25 April 2011

On un-doing curses.

So I was at a dog show this weekend. Pretty much a dog show like all the others. Get up at dark o'clock and blast Pink Floyd in the dark car, drinking coffee the whole way to get there in time to make sure the trash cans are all lined up in a row. Something about my new car makes me want to listen to classic rock. Of the heavy metal variety. And Elton John. It's super weird. But I'm just going with it.

My new car has fancy speakers that I can turn all the way up to the front so the dogs don't have to have the Pink Floyd. You know how it can get weird and squirmy sounding, and super loud? We do that in the front of the car so the dogs can have less squirming in the back.

In case you were worried about Otterpop and Pink Floyd, together.

Pretty much all day, dog show dog show dog show. Some runs good, some runs ok. Gustavo did a table, many perfect weave poles, picked up a superQ, had a huge meltdown in jumpers, did a blatant, feral blind cross behind me to go in a tunnel. Otterpop had some fast startlines, a slow one where she had a sticker in her foot, missed a dogwalk contact, didn't get the gamble.

Need I go on? Not really a bad day, just one of those days where we're still not running like champions. Not running crappy, but just not like the champions like we've been trying to be.

Something is still lost in the translation from practice to perfect. It is probably in the same place I always put my car keys every night. And my sunglasses. The mysterious void of I don't know where and somebody with excellent finding skills is going to unlose it.

We were going to try AGAIN at getting Otterpop's long lost pairs run. My non dog agility friends, this is a class where you run with a friend and you take turns carrying the stick around and running just half a course then handing your friend the stick and capturing your dog before it chases the other dog around.

It's sort of dumb.

And because I think things like that, I was struck down with a curse that started years ago, when every single one of my partners in Masters Pairs got an E. Like ran off course. On a course with only like 8 things. No pairs Q's for her since 2008.

2008. George Bush was president, and I liked that movie where Daniel Day Lewis freaks out about drinking the milkshakes while he's flopping around on the floor of the mansion's bowling alley. Timmy Best Dog died. And Otterpop got her last pairs Q. I took a break from pairs somewhere just because. And then somewhere along the line, either me or USDAA lost one. And when I started to run it again so she could finish her ADCh, Otterpop started cursing all her partners into E'ing. Elimination. Electrocution. Ebola. EEEEEEEE.

The problem with pairs, your friend goes off course, you're drug along down with them. Usually it's no big deal, but it does start to get weird when you do the math and realize, OMG. All these good handlers who never E, they E when they run with Otterpop.

So this weekend, one more try. Poor Otterpop. She doesn't like to jump 12". It's too high for a stumpy dog with a hinky leg. This time we were going to try it with my friend Ashley and his dog Luka. They are known to be very fast (long legs) and quite consistent (excellent barking). If Ashley received a Q on this run, he would get a Platinum ADCh, which is like the fancy Championship thing I wanted for Otterpop except his needed something like a million Q's.

Ashley is a lot better than I am at running like a champion.

So off we went. Our pressures were on. The course was a bit tricky. Otterpop's bit didn't look too bad aside from the gnarly turn on to the teeter totter, Luka's bit had a very tricky turn into the weave poles. We watched a lot of dogs wipe out on it before our turn.

Otterpop actually enjoys pairs, because the handler carries a swimstick. It's really a plastic baton, but long ago I told her it was a swim stick and she still believes me, even though no pairs run has ever ended with the stick thrown into the river. Off she went, right to the ugly turn onto the teeter, nailed the tunnel discrimination, a turn here and there, and ran to the end. I handed off the stick to Ashley, and off they went. Blasted off the startline. Right towards the off course jump.

I couldn't watch. Shut my eyes hard and just thought, The Curse. Now we've done it. We've cursed Luka. The last thing I saw was arm flailing and I could hear LUKA LUKA LUKA and I knew that was it. Another partner, back in time to 2008.

The crowd was going wild. No way was I going to even peek. Just standing there on the grass like a moron, one hand holding onto my dog and one hand slapped across my forehead.

But when I opened up my eyes, and there they were. They made it.

So now, maybe I'm not a champion, but Otterpop is. Congratulations to ADCh Otterpop. Otterpop doesn't care a lick. But I do. And Congratulations to Platinum ADCh Luka. And a big thank you to Ashley, I dunno what he did to get her into those weave poles, but whatever it did, it worked.

So, the next day I ran Championship pairs one last time with JD and Tantrum. Just to check and see. You know. If the curse was still there.

We Q'ed. Easy. No problem, JD and Tantrum sailed through without a bobble.

Life is weird. Like Elton John sang, "Levon sells cartoon balloons in town. His family business thrives. Jesus blows up balloons all day."

Like, what are you trying to SAY, Elton John, in your classic rock voice? Will we ever know?

What I do know, Otterpop never has to jump another 12" jump again.


Chris and Ricky said...

Congratulations ADCh Otterpop!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness your "powers that be" can't override Ashley's "powers that be", just barely!! Congrats on earning that ADCH for Otterpop, now you can really keep telling her she's a champion and yourself too! Enjoy the moment, you earned it!

Beth & Lexi

Amy Carlson said...

BIG congrats!!! That's just awesome!! I've been there. My going blind, now one eyed dog needed ONE more pairs at 16". If we didn't get it soon she would be too blind. I swear we got it at the very last chance she had. No more time left for here eyes and we got it, but for years our pairs partners would NQ. And these were VERY experienced teammates. Glad your curse is busted! :D

HurricaneDeck said...

Huge congrats from the Rat Terriers!

Ruby Rose and the Big Little Angels 3 said...

Congratulations Otterpop. You are a true champion. As for Jesus, he blows up balloons all day, but he doesn't give them to his father, he sits on the porch swing letting them fly away, to somewhere, like Venus, while his father slowly dies. Levon was named after Levon Helm, the drummer for the Band, who was a big influence on Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Taupin says Alvin Tostig is fictional but could be an inside joke.

Debbie said...

Woo hoo!!!! Congrats from the short dogs in WV!


team small dog said...

Foley Monster and Pocket, do you know where my car keys are?

Anonymous said...

I listened to this (http://youtu.be/yaKkFz7G6rk) throughout this entire post. I went and found it when you mentioned Pink Floyd, then clicked "play" and then read your post.
And the song ended when the post did, and it was perfect.

Like poetry.

GREAT job Otterpop!
We think Pairs is dumb two. TWO teams paying the full fair to ride 1/2 a ride. DUMB.

Jodi, eh? said...

Leave it to the long legged champion Ashley and Luka to help Otterpop break the pairs curse. Are you converted yet or did you wear capris?
Mazel Tov!

Anonymous said...

WOOO HOOOO ADCh Otterpop!!! Congratulations!

Nancy Gyes said...

I know what you mean about the pairs curse. Long ago when I tried to finish Toaster Man's ADCh with three missing pairs legs of all things, I had the audacity to complain about my pairs partners who never ran clean. From that moment on I myself could never run clean in pairs for well over a year of trying. The agility gods gave up after a year of punishment and let me win his title finally. Toast is in heaven now but I am sure he is celebrating Otterpop's ADCh!!!!!!I think we must be going to have a party tomorrow night?

Congrats:) Nancy G

maryclover said...

Yipee Ki Aye!!! Congratulations!! Funny how Otterpop knew all along she was a champion, but only by closing your eyes and clicking your heels together (you did click your heels together didn't you?) did you find out what she already knew. What a team. Congrats again!

Amanda said...

My jaw hit the floor when I saw the picture. And then I clapped and cheered right there at the computer.

Yaaaaay ADCh Otterpop! You did it!! Congratulations! She should get the world's biggest swimstick as a reward. And some Mexican food.

team small dog said...

Nancy, I asked Otterpop what we should have for a party and I think she said gum, Fresca and worms.

I will try to stop at the store on the way to class and get something that isn't that but no one tell Otterpop.

team small dog said...

Thanks everyone! And righteous soundtrack!

Jodi, I think the pants I wore are classified as knickers. But they are slim fit, hopefully quite leg lengthening. I did wear long pants with an addidas stripe down the leg the next day, and in Grand Prix Otterpop had such a fast bark start that I got caught off guard and didn't fast run fast enough resulting in a drive-by refusal first jump. Such is life.

Elf said...

Congratulations AGAIN! Years ago, bay team used to charge half price for entering pairs, and then if I recall correctly, USDAA said stop that, you have to charge full price, each dog gets a full Q, not half a Q. It's still dumb.

andrea said...


Anonymous said...

Otterpop is beautiful in her giant ribbon. Big Congratulations!!

tundrah said...

love it. many, many hoorays to Otterpop. And you too.

OBay Shelties said...

I may need to buy another shirt now! ;-)

Celeste said...

Live for today!!!
Congratulations ADCh Otterpop!
You too, LH!
Celeste, Keeper & Riff

Cedarfield said...

Congratulations to you and Otterpop! I love that the ribbon is bigger than she is!