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Ch. Kabree Mad About You RA

September 29, 2009 Comments off
sampson_map
Image by neilfein via Flickr

I’ve been offline for almost a week, camping and trialing at the annual Wine Country Circuit at Sampson State Park in Romulus, NY. After a couple of false starts earlier this summer – shows I’d entered but was too fatigued to compete in – Madison finally got her chance to shine in Rally Advanced. And shine she did, earning her RA with a 3rd and a 4th place and qualifying four straight times. In the rain.

Rain and M. don’t get along. My princess doesn’t like to get her pretty spotted toes wet. Apparently, it really doesn’t rain in California (where she was born) or Virginia (where she lived with her other ‘mom’ Lisa Ross before she moved to central NY.) M. will eagerly race to the back door and stop in her tracks when she discovers rain on the other side. She will refuse to enter a tunnel that has a puddle in the entrance. She walks on the sidewalk when the grass is wet. After a miserable FAST run in a deluge at the CNY Sheltie Club trials in early August, I promised her that she would never have to run in a downpour.

But Sunday, it wasn’t pouring. The grass was wet, and there was some spitting intermittent rain, but these are facts of life here in central New York. There was no hint of a deluge. M. moved in a happy heel position from the car to the rings, bouncing and forging most of the way. Hmm. Okay. I told the little girl to stand up, step up and heel. And for most of that full-of-sits Rally Advanced course, she did — she even sat in heel position and dropped (twice.) On the last three signs, M. made me work for every sit (even the judge noticed her dirty looks!) Finally we got through the course, and my little princess worked the whole way ’round.

FAST was less successful — Friday, her push-to-the-right had disappedared. Saturday, pushes to the right were working, but I stepped on the piece of tangled fly-away plastic tape that was serving as the bonus line. Still, each of M’s five FAST runs has been a bigr improvement over the previous run. She’s running less like a green dog and more like a focused agility dog. So on we go — and hopefully, we’ll add a FAST leg or two in the next couple months.

Meanwhile, my princess has decided to heel – beautifully. When the girl puts it together, she puts it together with flair — flip finishes, hand touches, and a constantly wagging english cocker tail. Now that she has her RA, we’ll spend a few more shows in Rally Advanced working on precision and accuracy before I move her up to Rally Excellent.

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Categories: Agility, Rally

Good for Madison, not-so-good for me

May 1, 2009 Comments off

Blue Roan coloured English Cocker SpanielImage via Wikipedia

It’s national specialty week for the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America (ECSCA), and I’m here in Milan OH at the national specialty. On Monday, Madison made her agility debut in FAST (did the send successfully and racked up 35 points before we made the critical mistake of retaking the A-frame…oops!) But she stayed in the same ring with me, worked the whole course, and didn’t check out to do her own thing once.

Then on Wednesday, she put together a lovely run in Rally Novice B, tied for first place with a 98 and ended up in second place (Rally ties are decided by course time.) I was really happy I’ve kept her in Novice B, on lead, to get as much experience showing her as possible and let her work the kinks out of the whole thinking-dog thing. Best of all, co-owner Lisa got to see M’s run, and she was happy and impressed. All wonderful.

But on Tuesday, I learned through email, phone calls and txt messages that the R&D division of my group based in Syracuse will be closing no later than end of 2010. I’ll just be 55, so if I can hold onto my job until then, I should be okay. If my job is eliminated before the move, I’ll be a year short of 55–and lose about two-thirds of my pension.

On one hand, I was philosophical about the announcement meeting when I left on Friday–I couldn’t change the meeting, so I might as well enjoy my national, a show I’ve been planning on for months.
Today, though, philosophy lost out to figuring out how I could survive.

It’s hard to think that the company didn’t do this on purpose–evaluate the ages of the people at the site, and then select the closing date and job eliminations so that they could avoid paying full pensions to those who would hit 55 within a couple months of the relocations.

And knowing that the job front is in upheaval at home sure makes it tough to keep my head in the game on a dog show vacation.

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