Saturday, June 5, 2010

Key Pen (Day One of Open) Part One of Three

As the rain beat down on my trailer late Friday night, the girls hogged most of the bed and I tried to read a mystery murder novel, I paused and wondered this thought. “What person in their right mind would be all cramped up in a tiny trailer with two wet dogs, cold and rain beating down hard on the roof…and everything outside is soaked and the trailer is muddy from the wet dogs. In addition, to top it off, get up before dawn with a whistle in your mouth, hoping your dog will listen and try to convince sheep to do an obstacle course when they rather be napping? And paying money to do this?”

I never got an answer as a wet nose that pressed into my cheek distracted me and a little red tongue licked the last crumb off my shirt. Sad white rimmed eyes with a hint of cloudiness peered over the edge of my book and a white paw shifted to be on top of my hand. I looked at the aged eyes and they glanced at my face and then to the kitchen counter. This was repeated several times and I got up to see what it was about.

is that a crumb I see on your shirt?

Imagine that….food on the counter! A damp body leaned heavily against my legs as I contemplated on what to do with the remains of my roast beef sandwich and a few deep sighs were added. Another sigh came from the direction of the bed and I saw that Nan was leaning over the edge, her pink tongue hanging slight out of her mouth and her tail gently wagging back and forth, moving the bed covers as if there was a mouse underneath.

“OK” I said and she propelled her herself off the bed, spilling the covers on the floor and Tess who was on the floor already, wound herself around my legs. I sat down at the dinner table and carefully doled out the sandwich between Tess and Nan. Roo and Taff would be shorted on their treats as they were in the crates outside and I was not going to go outside.

Not a crumb was left anywhere and two happy eager pair of eyes looked at me in case that I might find it in my heart to give them some more offerings from the Fridge. That didn’t happen so they jumped back on the bed and settled in. I cleaned up the remains and started to crawl into the bed when I saw that Tess had taken over my pillows and Nan had taken the center of the bed. I sighed and gently rolled Tess off the pillow and nudged Nan to the side. We all snuggled and I read a few more pages of my book when sleep over took me.

This is my pillow! (Tess in front and Nan in the background)
Bonnie Daley got up and started my generator at 6:00 a.m. She hooked into my rig for power and she is more of a morning person than me. I got dressed and let the dogs out, got my coffee and put everyone away, aside from Tess who wandered over with me to the handler’s meeting. It started at 7:00 and Ray Crabtree was the judge.
Ray Crabtree

The course was a tricky outrun, lift and fetch, right hand drive, shed, pen and single. The pen was three sides and a post with a rope that you hung onto. It wasn’t long enough to cover what side you had so you had to be careful in your maneuvering.

The Pen. There is a pup that wandered in the pen.

Tess, ever so hopeful that she gets to run.

Monique and Lucy went up at the seventh spot. She had beautiful outwork and a smooth drive. Monique handled Lucy quite well. In the shedding ring, the sheep decided they didn’t want to shed and they timed out. They are working great as a team now and each time they run, you can see the bond get deeper and deeper. I was the proud grandma on the side cheering them on. Monique was very calm on the field and you wouldn’t know that she just moved up to Open only in January. Many people wished they would have done as well as she has in their first six months in Open. They are a formidable team to beat.

Other notable runs were Ruedi and Teak. They were very quiet and got second place. Bill Orr had a smoking run with Boone for 104 out of 110.  Sue MacDonald and Jan had a great run until two Scotties decided they wanted to get into a brawl and the only way to move them was that Jan had to grip them. She did and got DQ but went into the fray to stop the Scottie battle.

Jorgen and Merckx had a nice run in Nursery to win the class. He is a very nice guy who loves his dog. Dawn Pucci and Bran are an hot upcoming team so you better watch out!! Bran is a wonderful dot on sheep as well as to watch.  He just flows on air!

Roo ran later in the day in late afternoon, The wind had picked up and was blowing down the hill. He was amped when he left and I had a hard time through the course with him. His outrun was fine but his drive, Roo decided to drive his way. Unfortunately, it was not the correct way so we fought on the crossdrive. We missed the panels and at the second panels, he couldn’t hear me due to the wind but he squirreled them about the second panels for heavy point loss. By the time the sheep came into the shed, they wanted nothing to do with him, he was on the muscle, and we couldn’t settle the sheep down. We timed out and got 62 out of 110 points. He lost 16 on the drive. I was not happy with his work.

Nan ran at the end of the day and the sheep decided they had enough. She listened quite well, had beautiful outwork and we missed both panels with most of the sheep. She didn’t want to release the pressure on the second panel so it was pitiful. I saw her flick an ear back at me so I know she heard me but didn’t want to let go so we missed it. Her line to the ring was nice but we lost 16 on the drive. We had to jockey to get the sheep set up for the shed and she flew in and held them. She gathered them in the ring and marched them into the pen. Most people didn’t get the single but she flew in like a rocket and held it. It was a lamb who wanted back to her buddies but Nan held her still. She only lost one point on the shed, pen and single. The bad drive killed us so we got 7th place out of 39 dogs. I was pleased with her and how well she did the shed and single.

I called her to me as the run was over and she bounced about with her tail straight up in the air and her smile was wide. She knew she did great on her run and I was beaming with pride too. We have come a long way since she first arrived and we have really partnered up well.

As we sat under the tree at the exhaust, I took her muzzle in my hands and kissed her head. I gently whispered to her, “You are my Number One Trial Dog now. You are my true partner and have done well. I am blessed to have you”

She gazed into my eyes, her tail wagged, and we leaned into each other, watching the run after us, enjoying the moment of love between us.

note: photos with my was raining to hard to use my camera

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