Monday, May 24, 2010

Prairie Dog Acres DOCNA Trial

Something of a traumatic weekend for dogs and handlers.  At the end of the day on Sunday I'm talking to a friend when all of a sudden she gets stung by a wasp.  And of course she's allergic.  She explains she doesn't have her epi-pen with her and her boyfriend heads off to the car to get some Benadryl.  I tell her I have some closer by, I'll run go get it but it may be expired but it's closer.  She says 'No, he'll get the Benadryl' so I suppose she's got some special dosage or something.  Neither of them seem too panicked and I figure that she isn't deathly allergic if she doesn't have her epi-pen with her so I keep an eye on her in case I have to try to remember my CPR class from when I was 12 years old but she seems fine, gets her Benadryl and I figure all is well and pack the last of my things to go home.  As I head out of the trial site, which is 10-12 miles from the tiniest of towns down a quiet country road, out in the middle of nowhere where the deer and the antelope play, I see a woman with a worried expression on her face standing at the entrance to the site but I don't think too much of it and continue on my way.  About 10 minutes later the paramedics come screaming by and then I realize why the woman is standing there and how serious the situation is.  If I'd known she was so allergic I'd have called 911 immediately but this woman is the exact opposite of a drama queen and I didn't realize how bad her situation was.  I spend a restless night worrying but it turns out she's o.k.  She had an exciting ride in the Flight for Life helicopter but thankfully lives to see another day.

The other exciting part of the weekend is the wind on Saturday.  Starts out as a cooling breeze in the morning but works it's way up to 25-30 mph gusts at least by the time Masters Standard starts.  The result is not pretty.  We start off the class with my favorite Italian Greyhound who just moments before was giving me adorable little doggie kisses getting blown off the dogwalk like a little origami paper dog.  He's not prepared for the gust of wind and does not land nicely.  Neither do any of the half dozen or more (so many I lose count) other dogs, including an 82 pound Akita and a huge 120 + lb mixed breed, that nearly get blown to Kansas.  The dogs aren't prepared for the gusts that send them flying so they land hard on their shoulders/backs and twist their spines around.  It's truly one of the most horrible displays I've ever seen at agility trial.  The judge lowers the walk for the Starters class and that helps, no dogs fly off that I see, and she removes the teeter when the course flows in a direction such that the wind lifts the upside off the ground periodically but there's only so much she can do short of canceling the trial.  By the end of Starters Standard the wind reaches a new intensity, probably 40 mph with 50 mph gusts and I say screw this and go home, missing my Strategic Time Gamble run.  No way agility is fun or safe for anybody in these conditions.  Sure it's Gamblers and I can pick a course that keeps him off the contacts but still, it's no fun to be out in those conditions and who knows what'll happen.  It's not worth it.

Strum and I had our moments of brilliance and frustration.  He was running very high, even higher the second day than the first, and as the weekend progressed his weaves got worse.  By his last standard run I couldn't get him to do them at all.  I haven't reviewed the video for that run but I suspect it's because it was at the end of a run that hadn't gone all that smoothly and he was too frazzled to focus.  In total he ended up with Q's in Traditional Gamblers (3rd place and his title which I didn't realize until this morning), Standard (1st place) and 2 Jumpers Q's (1st places) though I'm sure one Jumpers Q was a mistake because I was SO sure he had a bar down.  I didn't stay to see my scores so I didn't notice the potential error until this morning when my results came and I'm not going to waste a bunch of other  people's time trying to straighten it out at this point.  It's possible he only ticked the bar and my brain was playing tricks with me but I'm 90% certain it fell.  Oh well, it's only Advanced Jumpers and I'll be thrilled to be out of there and on to Masters sooner rather than later.

The highlight of the trial was the first Advanced Standard run and I've got a video of it below.  He was the only dog in the entire class to Q.  I walked the class differently from everybody else and felt weird picking such a different route but in the end I'm glad I stuck to the plan I thought was right and everything worked out perfectly except for a glitch at the end but there are no refusals in DOCNA.  The other run on the video started out o.k. but quickly headed south so I cut the video short, not so much because I'm embarrassed but because you'll want to claw your eyes out watching it.

DOCNA May 22, 2010 from colliebrains on Vimeo.

I can't believe nobody warned me about my hair and that I was walking around all day looking like that.  At some point I had a million loose pieces of hair in my face because of the wind so I redid the pony tail higher on my head to catch the loose pieces and while this worked it made me look like Pebbles.  Thankfully I was wearing a hat most of the day.  I remembered my hair clips on Sunday but I haven't viewed Sunday's videos yet so who knows what fashion faux pas await me there.  I'll try to get the rest of the video up sometime this week.

There was more I'm sure but for now I have to get back to the grindstone.  Hope everyone else's weekends were much more uneventful.


  1. NICE! Love his contacts (and the push from the DW to the tunnel).

  2. Love the kiwi music :-)
    Strummer looked great. I hate running when it is windy.

  3. Nice run! Boy once he's in those weaves, he's like a fish, and a fast one at that. If that makes any sense. Scary about the wind, and your friend's wasp sting, glad she's okay. The excitement of my weekend was running into a car while trying to park at a trial. Sigh.

  4. Sheesh, something must have been in the air this past weekend.

    Well spotted about the music, Split Enz were indeed from New Zealand which I didn't remember. Gotta love those 80's hair bands. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists was the band doing the cover.

    Thanks Morganne, we've been working on those flip turns. Overheard someone saying that you can't do those contact into tunnel turns with a running contact and had to laugh, obviously they hadn't seen Strummer.

  5. Hate that kind of wind! I think you were wise to call it a day.