Saturday, February 20, 2010


Conor finished his RAE today in grand style. To earn the RAE (Rally Advanced Excellent), you must earn qualifying scores in both Advanced and Excellent on the same day, at 10 different shows. It takes a long time! Of course we had to have a great story behind his last leg. The weather at the beginning of the week was calling for a slight chance of rain - like 10%. It was a weak storm, so the chances of rain were slim. By Friday morning though, they were saying perhaps a 30% chance of rain, but even if it did rain, it wouldn't be much. Well, not sure what they were predicting on the news, but at the show site it was 100%. Ugh. Actually the morning started out beautiful - I just set out my chair and Conor's crate - I figured I was only going to be there for 2 runs on Saturday - I didn't see the need to set up my tent. But by the time the Excellent class had ended, it had started to sprinkle. And then by the time the Advanced class started, it was pouring. Thankfully the gal set up next to me let me hang out under her tent. It was so incredibly cold and we were all drenched. One by one, dogs were dropping - they were either running out of the ring or just wouldn't work. Conor was the last dog in the line up. It was absolutely pouring, and I had NO idea how he was going to handle it. But he's such a trooper and did everything absolutely perfect. It was incredible. We ended up with a perfect score of 100, 1st Place and our RAE title. Yay!!! What a way to end.

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Kaylie - The True Wonder Dog

At our last DOCNA (Dogs on Course in North America) agility trial in Prescott, Kaylie did fantastic! We are trying to be the first team to earn the MEX (Merit of Excellence) who started in the Beginner level. We are getting VERY close. All the other teams that have earned the MEX were grandfathered in at higher levels. Kaylie was just starting her agility career when DOCNA was created, so we had no choice but to start at the beginning. And as it is, I believe there are under 20 teams that have even earned the MEX to this point.

Well, going into the trial at Prescott, we needed 2 Specialist Gamblers legs and 2 Specialist Standard legs. In DOCNA, there are two types of Gamblers runs -- Traditional and Strategic Timed Gamblers. Unfortunately, we have only earned 3 Traditional Gamblers legs -- one from the Beginner class, one from the Intern class and one from the Specialist class. All the other Gamblers legs have come from the Strategic Time Gamblers. So, I knew going in that the chance of getting that Traditional Gamblers leg on Saturday was slim. We walked into the ring, and I knew Kaylie was on fire and ready to go. The Gamblers class is usually the first class of the trial, and Kaylie is usually absolutely wild in the first run. Well, this was no different. She was incredibly fast, and I was not -- I kept getting in her way, and things just fell apart. At 30 seconds, the buzzer rang, which meant I had to get to the gamble portion of the course. I sent her over the jump to the tunnel -- she took the wrong end of the tunnel, then came right back to me over the wrong jump and that was the end of that. No MEX for us this weekend. BUT, she did qualify in the two Standard runs she needed, getting First place both times, and she got her Strategic Timed Gamblers leg on Sunday, earning a Second place. Wooo hooo Kaylie!!! Out of 10 runs over the weekend, we qualified in 8 of them, placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in all but one run -- our Jumpers run on Sunday. I got lost on the course and just got confused. Luckily, Kaylie can read the numbers on the cones (that's the only explanation I can come up with) because she ran the right course despite my mess ups! Hence the name "Wonder Dog." So we still Q'd, but got 6th place. Still, not too bad!!

So, our next DOCNA trial will be in Pinetop the end of August. Hopefully we'll get our MEX there! Just one Gambler leg to go.