Because Simon blew it yesterday and ran out of the ring, I was in the same predicament as the day before: Two dogs in the same class, with only two or three dogs in between.
The course is very confusing, switching back and forth all over the place. I walk it until they kick us out, I am so confused. And to make things MUCH scarier, guess what? Our favorite station. The much-dreaded offset figure eight.
For those who don't know, this is a figure eight around pylons. Which, in and of itself would be no problem at all. But in Rally, on either side of the pylons, they place either two bowls of food, or stuffed toys. I am VERY concerned. VERY concerned. I hope it's just toys and not food. Then I hear the judge say, "Oh wait, I have to go get some food to put in the bowl."
Inside my head, it sounds like the theme music from Psycho. I am freaking out. This does not bode well for us. I ask the judge, "Um, what if they, like, try to get the food? Because, you know, I have a Lab..." She is very sweet and assures me that it will just be a deduction, unless I completely lose control and can't get him back. I am only somehwat comforted. :-\ She tells me to be sure and keep his attention through there. I'll try!
So, the time comes to get Angus out and start warming him up. I made the mistake I had so carefully tried to avoid yesterday, and I got Angus out too early, three dogs before he was to go in. About a dog and a half into it I start kicking myself, but I can't go put him back in his crate and get him BACK out again in that short a time, so I have to live with my mistake and do my best to keep him entertained.
Again, though, he is warming up very well, and I have a glimmer of hope. Maybe. Maybe.
They call our number and in we go. We walk up to the start, I say "Ready," and we approach the first station.
Before we could do anything at the first station, Angus' ears perk up and his head goes up, and THERE HE GOES! He butt-tucks FULL SPEED across the ring to the Offset Figure Eight station and picks up...the fuzzy toy! Yes, this judge had the OF8 fully loaded. Treats on one side, toys on the other. I thought the food was going to be the problem, but he spotted that fuzzy toy from a ring-length away.
I am standing there running through my options in my head. You know how your mind just RACES. Angus has the fuzzy toy, and OH BOY, is he ever happy about it. His eyes are rolled back in his head and he is in a state of complete bliss, still butt-tucking for all he is worth. I look up at the judge with the question on my face "Um, so what about this?" She smiles and I think I see her eyes encouraging me to go on, so I planted my feet, set my jaw and gave it the college try: "ANGUS! LEAVE IT!" It should have been "DROP IT," but I just said the first thing that came to mind.
To my complete amazement, he drops the toy on the spot. "ANGUS! GET IN!" He comes running over and does a beautiful flip-finish, landing in perfect heel position.
I am just floored. I cannot BELIEVE he came back! We do the first station, and he does it in perfect form. But then, we have a jump. And after the jump, guess what we still haven't done? The Offset Figure Eight. Yes, we have to go BACK past this fuzzy toy THREE TIMES during this course.
I know the only prayer I have is to really be all about attention, and deadly serious about it. My voice got deeper, in the "You better do this or it's your ass" tone. He went over the jump, and in mid-air I told him to "HEEL." He got back in. OK, if we can just make it through the OF8. I really don't think we have a chance in hell, but I put my face down on the same level with his and we went through the whole thing with me saying, "WATCH. WATCH. LEAVE IT. WATCH. LEAVE IT. WATCH. WATCH." Seriously. I had to talk the entire way through. But do you know what? He did it. And not only did he do it, he did it perfectly, with head up the whole way.
He aced the rest of the course. He was beautiful. Poetry. When Angus is on, I have always said, he is really something to behold. I look back at the judge on the way out - I have no idea what kind of penalty his little monkey show incurred - but she is reassuring: "You did fine! And you said he was going to go for those bowls!"
I get him to his crate and get Mr. Simon out.
He's better than yesterday, but still pretty distracted by the new place. Honestly, I was still so shaken by Angus that I don't remember much about Simon at all. Kevin said he jumped straight up in the air about four times. I was just trying like hell to keep him with me. I mean, I was working HARD. VERY HARD. VERY VERY HARD. I came out of there feeling like, "OMG, please, I just want to go home!"
Kevin had gone to another part of the building to watch from afar, but as soon as I finished with Simon he came running over: "OH MY GOSH! CONNIE! That was the most incredible dog-wrangling I have EVER SEEN!" He gave me a huge hug.
I went and checked the scores. Both boys got a 97! They tied for second and third! ;D
Angus ended up taking second, for being a little faster than Simon Even with Angus' butt-tuck sideshow, he was still fast on the rest of the course.
I tried to get away with just taking Angus back in the ring for ribbons, but the judge missed Simon, so Kevin handed him to me. Oh man. How embarrassing. I got them both out there and they broke into full-contact bitey-face. : Thankfully I managed to get them calm enough to go get the ribbons. Holy cow! Can you boys EVER behave?!?
So anyway! Two RA's today!
I was just floating on air. There were at least five total strangers who told me how great we were to watch. I even asked one of them, "But did you see Angus take off after that toy?!?!" She said, "Yes, but you got him back! That was so amazing! You all were just a pleasure to watch!" ;D He also got lots of compliments on his pretty flip-finishes, and his wonderful attention.
I am just so giddy right now. Tired, too. I have a whole photo story about taking them to Rock City that I want to post, but I'll have to do that later.
Right now I'm gonna hug me some boys.
I swear, I really did move in between these pictures.
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
Way to go, guys! You made your momma proud today!
Rusty, Blaze & Buster Brown
BJ - 3/9/2007 - 2/6/12 - miss you everyday
Boomer - ? - 3/15/12 - always in my heart
Connie, what a FANTASTIC weekend !!!!! Congratulations to the 3 of you !!! I felt like I was there , reading your post..... incredible..... absolutley incredible !!!
He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
WTG boys!! ;D
Again, I am laughing out loud! Great story, and fantastic storytelling. You guys did awesome. Now you're all in the realm of EXCELLENCE!Originally Posted by AngusFangus
Super congratulations. This was the funniest account. If I learned nothing else in
Obedience and Rally, I learned you can't die from embarrassment. LOL
Eiderdowns That's My Buddy
CDX, RE, WC, CGC, TDInc.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
High Paws to All!!! It was a super Sunday!!!
Blackie and Ranger ...............................Reggie: 1996-2010 "Fly Reggie Fly"
WAY TO GO, ANGUS AND SIMON!!!!!! ;D
Congrats on the two titles!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!