36.65 seconds of perfect connection

Chico and I are just home from two days at the USDAA New England Regionals where we had a blast. While the teams competing there at the top level are trying to get to Cynosport, the USDAA Nationals, there is room and time for those of us at the Starters or Advanced level too. I figured it was a huge event and if we could go and keep our wits about us, it would be a major victory. I’d say we did, and it was.

The first run on Saturday, Gamblers, was good, except we didn’t get the gamble part (that’s where your dog has to do his or her part at a distance while the human stays behind a certain line) and Chico couldn’t do the weave poles. The rules are funny (to me) and we won our class, even though we didn’t qualify, because we got enough points in the opening. The second run on Saturday was good but not qualifying, no details stick in my head except that the weave poles presented a problem and the rest was pretty OK.

Today, our first run was Standard, and it was perfect…except Chico didn’t quite get the weave poles right – he skipped the last one. I could have gone back and tried again, but decided not to. He can weave like nobody’s business if he wants to, and pressuring him at a trial doesn’t feel right.

Our second run this afternoon, Jumpers, was magic. We were connected every fraction of every second. I could see the dog, the jumps, the judge. I was right where I wanted to be when I needed to be there to execute my plan. Chico moved, it seemed, slowly enough that I could get ahead of him when I needed to. In USDAA Jumpers there are no weave poles, nothing to slow Chico down. It was amazing, it seemed to last forever, with each second expanding into many. I had to look twice at our results to believe that it only took 36.65 of the allowed 42 seconds for us to complete the course.

And I have no video to share, nothing to show but a couple of ribbons and a check mark in my chart of Chico’s qualifying runs*. Of course, that’s only because one can’t show the feeling of accomplishment or the magic of being so tuned-in to another being, even just for a few seconds at a time.

*A chart that I keep only so I will be able to remember what level to sign up for in each of the four games I play in two organizations – a total of eight.

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