Thursday, February 28, 2008

Baloo's First Show

On Saturday, February 23 Baloo competed in her first agility trial. It was my first one too. We arrived early and set up Baloo's crate near a few of her classmates and under a big shade tree. I had thought about buying a canopy tent and ground mat, but decided to "rough it." It all worked out, we met a nice young lady who had two american eskimo dogs and was happy to share her shade with us. As the trial got underway, I ran Baloo around in the nearby soccer field and worked through our nerves. We really didn't feel too nervous though, we were just planning to have fun. The first thing we had to do was wait in line to get Baloo measured. We waited behind several other dogs. When we got to the measuring table, the judge started to measure Baloo and realized she was so tall it wasn't necessary. She let me know that Baloo is easily taller than the highest jump category in "Performance" competition. Therefore, we don't have to get measured 3 times, we don't have to bother with any measurements at all. It wasn't long before it was our turn to compete. The first dog was on the line around 8 am and Baloo's run was around 8:30. I could tell she was super excited, she wanted to run. When I put her in start position and let her go it was as if she saw a rabbit on the other side of the field. She ran like she was shot from a cannon. Across our ring (no obstacles taken). Through the neighboring ring where elite level competitions were going on. Luckily she ran during a break between dogs, I would have felt so bad if she ruined someone's run. She may or may not have ran over the A frame or a jump. She finally stopped running when someone asked her to sit for a treat. All the while she ran her ears were streaming and flopping and she was full of excitement. Who are all these people?! Have they come to watch me?!? Look at me, I'm fast!! As she ran, I ran also. After her, yelling "BALOO!" I tried to whistle for her, but it's not easy to whistle when you are desperately trying to get your dog's attention.

Once I collected Baloo we ran around a bit and then Baloo got to rest in her crate. After a couple times in and out of the crate Baloo wasn't as eager to get inside. Good thing it's a big crate, I would crawl in too and Baloo would go in to join me (that's us in the crate in the photo). As the afternoon wore on Baloo was actually pretty content to rest in her crate. It was a long long day. Baloo's second and final run, in the Gambler competition, was about 4:30 that afternoon. By then, she was more subdued. But even then, as I let Baloo go she became fully excited and into her run. This time, she stayed with me in the ring and jumped a couple jumps I asked her to jump. She added a few obstacles that are her favorites, then did a few more that I asked. We didn't get a "Q" but we learned some valuable lessons in our first trial, we made new friends, and we had fun!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Baloo's Quote of the Day

All knowledge, the totality of all questions
and all answers is contained in the dog. Kafka

This photo of a three legged brindle-colored mongrel was shot in the small community of San Martin Tilcajete, about half an hours drive from Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico. One of the best places in Oaxaca to find alebrijes - fanciful, colorful wooden folk carvings.