02 September 2013
USDAA Western Regional, Day 4 Reportage-Survival.
Here is our podium shot. We didn't win a damn thing. But I'm still smiling. Because I know that hat makes me look totally hot. And because we survived. We had a terrible, horrendous, worst ever weekend performance-wise, and we are all still standing. No dogs keeled over, no handlers cried, we just moved on and took it for what it was.
I'm not even sure what it was still. I am reeling from the carnage that me and Gustavo survived this weekend.
I wouldn't trade any of my dogs for the world. But I think in terms of agility, we may be on the three strikes and you're out plan. I am pretty sure that Gustavo spent the whole weekend, pleading with me via psychic brain waves, saying "Don't make think in dog shows! NO TEETERS! NO WEAVES! IN DOG SHOWS!"
This might just look like your basic poor handling on a mediocre run, ending with teeter totter disaster. But the dog I was running in there felt like a feral husk of my little dog Gustavo. By the end of the weekend, there was no Gustavo. His little husk dried out and he almost blew away in the breeze. I saved him by letting him end his weekend with a nice, easy, jumpers run, and then calling it a day. I scratched the Grand Prix final. Running him in that would have felt abusive. I picked survival.
His training is sub-par, he is sick, and he almost perishes when he has to deal with any bit of bad handling on my part. He is not a resilient little guy. I need to think longer and harder, than the normal long and hard I do, about what his agility career can be. If you have only seen super Gustavo, you would have been shocked and horrified by what you saw this weekend. If you have only seen sad, feral husk of Gustavo at the dog show, you wouldn't believe how amazing he can be in training.
We have never had a happier walk than when I got everybody to the field on the bluff, late Monday evening, and they ran around in the brush while the sun was getting ready to set. Something we are all good at, where nobody got scared or sad or had to do anything they didn't want to do. Life goes on, after a bad dog show.
by team small dog at 8:23 PM