Monday, June 21, 2010
Oregon Hound Classic (by Lisa Stine)
It was a long drive to the show site (Hillsboro Oregon, 10 hours) and we got in really late on Friday night. Which would have been fine because we weren't scheduled to show until 12:15, but there was a lure coursing education seminar at 9:30 the next morning (on breeds, the basics of coursing and then a second half on how to judge a trial and some basic judge and lure operator rules) and when Tam told me about it I had to go. It was worth it, although it was pretty basic I did get a few questions I've been wondering about answered and they had a drag lure practice afterward. Tanner and Darby both got to run a straight of about 100 yards. Tanner did really well, liked the lure a lot and followed it keenly. Darby, who qualified on the 6th, was a fiend for the lure and ran like a dog possessed (in addition to getting over excited and whacking me in the mouth with his head, got a fat lip over that one and Marie was impressed with Darby's 'enthusiasm'. Bryn stayed behind in the RV, she qualified on the 6th as well and we know she can run like NASCAR. Even Dretti got to run, though not planned: he slipped his collar and tore off after the lure while some poor basenji was trying to run it. Funny, he seemed to know he was a bad boy and came right back on recall (after the poor basenji about had a heart attack and they stopped the lure) and lay down in front of me staring at my feet while I put a no-slip collar on him.
In the breed ring later that day it was just Tanner and Darby; Marie's boy special had some toenail problems so she wisely pulled him and Bryn was not entered. Darby won BOB so we got the joy of waiting around for Groups which didn't start until 5pm. Sheesh, I'm not sure who thought that was a great time to start groups. Meanwhile, Marie took Bryn into the all breed B Match being held on the other side of the show grounds . Bryn is a little diva, as Marie will attest, and I suppose she decided she was going to give this showing nonsense a good effort. It had to be Bryn's idea though (Bryn doesn't do anything unless she thinks it's her own idea). Obviously, she thought it was a pretty good one because she ended up with Best in Match; she beat every other dog competing!!!! After all of that Tam and Marie trekked back over to the Hound show to watch Darby and I in Group competition. Although he looked good and did a decent job stacking and gaiting (if you ignore the little fun-bounce-eat-my-armband trick he pulled on the individual go around), he didn't get pulled for a group placement. And that's fine by me, I was completely exhausted by the end of it all and just wanted to find a comfy bed and sleep. It was all I could do to stay awake long enough to get stuff in the room and get the dogs settled when I got to my
Sunday it was Bryn, Tanner and Darby. Everybody showed really well. The breed judge took a lot of time with Bryn and went over her very gently but thoroughly, taking extra time and care to stroke her head and scritch at her neck and ears for a little bit talking to her and showing her that strange people who want to feel her up while she's expected to stand still are not really bad people. It seemed to work because Bryn stood for it and gaited beautifully for Marie. Tanner literally floated around the ring and stacked perfectly. I heard people on the sidelines comment on how striking he was and 'what a nice head that parti dog has'. It reminded me of something Helen used to tell me that I never really paid much heed to until I started showing Darby and spending more time in the ring. She said "Remember, whatever you say ringside is not between just you and whoever you're talking with, people are listening" She is spot on with that advice. Other people, especially the people in the ring and owners with handlers on their dogs standing ringside, can and do hear you. If you have something nice to say, please go ahead and comment, personally it makes me smile and get a little swelled up with pride. If you don't have something nice to say, please shut up or choose a seat out of earshot from the ring. Because it really isn't very heartening to hear someone blathering to their buddy about how '______ that greyhound is' or 'that's the _______-est greyhound I've ever seen' (insert whatever insult you like). But I do digress. Darby won Best of Breed and went on to do nothing but show very well for me in Group competition. No bounce and jump today, strictly business. Several people (in addition to Tam and her buddy) took photos of Darby for me. One photographer handed me a print of him from yesterday. I was shocked to look at it and see Lyric, with brindling, staring back at me from the glossy photo paper. It brought tears to my eyes that Darb is growing up to look so much like his beautiful mother.
All in all, a really good weekend. I got to visit with Tam a lot (even though I never made it to her house). It was relaxed and easy fun showing with Tam and Marie. The perfect ending? I pulled the van up to where Tam had set up her shade tent so I could load my dogs and help Tam dismantle stuff. I had put Darby in the van, told him to stay and was going back to get Dretti, unwittingly leaving the sliding side door open. Tam's friend was at the setup and mentioned to me "Um, you have an escapee". I turned and saw that Darby had decided to walk out of the van after me, but stopped when he saw me make eye contact with him. It took half a second to decide what to do. I turned to face him and stood with my hands at my sides (obedience style) and called "Darby, here!". Darby immediately broke into a full run, came skidding to a halt and sat square in front of me making and holding eye contact. It was the longest and most perfect recall he's ever done. I almost cried for the second time this weekend. I gave him the "okay" release command and we had a 'happy dance party' because I didn't have any food rewards on me. Out of everything he did for me this weekend, that recall was the thing I'm most proud of. There were many distractions, human and canine, and lots of fun things he could have run off to explore. But instead he focused on me and did exactly what I asked him to do of his own free will. PERFECT. I love you, Darby. And Tam? I wore my seatbelt all the way home.