The Flying Aussie and a Great Cause

Pretty, but don’t touch!

This past weekend, Duncan and I traded the sleeting skies of Idaho for the sunny ones of Arizona to run at a trial and visit a dear friend.  The timing was perfect.  You see, just like my Boxer, I’m convinced that when it rains, I’ll melt (although I don’t claim to be made of sugar like he does).  So after one of the driest winters on record, the day we left, the skies had opened and we got out of town.  The difference this time, is that we flew to this trial, a first for both of us.

It’s a good thing that airport security doesn’t screen for high pulse rates, because I was so nervous to get everything right, that I was amazed I didn’t keel over right there in line after throwing my shoes in the plastic bin.  Many, many thanks to the website Dog Jaunt for all the fantastic information on flying with a small dog, and my husband for getting me through check in.  I knew my carrier (a large SturdiBag) would fit perfectly on a Southwest 737, and indeed, it did.  Dunc was a fantastic little traveler, and fit in his little bag just fine thanks to his ability to bend like a wet noodle.

Dunc under the airplane seat.

The trial was fantastic.  Duncan, amazing Duncan most definitely got his brave on.  In a completely new place on weird footing (some sort of tentacle-like dormant grass) after being stuffed in a bag and going up and down until his ears popped, he came out swinging, and ran two of his fastest runs, ever.  He also earned his very first QQQ.  Rock on little man!

This is quite possibly the coolest chute ever invented.  Not only is it covered in flames that Duncan’s Wildfire blazed through, but it’s wonderfully, perfectly, terrifically, and shockingly SHORT!  The new shorter chute length is a winner in Dunc’s book.

Here’s Dunc’s run on the Saturday Standard course…another diabolical creation courtesy of judge Dan Butcher.  Love these technically challenging courses, and after three trials this year under this judge, we’re drifting dangerously close to being DB groupies.

This trial was part of a large group of dog sporting events held at the Paws for a Cure event, a fundraiser for the Canine Cancer foundation.  This foundation is near and dear to my heart, since we lost our first beloved boy Boxer, Sinjin to cancer, and Angus is a survivor. My trialling partner in crime runs a Boston who is also a survivor, so we made sure to visit the Foundation booth, where I made a memorial heart for Sinjin.

Sinjin, my old soul and beloved friend.

On Sunday, they stopped the trial, and smack in the middle of the rings, the Foundation held a ceremony to celebrate those buddies we’ve lost to this disease.  They read the Rainbow Bridge poem, and one of the foundation’s founders asked me to place Sinjin’s heart on the wall first, quickly followed by dozens of other hearts.  It was an amazing moment, standing there, tears streaming down my face, in a crowd of people doing the same.  Not one person there was ashamed of crying visibly for friends we had lost, and I had one of those beautifully clear life moments.  These are my people, and I’m so proud and thankful to have been among them on this special day.

The Canine Cancer Foundation Memorial Wall

Sweet Sinjin. You are missed.

Of course, trialling is also about being with friends, new and old, fuzzy and non-fuzzy.  Dunc was thrilled to have a weekend away from Baby Brother Des, and reveled in the company of one of his favorite people friends and dog friend.   Sweet Mully even ran with me on the FAST course, and thankfully, we upheld her amazing QQQ streak.  (Whew!)

We are cute. Feed us. Now.

All in all, the weekend was a blast.  Lovely weather, fantastic company (thanks, G!!) and running with the best and sweetest teammate a girl could ask for.  A Ferrari dealer on the way to the trial grounds was just a bonus…after all, I do love a parking lot filled with sexy Italians.

Parting thought…maybe this kid really knows how to have a blast...

The 2012 Adventures Begin

Des 5 months, Dunc 4 years

Baby Desmond is now five months old.  He now tips the scales at 14.4 pounds, a gain of about three pounds over the last month.  As in previous months, most of that gain has been in legs.  One of these days I hope his legs will slow down, or I’m going to have a baby merle giraffe on my hands.  He does put those wheels to good use while doing hot laps around the yard.

Wheeeee!

He is most definitely a handsome little dude, a whirlwind of flying ears, waving paws, and endless wiggles.  We’re currently working on things that he finds extraordinarily boring, yet gamely humors me; sit stays, sitting by an open door before being released to imitate a Dakar rally car in the yard, and only jumping shoulder-high by invitation.  (This last one is just too tough, I often find yodeling Des bouncing alongside while I’m filling the dinner dishes.  This wouldn’t be odd, except that I’m standing upright, and he’s clearing the height of the countertops).

Duncan, on the other hand, is about to begin a new year of trialling, and it’s looking to be momentous.  We have a few trials to warm up for Nationals in March, which will be a fantastic experience.  We’re working on improving his running contacts, and my challenge is learning to get him around the course in a way that keeps him off his brakes and driving forward.

Duncan, I am thankful to you for your sunny grin, and for helping me find a better and more positive way to get there with you.  Let’s rock the house this year!

My view while freestyle heeling with Dunc. A big grin!

Lets get this show on the road!  The drive to our first trial of the year is easy, however the commute is waaaay different!  Stay tuned…

Leavin' on a jet plane...

The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling!!

Okay, kidding, but for Duncan, maybe it is.  You see, Desmond, baby brother Desmond is now bigger than he is.  I’ve tried to get a good picture of them for a couple weeks, but was slightly suspicious due to Dunc positioning himself uphill of Des each time I got the camera out.  I’m on to your tricks, now Duncan!  There is no way Des will stand without bouncing, but at just under five months old, I think he’s now about 15″ tall.

It's only his ears! I'm still taller than Des, really!

Des is a typical teenager.  He slouches.  So it’s been difficult to actually see that he’s gotten taller.  To make things more confusing, for quite a while his back end has been taller than his front, so he looks like he’s perpetually going downhill.  I’ve noticed the front landing gear is starting to catch up lately, so he’s beginning to lose a little of that funny stance, but some is still in evidence.

Maybe the third picture of Des standing still, ever.

Being taller in the rear isn’t slowing Des down one bit.  It looks like his back wheels are perpetually trying to overtake the front.

For a gangly little guy, Des has always been impressively coordinated.  He can jump flatfooted from the floor to the dining room chair, the couch and my eyebrows.  I’d like to claim that he gets that from me, but unfortunately, I just lucked out.  His fuzzy mama was also impressively coordinated.

In the last few weeks, I’ve continued his foundation training with a few sends and some outs.  (Because I’m gonna need to be able to cut corners to keep up with fuzzy Mad Max).  We’re also working on shaping Cik/Cap, Sylvia Trkman’s method of training tight turns.  With Dunc, I depend on body language and good timing <cough, of course I have good timing, cough> to succeed with tight turns, but Des is hinting that he’ll have the ground speed that will demand earlier turning cues.  Here’s a short video of our recent work.  I just love that he’s already letting me run the other direction while I send him forward to that classic agility obstacle; the bucket.

I can fly! I don't need a magic feather!