Well I’m very behind on updating my blog. I guess that’s what happens when you trial for three straight weekends, drive to Florida for a week, and have a very sick puppy. So finally sitting down to try to gather my thoughts. First off, Rue seems to be fine now thank goodness…more about my scare with her later. I also plan to write about my time at Awesome Paws camp, but those memories are buried deep right now…..
Got to Savannah around 11:30 pm after driving straight up from Tampa after the last day of camp. I checked into my motel and was immediately feeling insecure about my choice of places to stay. I was on the first floor with a door that opened to the outside. The clientele outside my room were rather loud and obviously had been partying a bit. I tried to quickly get everything including the dogs into the room and double locked the door. The walls were paper thin and I couldn’t find a remote for the TV (and you couldn’t do anything but turn it on or off without a remote). So I turned on my computer and played my Pandora radio to try to drown out the noise. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well!
Thankfully the trial site was only about 2 miles away, so that somewhat made up for my less than stellar accomodations. I searched for a good place to set up my tent and proceded to unpack and get things squared away. I quickly found one of my friends and she helped me finish getting things set up and shaded properly…it was supposed to be a very sunny and rather warm weekend. I was so involved with making sure we were set up that I nearly missed my walk-through for Open FAST. I never really care about FAST anyway, but it’s nice to at least have somewhat of a plan even if I’m just using it for training. With only a handful of dogs entered, there was only 1 dog and a height change between Miles and Rue. Miles had a fantastic run and was super fast earning his 3rd Open Q and his OF title–yeah off to a great start for the weekend! Rue also had a fabulous run and had beautiful weaves, aframe and dogwalk performances. I tugged with her on the way into the ring with her leash and that seemed to be very motivating for her! Miles’ run didn’t get on tape, but here’s lil’ Rue doing her thang 🙂
We had a bit of a break before Excellent Standard, so I took the time to acclimate the dogs and myself a bit more to the site. It’s in the middle of a city park in Savannah and the rings were located in the outfield of a baseball field. The surface was nice and flat. Adjacent to this ball field was another of it’s kind…perfect for ball throwing with Miles after his runs, sweet! Today was pretty quiet and not many dogs were entered….I think there were five 24″ dogs and maybe fifteen 20″ dogs. Pretty nice odds for placing I thought!
Having just come from an intensive handling camp where my focus for Miles was purely on speed and decreasing striding between jumps, I was excited to practice some of my new strategies. One of those was to do more rear crosses unless I was absolutely sure I could get in and out of a FC so as not to break his stride. Plus the more motion I can show, the faster and more confidently he runs. This Std. course looked very doable with only one sticky spot with a serp that you had to do in each direction back-to-back. I decided to do 2 landing side fronts which I knew weren’t the fastest options, but the lateral send would have required me leaving Miles on the table. With his questionable “down” position I figured that would be too hard for us. He handled this well, but I don’t think he liked it much. I also planned to serp a line from the dw to a tunnel so as not to break his stride coming off the dw. It worked to keep his speed up but I was just a bit out of place and he didn’t know that we were going to the tunnel soon enough. He covered for me, but it wasn’t the smoothest line. The run was really a great one except for him launching off of his frame, dang it! Oh well, I’ve never taught him a “running” frame, his is just a “non-stop” so what can I expect?! I’m pushing for more speed, so it’s to be expected that things will start to break down elsewhere. My plan was to see if it happened again and then if it did, make a plan to fix it. In any case, he had the fastest time of all jump heights (4.2yps) except for one 20″ BC that was 3 seconds faster. Not bad!
Even with the small trial entry, things were moving quite slowly. I think we finally got to Exc JWW around 3pm. The course was pretty nice and I debated about FC vs RC for Miles. Since I didn’t have a QQ on the line I decided to go for all rears. I was pretty happy with my choices, except he didn’t totally know where he was going for 2 of my rears. Something to work on for sure. He was a good boy and helped me out and still turned in a great time for 1st place and 24 points! This made MXJ leg #8 at 5.1yps. The video is a mess, unfortunately.
For Rue I planned all FC’s. She still not striding out enough in triels for me to effectively do the rears, but this is something that I will work on in practice when she’s faster. We still had a fantastic run and she was only 3 seconds slower (4.7yps) than her brother. This made MXJ leg #1 and earned her 9 MACh points….my baby’s first points!! I couldn’t be prouder 🙂 No video of this run, unfortunately.
After the trial, I headed back to my room to shower and get something to eat. I also swung by the front desk to see if they had a remote control I could use! I had noticed some itchy bites on my left hand earlier in the morning but didn’t think anything of it at that time. The front desk had a remote for me, so I headed back to clean myself up. My aunt was scheduled to meet up with me in the morning at the trial site, but for tonight I was alone…so I elected to go to Panera for a salad and to use their WiFi to catch up on email. The dogs and I later fell off to sleep peacefully with the TV on to drown out the noises on the street 🙂
Back at the site with the running order the same as the day before. Today brought more entries, but still no more than ten-twelve 24″ dogs and about twenty 20″ dogs. I moved Miles up to Exc. A FAST for today and planned a fun course that incorporated the aframe before the send. He had a fun time running around and did a perfect aframe. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before the send, so I just ran into the box with him to keep it fun. Another whacked out video 😦
I came up with a better plan for Rue’s Open FAST run, but also wanted to do her dogwalk a couple of times just to keep it fun for both of us and get some good practice in on a foreign dw. Today she launched her frame (bad approach and she scrambled on the up side) and also launched her dw on the first attempt, but then had a beautiful hit on the way back. She decided to visit a ring steward after her miss on the dw…hmmm. Was this a pressure release for her since she knew she did it wrong? Unfortunately, we also ran out of time but on the 2nd obstacle of the send. I really think we could have gotten it if we had the time. Silly monkey.
The Std course looked pretty good with only one hairy section at the end. By now my aunt had gotten there and I spent some time teaching her the rules of agility. We watched the small dogs run and dog after dog NQ’d. I obsessed about FC/RC at the hairy section and in the end decided to go with a front. The way the course was set up, however, it was nearly impossible to give early cues that a turn was coming and every single dog/handler that did the FC there, it was late. Some dogs recovered and some didn’t. Unfortunately with the rear, most folks got stuck behind the wing and couldn’t support the next jump. So I planned to bust it up there to then show decel and rotate my shoulders into him. He read the turn, but it was definitely late. Otherwise the run was great and Miles was 1 of 10 dogs to qualify! This earned us MX leg #8, 1st place, and 32 points! 3.9yps…not sure where we lost time except I did have to call him off a jump before the weaves 😦
The JWW course today looked wretched. We were again faced with several sections that made it difficult to show correct motion. Furthermore there were only like 11 obstacles on course, but it was a “20 obstacle course”…we went over several jumps twice and one jump three times! Lord that’s sure to make me dizzy! With a QQ on the line I debated about playing it safe with Miles or continuing to push for speed. With it being small-tall I figured I’d experiment with Rue and then decide what to do with him. There was again a serpentine that needed to be taken back-to-back in both directions, bleh.
At some point several hours before this run, Rue had very loose stool. She was still acting fine and I figured it was due to all the treats she’d been getting both at camp and at the trial and didn’t worry about it. Well I knew going into this run that I didn’t have a dog. She didn’t seem to get excited about her treats before the run and just didn’t have that “sparkle”. I warmed her up and headed in the ring. She was slow of the start and did the serp, but when I went to go back in the other direction, she went to visit the judge. I got her back, but she just didn’t seem to be into it. Poor girl walked in her weave poles. I eventually go a little burst of speed at the end and left the ring to celebrate. She happily ate her turkey babyfood reward and then went back to the tent area and tugged vigorously with me. Hmmm, was she just demotivated? Hot? Or not feeling well? She hadn’t had any more loose stool, but I was concerned. I put her in her crate and gave her a piece of cheddar cheese.
I still didn’t have a plan for Miles when I walked to the line with him. He was happy to play, but I was just not there for him. Due to my indecision, I had to call him off several times and he ultimately knocked a bar 😦 Ick, I hate running like that for him. This was only a 4.6yps run, bleh.
As we were breaking down our tent for the night (again being in the middle of a city park, I didn’t want to leave stuff overnight) Rue vomited in her crate. Of course she tried to eat it right away, but I pulled her out and asked my aunt if she would mind walking her around a bit to see if she needed to do anything else while I attempted to clean up the soupy mess in her crate. Another friend of mine brought me some Carafate to settle her stomach, but I elected to watch her before just popping meds in her. Interestingly as I was cleaning her crate, I noticed that she never did eat that piece of cheese I had put in there hours ago. Odd…she loves that cheese.
Once we got back to the hotel, she vomited one more time then seemed to just want to sleep. Also by now the bites that were just on my left hand were now on both hands as well as my ears and nose. I had several folks insist that they were bed bug bites (ew) and suggested that I tell the hotel staff. So off I went again to the front desk, but this time to inform them of a possible infestation in my room. They were horrified and agreed to give me a free night’s stay, but since they were booked they couldn’t move me to a new room. She said she’d send maintenance down to spray and bring me new bedding…fantastic. So I waited for 30-45 minutes for maintenance to show up. He showed me the spray which looked benign enough (just mint oil really). I asked him if he could give me an hour to shower and get out of the room before doing anything, which he agreed to. My aunt came by a little later so we could go to dinner. At that point Rue was still spunky and had only vomited those two times. I gave her a bit of water and we headed to dinner. I brought the dogs with me so that I could check on Rue from time to time since I had given her the water. Well she must have thrown up about 4 times in her crate while we had dinner. I checked on her every 10-15 minutes and there was a new puddle of slime each time. Once we got back to the motel, she just wanted to sleep in the bathroom. She vomited 5-6 more times…just bits of water…and then seemed to settle down. I debated about bringing her to the emergency vet, but we both agreed that she seemed to be settled down and it had been a couple of hours since she last vomited, so I brought her in the bed with me and woke up every hour or so to check on her.
Rue rested peacefully throughout the night until sometime between 5 and 6am when she must’ve gotten up to drink out of the toilet and then vomited. I woke up to find her laying in her vomit and knew that I needed to get her seen immediately. I took the dogs out and she had very liquid stool and vomited again 😦
At the emergency vet, they said she was very depressed and dehydrated, but tested negative for pancreatitis, pyometra, or obstruction. They wanted to keep her overnight on fluids and meds. They urged me to go to the trial with Miles that there was nothing else I could do for Rue at that point. She just needed to rest and rehydrate. Ugh, I was so scared.
By the time I got to the trial, the big dogs were already running Std. I hoped that the judge would allow me to walk the course and run at the top of the small dogs. She oblidged and I proceded to walk the course. It was another course with several traps where it was difficult to show proper motion and difficult to find motivating. There were also several discrimination spots that all required pulling the dog which is a weak skill for us. I found a decent plan and set out to execute it. I did notice that the grass was still very wet and made a note to handle more conservatively for this course. The beginning went great. I did a lead out push to the teeter and then pulled to the close end of the tunnel which he read seemlesly. He got up out of his sit on the table, but fairly quickly resumed his position. I think I was trying to overhandle the frame and showed too much forward motion so he read the turn late and slipped in the wet grass and then took a bar. The picture of this is horrifying as he’s taking it down with his chin…I shudder to think what would have happened if that were a tire. I think this shook him up a bit as he just wasn’t the same for the rest of the course. I was proud of him reading the turn out of the chute, but my rear wasn’t good and I had to call him off the tunnel to make the 180 soft side weave entry. He must have seen something in the poles as he popped out around the 8th pole. We finished strong with another fantastic pull into the close tunnel hole 🙂
JWW immediately followed Std today and I was anxious to get done so I could go check on Rue. I went ahead and made a reservation at a Homewood Suites nearby just in case I did have to spend the night….I wanted to decrease my chances of more bed bugs. As I was walking the JWW course, my friend who had given me the meds yesterday came over and told me that she had seen Rue at the vet and that she was wagging her tail for her. Apparently she’s good friends with the vet tech and had just dropped by to say hello before coming to the trial. She smartly blew off Std figuring the grass would be too slippery…uhm yeah. I was elated to hear that she had perked up for her! Today’s JWW course was even more evil than Saturday’s course with lot’s of spinning in circles. I was obviously not focused on my run and hap hazardly walked the course. Poor Miles has to put up with so much crap from me 😦 Somehow we muddled our way through it and I had to call him off several things…not sure if that was my poor handling or just another reflection of the types of courses we had. Somehow we managed to pull out a Q and a 1st place (funny as there were only about 6 dogs to qualify in all of Excellent). Of course when you take 1st place and get double points, it’s pretty sad when the doubled points are only 8!! Poor man, I was so sucky. I even audibly apologized to him on course which did draw some laughs 🙂 Oh and I was told that they moved an EZ up tent within the ring during my entire run…that could have been another reason we weren’t communicating well as M’s very nervous about that type of thing. In any case, this did earn us MXJ leg #9, so something to be proud of anyway!
After this run, my friend took me and my aunt to the vet to see Rue around noon. She was definitely perkier, but still not all that interested in doing anything but lay down and be adored. The tech said though that if she continued to improve this way, I should be able to get on the road that night, yeah! So with that as a goal, my aunt and I went back to the trial site to break down and then headed downtown to City Market. It was 2pm by the time we got there and neither of us had eaten anything yet. We settled on pizza outside at Vinny Van Go Gos. Miles enjoyed lounging out with us and chewing a bone while we filled our empty tummies. By 4pm I was back at the vet’s office to check on Miss Rue. As soon as I said her name she jumped to her feet and whapped her tail. I took her out and she jumped on me and wanted to play. The vet conceded that if she were to keep some food down for an hour that we could be on our way. So I sent my poor aunt home and waited in the lobby with the hope that I’d be on the road by 6pm. With luck on my side, she held down the food and was discharged to me with strict instructions on meds and when to feed. I happily cancelled my hotel reservation and set out to make the long drive back to NC. Thank goodness that was over! I spent most of the drive looking back at my two beautiful goldens curled up together in my back seat and thinking how lucky I am to have them in my life.