, as we were finishing a wicked fast run, he read a straight-away as a rear. The problem is, there was nothing to rear cross … except for a SPREAD JUMP 15 feet away.
A spread jump which he took.
A spread jump which he took BACKWARDS.
A heartbreaking 20 faults off course.
In the end, Dexter qualified for Nationals, and he did it with a 9th place standing, out of 19 dogs!
If he had not bobbled his weaves in the Standards, and if he not taken that off course, he would have been in first place, that’s how close we were to glory.
Of course, the very fact that I ran a whole weekend with a Dexter dog who mostly listened all the time and who didn’t just fly around the ring taking whatever he fancied is a winning weekend for us. I am so proud of my big giraffe, SO PROUD of him. We are finally pals out there, him and me. It was a long time coming.
I dunno wtf was going on with Spring. I have thought it over and decided to blame Ender (it’s my Iggie, and I’ll blame it if I want to) for the increase in tension and yelling in my house, which Miss Sensitive doesn’t much care for.
Also, Spring and Piper have had a few go-rounds of late … it used to be that Piper made Mad Teeth(tm) and all dogs bowed down before her, but lately Spring has been saying NO in a big way. Piper’s getting older, and frailer, and Spring knows she is the natural successor to the Matriarchal throne, so they are at odds a bit. Maybe all this cumulative stress did Spring’s head in.
Or maybe it’s Armageddon.
We are also proud of Rogue and Fiona, who were on the podium for the 4th time in the last 5 years, in 2nd place in the 16″ regulars … they should have been first (as usual, FIONA) but for a bad contact call in a Standard run that cost them mucho-points. Rogue hit her contact, everyone saw her hit her contact, but the judge did not, apparently, see her hit her contact. A pretty costly call :( But we know that they are really Number One!
Have a nice trip Fiona, see you next Fall! (if I never post another entry, you readers should know it means Fiona killed me – CALL THE POLICE!!)
Today I am on Staycation, so we are all enjoying a well deserved lazy day of just hanging out doin’ nuthin’.
Well, maybe a little bit of Happy Dancing :)
I abjure thee…….
Well they still win in the cute department.
Well done Dexter, and really, well done Spring. I’m actually wondering if it might be worth getting her looked at by a chiro or physio as she was so out of character…
Awesome job, Dexter! That is really an amazing payoff for all your hard work with him. I imagine Spring just needs a little more investment of your time (and a lot less Ender) and she will find the joy again. Cannot really imagine Spring sauntering uninterestedly around a course, but then I wasn’t there. (With a little luck we will be paying you a visit this summer though.)
Three cheers for Rogue as well! Rock steady, that little dog.