If at first you don’t succeed . . .

Dear Readers,

Last weekend, Momma and I traveled to Soccer World in Rochester, Minnesota, for our second Canine Performance Event agility trial. Although we didn’t do a trial run on Saturday to make sure we could find Rochester, Sunday began excruciatingly early (4:00 am — Momma was still a little worried about logistics) and it was a full day!

When we arrived at the arena, Momma couldn’t find a place for us to set up our crate and chair because all the obvious spots were already taken. In a bit of a panic, she approached the first man she saw and asked where we could set up. Later, Momma suspected it was — but desperately hoped it wasn’t — the actual judge, Mike Brownell, that she commandeered for help. (She claims to suffer from Facial Recognition Disorder, but I call it Momma is a Ditz Disorder.) Anyway, the man helped us find a remote corner spot and we settled in.

Since we knew absolutely no one at this event, Momma tried chatting up several doggie mommas and daddies with very little success. In fact, by the time we ran Standard, the first event of the day, we had no friends or supporters, and Momma was feeling unmoored and not just a little nervous. And to be honest, I felt the same. Here I am at the starting line of our first run. Can you woof, “help!”?

Photo by Mark Herreid

Not surprisingly, I was distracted and we went over time. I did complete all the obstacles on the course, however, since Momma did not know what to do when the horn blew and we kept going. Even though I was a tad embarrassed, I did appreciate the practice.

Our day got more interesting when Momma realized there was a professional photographer on site. She immediately corralled him and asked to see his photos of us, indicating she was sure she would buy a package because her dog, Lina, had her own blog. Pointedly not asking any followup questions, he showed us his shots. In addition to the one above, Momma chose the following. Kinda cool, huh?

Our next event was Wildcard. I was still a little unnerved, but did better and earned a Q (qualifying score) and blue ribbon. Okay, full disclosure again, I was the only dog in the Level 2, 8″ class. Nevertheless, we savored our awards.

After that run, we had a long break between events and Momma moved her chair into the viewer portion of the arena to try to get more involved in the action. Truth be told, she was becoming a little disillusioned, and as she watched the other participants, she had a moment of doubt. Was she really cut out for this? Was I? Did she not fit in with the agility crowd? Did I need a doggie psychologist? Did she?

As Momma sat pawndoring, our future, she had a thought. Maybe if she brought me out to sit with her, I’d become more acclimated to the sights, sounds and smells of the arena, and be able to focus better for our final run. (I also think she didn’t want to sit alone anymore, but I’m not going to point any paws.)

And guess what — that was just the ticket. And not just because I became used to the frenetic activity of the arena, but also because I happen to be an expert at making friends. The minute we settled in, two nice ladies sitting next to us asked Momma if they could pet me. Momma, realizing a door had just opened, almost threw me into their arms.

Tara and Kerry

The ladies were Tara Post, a trainer from Paws Abilities down the road, and Kerry Todd who works at the Mayo Clinic. Thank you Tara and Kerry! I calmed right down and Tara even gave Momma tips on getting me jazzed up for our next run. Through them we also met Shirley Sax and her dog, Abbey, from Eagan. Abbey is just the cutest little thing. This was their first trial and they had already won several ribbons. Momma was thrilled to learn that Shirley and Abbey will be at the next trial in Rochester on June 20.

In Jumpers, our last run of the day, we were both more relaxed and confident, and did great. We earned another Q and a blue ribbon for first place — and yes, this time I was not the only dog in my class! Game on!

Lina, Staying the Course


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