Monday, February 18, 2008

As seen on TV

Wow! It was so much fun to be at a trial in Ohio this weekend and have so many people tell me they saw me and Ian on tv! I can't remember how many people said something to me. We only got 5 seconds of fame, and it was Ian's only mistake in five runs, but we made it to the finals! I'm really proud of this boy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are you mean?

Devon is an avid tugger, and she has one really cute trick while tugging. She usually tugs silently, but if I lean over and ask her "Are you mean?" she will growl. I bought her a really great tug toy last weekend and saved it for her agility trial this past weekend. It's a braided tug toy with rabbit fur and a tennis ball on the end. Needless to say, she LOVED it! We were lined up to go in the ring and Devon was tugging away. I was asking her if she was mean and she was growling and then I hear, "Wow! I'm scared!" in a voice dripping with sarcasm. I hadn't realized it, but the whole score table was watching us and cracking up! They didn't believe for one minute this cute Golden was really mean!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Connor!

Connor turned 8 years old today. Seems so funny for him to be that old, because he doesn't act it. All day I have remembered bringing him home as a helpless 7 week old puppy. Connor is the antithesis of Reece; he's sweet, cuddly and adoring. Just what I needed in my second dog. But don't let his cream puff image fool you! Reece raised him, and Reece turned the pack over to him a couple of years ago when Reece's injuries were too much for him to confidently lead. Connor is now bringing Devon up to be the pack ruler.

Connor has had a rough day. In his old age he doesn't like thunderstorms, and we've had plenty last night and tonight. He feels he has to look after me as I've been battling bronchitis and pneumonia and I still cough a lot at night. He cuddles close as I cough, and I return the favor as he snuggles in while the thunder and lightening roll.

Connor has given me a love of Golden Retrievers. He blessed me as his partner in obedience, rally and agility. I know he loves agility, but on his terms now (without weave poles). He wagged his tail through a 250 yard track on Saturday. All this because he knows I want to play the games with him, and not because he wants to play them. He'd rather snuggle up on the bed or sofa next to you and snore all day.

Connor is a very special dog, and I hope and pray he's with me for 8 more years to come. I cannot imagine life without him.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Our dogs can humble us

So Ian has (or should I say HAD) an 87% Q rate. I was on a high since he'd only NQ'd 3 runs out of 23 since Thanksgiving ... that was until last weekend!

Now he hasn't been to class in about two weeks, and it's been cold and snowy, so he's been inside a lot. Plus I've been battling pneumonia, so I haven't been much fun lately (as Devon has been reminding me). Ian was so happy to be out and at an agility trial, he was bouncing up and down and wagging his tail furiously before his first run last Saturday. This is NOT my usual calm, serious Belgian Sheepdog! In fact, his breeder asked me later if I got the wrong Belgian (since I only have one the answer was obvious)! So he was running the Standard course like a dog possessed. He was going so fast in the weaves, he just couldn't keep up and came out of them. I paused, and we both looked at each other a little shocked, and then I just kept going toward the table. Ian was still so wound up, he flew to the table, skidded across it and fell off the other side! He was so embarrassed, he wouldn't look at me. I shook my head and told him to get on the table and sit. Ian's embarrassment was short lived as he flew down the A frame and just kept going through an off course tire before taking the tunnel he was supposed to take.

Well, I figured he got it all out of his system in Standard and settled into for a nice JWW run. Ian had a beautiful JWW run ... until he came out of the weave poles at pole 10! I could have killed him! This is a seasoned agility dog who knows what to do! So we headed back to the hotel with no green ribbons or points (and no Q toys for Devon)! We are 88 points from his MACH, and he suddenly decides weaving all 12 poles is optional!

Sunday morning comes and Ian is again excited to play the game. The weaves were obstacle #4, and it was a nice line of jumps and a chute into the weaves ... and Ian again came out, this time around pole 8! I stopped dead, looked and him and in a stern (but not mean) voice said, "Ian Reid! You get back over here, and you do all 12 of these weave poles! That is unacceptable! Now you get in there and weave!" I was probably pushing the boundaries with the judge so I didn't look at her, but I had clearly made my point with Ian! He flew through all 12 poles like I've never seen him before!

Needless to say Ian Q'd a very, very challenging JWW course by nailing his weaves and actually saving the run down the last line due to my poor handling. He earned 3 points in one Q out of four runs last weekend. UGH! I've been completely humbled! Here's hoping our Q rate is higher tomorrow when we do one day of a local AKC trial!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Small But Mighty

Last weekend I had a friend helping me with the dogs at an agility trial. She has a fantastic American Staffordshire Terrier named Buster Brown. I asked her to get Devon out of her crate, and after she did, I could see her laughing at Devon. The first thing she said to me was, "Deb! Devon's as strong as Buster is!" She clearly underestimated Devon's strength since she is a cute little Golden. However, Devon is 55 pounds of pure muscle! I had been restricted from playing tug with Buster when he almost flipped me and my chair into the ring this past summer. Considering I routinely tug with Devon, I think Buster can be my tugging partner again!