[Note: I just discovered that I never published this, so here it is.] The Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern California hosted an agility trial in Sacramento on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of March. I entered Chico in Standard and Jumpers on Sunday. The trial secretary said we didn’t need to be there until noon, so I was able to take my time in the morning. Then, on the way to the trial, my GPS stopped talking to me. I was able to find my way, but it took a bit longer, so I was not there and parked until about 12:30. Standard was first, and there were no course maps left, and I couldn’t seem find the place where the maps were posted. And it was time to walk the course anyhow. So, I walked the course like I do at class or run thrus – find each number in order and then figure out how you’re going to lead your dog from one obstacle to the next in correct order. After all, they give you eight minutes.
I’ve let Chico develop a bad habit at class – before we get down to work, I let him just run around and take whatever obstacle he wants. So now in trials, he often doesn’t listen to me until halfway through the first run. That happened in our Standard run and we didn’t have a qualifying run. Oh well. What’s for lunch?
There was a horse show going on on the same grounds and the word was that the food truck up there served great food. So, I went and stood in line. It was a slow line. A really slow line. At a certain point I decided I had been standing there for a long time without ordering and I better go back and see if it was time to walk for Jumpers. It wasn’t. That time had passed about ten or fifteen minutes before and they had run all the dogs jumping at 24 inches and were on to the 20 inch dogs, who immediately precede Chico’s class, the 16 inch jumping dogs. Oops. Bummer dude. I watched a couple other dogs and it looked like their handlers were using a plan pretty similar to mine, so I figured I’d just go with what I had decided and hope for the best.
It was not graceful, it did not flow. No one got hurt, Chico listened to my every direction and we had a clean, if ugly, run. Perfect score, qualifying ribbon, a blue ribbon because of the five dogs in the class we were the only ones to qualify, and a new title.
A post-trial ritual is to find some vanilla ice cream or a burger for Chico. I pulled into a gas station around Dixon, and they had a great selection of ice cream and/or fruit bars from Mexico.
On Monday, we went to San Francisco for a meeting. I had been assured that Chico was welcome at the office we were going to, but I had to do a little fancy talking to get him through the lobby.
We spent the afternoon and evening with my brother and his partner and some other relatives. It was fun, with lots of good conversation, and Emily made my favorite dish, her Ma Po Tofu. I replaced my phone since I was eligible for an upgrade and neither I or the folks at the phone store could figure out how to make my phone’s GPS start talking again. Navigating strange cities without someone to “read the map” for me now seems so challenging as to be no fun. Hooked by technology.