MACH Duncan!

MACH Dunkie!
Photo by Randy Gaines

On July 8th, Duncan finished his MACH AKC Agility Champion title in Farmington Utah. It’s taken me a little while to attempt to find the words to describe how special this journey has been with my amazing little boy.

Here is our MACH run…I can remember every step of it.

Duncan is a sweet little soul and was often shy and tentative especially early in our agility career.   If not for the kindness and camaraderie of my agility friends (especially sharing their Trial from Hell stories) I doubt we would have made it past our first out of town AKC trial.  But persevere we did.   Dunc learned to trust that I’d keep him safe, and in turn, he’d put on his Brave Pants and fly around the ring, rocking five states worth of dogwalks along the way.

Running a dog like Dunc is never boring, and is usually comprised of one part foretelling the future, one part randomly changing motivation, and one part rolling with whatever he dishes out.  But that’s the magic of Dunkie…have patience, hang in there, make sure your shoes are tied on, and a brilliant little boy often emerges.   I wouldn’t have had it any other way, and am grateful for all the lessons my Super D has taught me.

With judge Tim Pinneri, Photo By Randy Gaines

When the Canine Partners program allowed us to play in 2010, we were off and running!  He earned his first QQ at our fifth trial, and he finished his MACH 16 months later.  All but six of our 750 speed points were earned without multipliers.  At first, they came a few at a time, but as our confidence grew with each other, we really began to rack them up.

Dunc brought me into the world of agility.  He forgave me while I was learning how to handle, and gamely tried anything new I threw at him.   He grinned at me while I laughed at his antics, and he’d curl up in my lap and sigh as if to say “it’s going to be okay” when the going got tough. We traveled with friends, we traveled alone, he stealthily robbed many pockets of their cookies…but through it all, Duncan has been my unwavering little buddy…my co-pilot and sharer of pillows and ice cream.

Duncan has taught me so much about love and patience, perseverance and trust.  He showed me time and time again that to get to our destination, we needed to enjoy the journey – to find the joy on each and every run.  And so, standing at the gate before our MACH run, I wasn’t going over the course in my head – – I was whispering in Dunc’s ear:  “If you run like I know you can, you get to run the dogwalk again!”  He did, so we did!

This is what Duncan’s MACH means to me:  It’s a written record, a testament of the time and effort, the faith and trust that it took to get us here…and the honor I feel to call this fantastic, smart and funny little boy my teammate.   I treasure memories of each run along the way – from the wavering to the solid, to the speedy and spectacular.

I always believed in you, Duncan.  Thank you for believing in me, too.

Double Q # 20

Over the weekend, Duncan reached a milestone in his AKC agility career, and earned his 20th Double Q.   We finished those 20 QQs about 14 months after moving into Excellent B and becoming eligible to start earning them.

For my non-agility friends, in AKC agility, a Double Q is earned when you qualify on both the Standard and Jumpers With Weaves courses on the same day.  One speed point is earned for every second under standard course time you finish a course.  To earn your Master of Agility Champion (MACH, or AKC Agility Champion) title, you must earn 20 QQs and rack up 750 speed points.  It’s a long road, no matter how you drive it, and daily double perfection on the agility field is an exercise in practice, focus and determination.

Photo by Randy Gaines

We’re not quite done yet.  Dunc has exactly 100 speed points left to go before he earns his MACH title.  But completing the QQ requirement was a huge accomplishment/relief for me.  Now, we’ll step to the line together with speed and fun as our goal (because if Dunc is having fun, he’s pretty darned speedy).  Doesn’t it look like he has a big Dunkie grin on his face in the picture below?

And another fantastic pic from Randy Gaines

To brag on my little boy a bit more, over a three day trial last weekend he earned three QQs (bringing the total to 21) and 2 QQQs, having qualified in the FAST distance class twice.  I am so proud of my Teammate, and best buddy, Duncan.

With three more trials scheduled in the next month, I think the Little Dog that Could is going to become the Little Dog that Did!  Stay tuned…

I hope to cease being the absent blogger soon.  If I were a UPS driver, it would be the holiday shipping season, if I were an accountant, it would be April 15th…my season of training baby firefighters how to throw dirt is a lot longer and busier than you’d think it should be!  But once they go off and do what they are trained to do, I’ll return to my rambling ways.

But in the meantime, we’re celebrating each milestone as it comes!

Thanks for the bubbly, my Big Aussie friend. Now, to find some Peeps to go with…