17 March 2008

You say Madera, I say Near Fresno.

So you have been wondering, all weekend I know, how did Team Small Dog fare at the dog agility show in Madera? Was Super 8 Motel really 2 better than Motel 6? Would there be zombies, or even worse, race car noises there? And perhaps you also recalled, that Hobbes, super coolest border collie of the world, was needing only 1 little Q in Masters Standard to finish his Lifetime Achievement Platinum. Only the highest award in USDAA, only 500 Q's. And you remember that Hobbes is not my dog, I am just his stalker. His actual owner and dog Trainer, he got most of those 500. But that maybe it was going to be my job again to get that last Q, or to not. Or maybe you were just wondering about whether or not to have a momosa with your fried eggs instead of just boring old juice. And you know I brought champagne for just in case of the LAA Platinum actually occurring this time.

First of all. Madera used to be this rural country fairground, with trees and fields, and a giant car racing track next door. Now the directions to get there are drive through Los Banos where there are millions of crappy new tract houses built ready to be foreclosed on, drive to near Fresno, turn at Walmart, drive through the construction for more Walmarts and houses to foreclose, then there is a little grass and tree patch there where you can have a dog show. Our rural California ag lands are turning so wrong and make me want to cry and anguish what do we ALL NEED at Walmarts and their gazillion minions?

So. Are you wondering more about Hobbes or the small dogs? I suspected as much. OK. Here's how the 26" Masters Standard went down. It is my theory, being a bad dog trainer, that Hobbes's intelligence is so superior to mine that he sees the table when he's waiting for his turn, and decides to knock a bar before the table, does a nice down on it, and then sometimes gets run out of the ring for some chicken since he already has 5 faults and he did a nice table so give him a prize. Um, did I mention that Hobbes has this neurosis about the table? He may be perfect and I love him like a stalker should, but he has some idiosyncracies.

Rob already thinks I am nuts, so he just says, do whatever the hell will get him to go clean. Also he has been working hard on his jumping skills recently, since he is a good dog trainer and not reliant on voodoo and hair brained theories about the mind of the genius species border collie. But at this point, I have been dragging champagne around for a while and let's just get that Q. So I don't let him see the ring until it's his turn.

So he is going around and he has not hit a bar. I am like not saying a word since I am one of those calling over bar types. You know I have the only 12" dog that hits bars on a regular basis. Today included. He is getting the contacts. Everything is lovely. He gets on the table. And he does the thing. Hobbes you almost broke my heart right there, your favorite stalker, I take you on walks and let you play with rocks and cigarette butts and twigs. He just stands there staring at me. So all I can think of to do is slowly lower myself down staring into his eyes, down to my knees, using all my psychic abilities that I don't have but just trying to be all Amazing Kreskin like and levitate his standing up self into a down.

He does it. We finish. It's clean. Hooray for Hobbes and Rob on their biggest, hugest award you can get! I am proud to be a teensy part of it.

OK. So moving on. Next dog. Ruby, you were on fire. You were awesome. But you hit some bars and that cost us some Q's. And a refusal at the poles based on your personal neurosis/nemesis in Masters Standard (but thanks for an awesome table and no bars in there!). But aside from 2 bars and that pole moment, she ran better than she has in a while, and her jumpers, where of course, according to my custom, it was the LAST BAR, was just wonderful and fun and fast and I even was DEAD QUIET over every bar but you just had to throw that in there because you keep me honest and ADCh free.

My friend Otterpop. You blew me away with your FAST snookers run. And then, at the very end, in the closing 7 bit, I sent you in a contraband tunnel. But I was so proud of you and your maturity level and non paranoia! I thought, wow! She has turned over a new leaf! All our practice. And confidence building. I have become a good dog trainer! And then it was her turn for standard. And in she went, and over a bunch of stuff, doing allright, and into the poles. Where the judge happened to be standing. And Otterpop, she of poles I am actually Super Proud Of, looks at the judge harder and harder every pole until she pops out at 10, runs to the judge and barks in her face. And the judge looks at me, VERY STINK EYE, and says, "You are excused." You are thinking, oh, a starters dog. No. Otterpop is in masters. Yep.

Shamed. I was shamed. I picked her up, didn't say a word, marched her in my arms to the car and left her there. Until Jumpers, where she had a great, fast, lovely and smooth run and not a bobble or eyeball on the judge and there you go. But. I. Was. Shamed. A scarlet B pinned upon my breast for BADLY. BEHAVED. BARKER. BUTTHEAD.

Moving quickly on. Gustavo. I am very proud of us both. Me that I finally devised a way to keep you in the xpen with everyone and no more escaping ever. You that you stayed in the pen and were of course charming and well behaved every time you got to go hang out. Had I actually watched the whole DVD of Crate Games instead of drinking margaritas, this would of course not be an issue that he wants to escape whenever I run a dog. I have the Crate Games-esque Lite version of Puppy Rocket Launcher Pod I used to do with him to teach him to jump and go out to stuff, launching him to and from his crate on the agility field. But because of margaritas and short attention span of myself, he does not stay put in jail all by himself unless it involves a lid and clamps and such. Sorry dogs that you are in jail so much of the day but you kind of don't seem to mind.

And then we drove home into the wind. Oh, I had a medicore, bar hitting Steeplechase finals with Hobbes, probably won Rob enough money for a couple gallons of gas, but it's ok I guess. He has a Prius. And a LAA Platinum.


Anonymous said...

Just the kind of heart-warming story of agility adventures I needed this kind of depressing Monday morning of There Will Be Tickets! (I dreamed all night that my finger hurt--it doesn't, but it was a very disturbing dream: watching too much In Treatment no doubt. Does this mean I'm afraid of losing one? But I don't have one!) You made me laugh, you made me cry. Thanks Team Small Dog! And congratulations all around man and beast. I mean woman, man, and beast.

Elf said...

OK, I've been wanting to ask for the longest time--how do you do your photography? Do you set up a camcorder and videotape yourself and then pick select shots from the video? It seems like that would be so much work but you always have these perfect action shots, even of you out walking the dogs in random santa cruz parkage. Do you have a secret photographer admirer stalker who, like, lies down on the ground in front of the dogs' x-pen to get the perfect angle looking upward that I'd never have thought of, of you grinning in front of the dogs? Or do you somehow get that dang camera to stay in that position by yourself and get the shot composed without being able to look through the viewfinder? Your fans want to know all!

team small dog said...

It is very high tech. Taking photos like Laura. First, I borrow my dad's camera. It has a magic 10 second timer! So lay the camera on a bbq or couch or fence or dog agility table or dirt and look through it to find the shot. Then put on the timer and run and lay down and pretend you thinking a thought using acting to make a dramatic expression like Oprah would do. Or Courtney Love. Or Heidi Klum. I learned how to do this watching America's Next Top Model. Then do this a bunch of times in case it doesn't work.

As far as I know, I don't have a stalker admirer, probably because I am already a dog stalker. But like the photos at the beach my husband took because we went out to breakfast. And there is one of me in this post about Hobbes just standing there that someone at ringside grabbed my camera and took to document the devil shirt. But usually I just stick the camera on something, find the shot, and hit the timer button like a million times. The dogs are used to this. They are better at camera posing than agility maybe.

When my dad wants the camera back, then I use the webcam in my laptop and drag my computer around and take a picture with it, or my friend Laurel's camera, which is small and silver and she gave it to me when my small silver camera broke. Thanks Laurel! But my dad's camera is the best-thanks Dad!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous! I am raising a toast to the Hobbes special award right now! (gin & tonic of course) Love the agility coverage.

As for the farmland disappearing...ain't that depressing? Bike races follow dog agility shows (Madera's in April), and the crap that's covering once beautiful orchards is heart-breaking.

On the other hand, if you end up in Merced, there's a super yummy Indian restaurant. The owners are from England...it's a must!


Anonymous said...

Laura, you also deserve congrats. It was your table down mojo that worked with Hobbes (the devil shirt didn't hurt either).

Enjoy your blog.


Urban Smoothie Read said...

my dog bark at the judge too....

no big deal..

we'll be back again, next trial...LoL...