Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Weekend Report - Not Our Day

Jimmy and I signed up for one day of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Potomac's  AKV agility trial with the intention of kicking some bunny butt. Unfortunately, neither Jimmy nor I had our game on yesterday. One word describes our first course of the day: BRUTAL. It was an amazingly difficult Standard run with traps every which way you looked. It was tight as could be, sharp turns abounding. We actually got off to a good start, made it past the dogwalk without Jimmy blowing his contact, made the extremely hard weavepole entrance (a teeter to a sharp left into the weaves, most dogs weren't getting it!), but our old nemesis, the table, reared its ugly head! Yes, Jimmy, that little stinker, refused the table like 5 times before I finally got him on there! He was either getting on that table or he was getting walked off the course in shame. He was NOT going on to the tunnel. It was the next obstacle, he loves tunnels, and I do believe he just plain did not want to wait on the table to have his fun in the tunnel. So he did finally get on, I told him he was a good boy (I lied!), and then he shot into the wrong end of the tunnel. Of course we were disqualified six times over already, so it really didn't matter. The rest went fine, of course. My confidence going into this run was poor, so my mental game failed me, but I truly did not expect a table fault. Sigh.

So, since we are now in search of Double-Q's at every trial now, the day was already a wash.

The club offered the optional class called Time 2 Beat. I had never tried it before as it is new and since it is optional for the clubs, you don't see it at every trial. The idea for this one is speed. All dogs run in just one class, so Novice dogs run against Open or Excellent dogs of their own height. The idea is the first dog to run sets the course time, and everybody else has to beat it. There is only one winner who gets 10 points, and the rest of the pack get points based on how close their time was to the winners. The courses are built to encourage speed, no table, no dogwalk, 12 weaves (tough for the Novice dogs).....So in the 12 inch class Jimmy came in #4. This earned him 8 points and got him his first leg. This title will take awhile, you need 15 legs! and 100 points to get the T2B title after your dogs name.

Finally came our Jumpers run. It wasn't too bad, my nerves were settled since a Double-Q was unfortunately not on the line, but I just didn't have my mojo right. I didn't hear the electronic GO, so I didn't know if I could start. I looked to the judge, she finally nodded, and in the mean time Jimmy broke his stay so my lead-out was gone. This messed up my handling and Jimmy knocked an early jump bar. With us disqualified, I ran all out pushing for speed, egging on faster weave poles, etc. The rest of the run was clean (of course!) and Jimmy finished with a nice speedy time of a hair over 30 seconds. I didn't wait around to see the results and compare his time to other dogs. The building was getting steamy hot ( a real and typical problem for this location), and we hit the road ASAP!

As a side note, there was a good Cardigan showing at this trial. My friend Aggie who I often train with got a Double-Q on her speedy gal Bella. Another girl Cardi with handler David, also got a Double-Q. I saw a beautiful fluffy brindle running. That was the first Brindle fluff I've ever seen. Also a speedy blue merle fluff was there, but I missed the run. And in the 8 inch JWW class, I saw a black-tri girl that made Jimmy look like he was walking the course! Oh my goodness, she was AMAZING! Thank goodness she runs in eight inch. She ran the jumpers course a full 5 seconds faster than Jimmy. A top sheltie would have trouble beating her time!

So there you have it, not our finest hour/day. We will give it another go next weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2011

You Probably Had To Be There.......

Jimmy and I attend agility class every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 7:30. It is probably an understatement to say that Jimmy really enjoys going. The second we pull in the driveway, he starts amping up, up, up! I've been going to this particular class for a couple of years now, same time, same instructor. When we first joined her class, she had been warned by management that Jimmy was, shall we say, rather intense, and that he was not always good around the other dogs. So, just to cover her bases (among other things), at the beginning of each new session, she reminds the other students to give Jimmy room. It's good advice because the mored excited Jimmy becomes, the more likely he will snark. Jimmy is fast and furious, emphasis on the furious, when it's his turn in the ring. When we enter the ring for our turn, he's tugging so hard on his leash a border collie couldn't do it better. If at any time during our run I am slow to signal where he's going or, even worse, I indicate he's made a mistake, he chews me out very loudly, like at the top of his lungs! I often can't hear my instructors comments over Jimmy's big mouth. I give all this description as a preamble so you will have the weekly scene painted for you.

The building is a large, high-ceilinged place big enough for two rings. Crating is along one wall, with an aisle, and then the gating around the ring. It's a noisy place between all the dog noise, people chit-chat, shuffling around, a/c running, etc. So we are taking turns running the course, and it's my turn. I get Jimmy out of his crate (where he is usually a good quiet boy, just so you don't think he is a full-time monster :-) ) and he's READY TO GO! He's barking, he's tugging, he's dragging me into the ring......over all the hub-bub in the building and over Jimmy's loud enthusiasm, I hear one of my fellow students shout out RELEASE THE KRAKEN! as I am about to remove Jimmy's leash at the start line. Knowing that line from a movie, coupled with her perfect comedic timing and theatrical flare, it hit me as hysterical. Most of the class broke out laughing and I was reduced to helpless giggles. I don't  know how I ever ran that course!

Now if you don't happen to know that phrase, it is from a recent movie called Clash of the Titans. In it, Liam Neeson plays the Greek god Zeus and at a fateful moment in the movie, yells Release the Kraken! It was such a truly ridiculous line that it has become something of a catchphrase. And of course it has become another of Jimmy's nicknames!

As I said, you probably had to be there, but oh, what a funny moment it was!

Here are a couple of clips of the now-famous line:

The first one is an official trailer and the line is very near the end .

This is a much shorter, reworked version:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

So Freakin' Cute !!! ......but NCC*

* No Corgi Content

....Looking out the master bedroom window which faces our back yard. This is just beyond our fence, an area that is popular with the local wildlife.

Momma Deer is looking a little slim/worn out from feeding the family.


Once Wilson and Jimmy noticed them and let go a loud ruckus, they blended away into the scrub.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Remembering Dylan....

Today is eight years to the day that our sweet Dylan made the trip across the Rainbow Bridge. It's a bittersweet date that we remember each year. Dylan lived most of his life before the digital photograph era so bear with me as I share a few photos of photos of Dylan.

Here he is as a young pup, shortly after coming into my life. I was in my mid-twenties, sulking over the breakup with a long term boyfriend. Dylan had the huge job of healing my broken heart. He did an excellent job and then some!

I didn't expect him to be anything but a pet. I did take him to obedience class where he was the star pupil. He also quickly learned how to train me. Anytime he wanted something, he would use his cutest pose to ask for it. He was very hard to resist.

Even way back then, we were visiting Myrtle Beach, and Dylan did not escape the task of posing for my camera.

He didn't get the benefit of all the dog-focused training/agility hobby I do now, but he went many places we did. Where ever he went, he gathered a crowd! What type of dog is that? Is he a mutt? We joked that he needed a pre-printed vest, saying, I am a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, My Name is Dylan, Yes, You can pet me, Yes, I am supposed to look like this. We must have answered those questions a million times. Cardis where much more rare back in those days and no one knew the breed. Here in this picture, he is cooling off in the reflecting pond down in DC.  That is the Lincoln Memorial in the background.

A weekend at a more local beach......

Dylan's favorite thing in life was to play frisbee. I guess it was his herding dog obsession. He would have played until he dropped dead if you didn't call an end to the game. He would even swim under water to retrieve his beloved frisbee if it sank to the bottom of a stream! He's probably about 12 in this picture and still trying to keep the game going.

Of course, whether we like it or not, time marches on. What a pity dogs are given such a short, short time with us. This was taken on, you guessed it!, Dylan's 16th and last birthday. He still had many months left, but time was catching up with him.

A White Christmas is a very, very rare treat here in Virginia. On Dylan's last one, we awoke to the most amazing sight. Huge wet flakes were coming down, quickly covering the grass and the trees. It was magical and we wasted no time getting out there for pictures. It was a very special morning.

This last photo was taken in July of 2003, just a day or two before we had to let him go. He missed his 17th birthday by only two weeks. He was blind, he was deaf, but in true Cardigan fashion, he was going to get a bite of our food, dammit!

Man, how I loved that dog! Here it is eight years later and my throat is tight, my eyes are teary. He was a wonderful part of my life and I owe him alot. Wilson and Jimmy, my whole circle of dog friends, a hobby I love, all those can be credited to him. What a lucky day it was, the day I met Dylan!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Weekend Report - Our First Double-Q!

This weekend was a two-day agility trial in Winchester, Virginia. It was in a nice indoor sportplex, but was a one-ring trial. This makes for a VERY long day as the Jumpers courses follow the Standard courses (or vice versa) instead of being able to run concurrently in another ring. The poor Novice folks must have been there until at least 7PM! But still, it is one of my favorite trials...a pretty drive over the mountains, a nice building with new turf, a couple of good vendors for retail therapy, and the club provides great snacks for the volunteers.

Saturday started with Jumpers and it was a fairly easy course. Unfortunately, a jump, jump to the right side of the tunnel didn't go as planned. Jimmy set his sights on the left entry and barreled in. Screaming from me did not change his mind. In hind sight, I needed a more exaggerated pull to the right to be sure Jimmy came with me, but as they say hind sight is 20/20. Any chance of a Double-Q was now gone.

A long time later was Standard. Again it was just one mistake in an otherwise nicely run course that did us in. This time it came near the end of the run.  I have trained Jimmy to have a running contact on the dogwalk, and this has served us very well thus far with just a couple of hiccups. Unfortunately,  this time he decided to bail early, missing the contact by about an inch, the little bugger! Disconcertingly, this has begun to happen in class as well, so I have a new and very serious training issue to work on. So I solved the table.....and Jimmy gives me a new challenge!

Sunday started with Standard, and a very tough course! There were several tight turns with odd angles that required close attention to keep the bars up. There was a slightly tricky weave entry, which Jimmy nailed. Of course I was nervous about a repeat of his dogwalk issue, but luck was on my side and we completed the course cleanly! We even got 3rd place and 17 more points.

A ridiculously long time later came Jumpers. It was another tricky course and since I had the potential for a Double-Q, I was extra nervous. I felt the butterflies I used to get back in my Novice days, Egads! Fortunately with no dogwalk to worry about, I was more confident of success. Jimmy loves a good JWW run. He cruised through cleanly in just a little over 33 seconds (and 13 more points!) and there we had it, our very first Double-Q! Woohoo!.....Now only 19 more to go!

I feel like we are truly on our way now. What a good boy Jimmy is!

Tracking Jimmy's MACH progress:

Excellent B JWW legs: 11 (out of 10 needed for his MXJ) Now he's working on his MXJ2!
Excellent B STD legs: 1 (out of 10 needed for his MX) But at least we are now in B class!
Double Q's: 1 (out of 20 double-Q's needed for a MACH)
MACH Points: 159 (out of 750 speed points needed for a MACH)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jimmy Says....

.... "Talk to the Paw! I'm trying to sleep here!"


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Travel Alert!

There's a certain footbridge in Ashburn that may or may not be safe to cross. I have it on good authority and accompanied by photographic evidence, that a couple of trolls lurk beneath.

Cross at your own risk!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The First Light of Day

I am, by nature, a morning person. Sleeping late for me is 7 am. I enjoy being up when the world is still quiet and I can have time to myself. Of course, Wilson and Jimmy will follow me downstairs and begin their breakfast vigil. They watch out the back door for the deer or fox to go by, chew a bone, or doze on the dog bed while they wait for their food.

At the eastern end of our yard is a row of Leyland Cypress. The sun has to rise high enough to shine through the upper boughs and then into our kitchen over the sink. As a result, the first bit of sunlight shines in as strongly defined rays. This weekend Jimmy managed to accidentally place himself in the direct path of that first blazing ray. It was amusing and photo-worthy :-)

Didn't his Mama ever tell him not to look into the eyes of the sun?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer's Here, But......

.....It won't last long. Better grab some fun, before it moves along!*

This is definitely Wilson's and Jimmy's idea of Summer Fun!

* Paraphrasing the chorus of an Elvis Costello song

Friday, July 1, 2011

Still Life with Corgis

Which one can hold a pose better?


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