Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for Vegas' allergist who is always there to answer questions, give advice, hear me out, and not force me into exams and will dispense an occasional refill of a prescription to help us out. She's flexible, communicative, has a great staff, and I'm very thankful to Dr. Amy Randall and her practice, Animal Allergy and Ear Clinic.

Vegas has been battling her allergies all Fall and has gotten increasingly worse this month despite my having picked up an addition to her allergy serum - a mold spike. We're juggling and in the interim she is suffering. After giving them a call today after really noticing how incredibly pink my girl is (I love pink like the next girl - and that includes pink, black, and white - but not a pink dog.). So anyway, today she gave us a prescription that will help give her some relief as we balance out her serum doses.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Deep Moral Dilemma

Is it wrong to call out "kitty" or "squirrel" in order to achieve the desired facial expression for a photo? The one with perked ears, engaged face, excitement and interest? Inquiring minds want to know....

Monday, December 26, 2011

The End of the Invitational - What a Ride!

We had such a blast at the invitational. It's hard to believe I could be in the building all day for two-and-a-half days and not see any conformation or any obedience. Plus I didn't do any shopping. Weird! The latter is okay; I was on a tight budget. But I was sorry about not being able to see the Danes or any of the other breeds nor obedience. Since we are getting into obedience now it would have been cool to see the top dogs show their stuff.

So by the time I left I was exhausted, exhilarated, and already trying to figure out how I could come back next year. We had such a good time, met so many cool people, made so many new friends, and really have an appreciation for what it takes to pull something like this off plus a respect for how hard all of us worked to get there. And I love the support. It amazes me how supportive people are. It makes for a much more enjoyable time to see how hospitable and kind the people are - particularly to those who were new. And honestly, there didn't seem to be a competitive spirit. Sure people wanted to do well, but they acted like they were competing only against the clock and the course, not each other. That was incredible to me.

Finals was awesome. Of course that was a first for me as well. I took a ton of pictures both of the dogs running and of Vegas hanging out in the stands. Sadly I did something dumb with my camera and managed to lose all those. Guess I'll have to go back again to capture them next year now, right?

This is a final collection of pictures not included in my last two (really long) posts about the invitational. Needless to say, I lugged along the big camera, the video, and my laptop, to fully capture the experience for posterity, my lousy memory, and in commemoration of such a wonderful opportunity with my amazing Vegas.
Here goes:
A Tibetan Mastiff walking around as a holiday moose.
Keri with Mega and K8 plus Teresa holding Morgan and her Dane, then Vegas and I.

I DID get to meet Elena and Niko (GCH OldBluz Nikolai Maxsim)!

The bigger ribbons Vegas was eyeing...
Half of the agility crating area.
Gail Storm and crew walking the Round 3 JWW course to figure out what changes they could make to avoid risk to the dogs with the falling apart surface.
One of the monitors displaying results and recently scored dogs.
Bichon Frise at Meet the Breeds.

Bedlington Terriers at Meet the Breeds. This pair were about 9 months old.
More awards table bling - the stack of breed club medallions.

Big awards bling - the trophies for finalists.
Boxers at Meet the Breed.
This little girl climbed up on this guy, weaseled her way in, and started smooching on this little kid. So cute.

I forget her name (and the male's) but I believe these two blacks are the GDCA president's Danes.

Golden Retriever at Meet the Breeds.
French Kisses! Meet the Breed booth - French Bulldogs. These are for you, Lindsay!

Dobermans at Meet the Breed. I had soooooo hoped to meet Fifi, the #1 Doberman in the country and a stunning bitch. She is sponsored by LubriSyn and their booth was in the agility hall. But I never did see her. Darnit.

Miss Mega playing tug with Keri.

The Vizsla carrying off one of the mats from Musical Mats.

A Dane we met outside the breed hall by the superdogs.

One of the warm-up jumps.
Sunday was really windy when we walked over and the dog was on its side. This was taken later that day when it was upright again.
Vegas outside the OCCC.
Bullmastiff - Meet the Breeds
This was outside the convention center.

Notice the rainbow through and to the right of the spouting water?
Ring 2.
V in our hotel.
Above is the back of our bar code tag and below is the front. We were to have this attached to our leash at all times to scan our way into the ring. This apparently registered us at the scoring table. .

Vegas looking out the 15th floor window in the elevator lobby.
Getting ready to say goodbye to Orlando. We went for a walk around the grounds to really take time to take in the scenery and soak up some sun and warmth.
She finally looked at me! I guess "squirrel" and "kitty" are the magic words....
Cool, GIANT ball ornaments in front of the hotel.

 Big dog or tiny tree? You decide.
Decorated electrical box.
Birds of Pardise


Rolling in Florida grass

In front of The Peabody
The corner of Convention and "Welcome."
The West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center.

Aaaahhhhh! Ferocious alligator! Be careful, Vegas!
Guess they're friends now.
Convention Center and pond/water fountain.

The back of our hotel (Rosen Centre). I liked the angle.

When I left Florida I thought we had finished 47th in the 24" class. A couple of days ago the trial secretary sent out a follow-up email to participants to let us know the final results were up on the web and to ask for feedback. I reviewed the results and looked to see if they had any additional breakdowns such as by group, etc.

They had a report organized by high in breed. It listed us having been in 42nd place.
I realize now that I read it wrong. We finished 42nd in Round 4, but cumulatively we finished 47th.

Still, very pleased for a giant dog.

Here is a link to some of the additional reports: High in Breed Summary and Cumulative Results by Score.

Congrats to all the awesome dogs that were in attendance, thanks to the AKC for putting on a great event, thanks to our judges for challenging us and to the wonderful announcer who so consistently and beautifully shared our awesome sport with attendees as well as announcing us in ring 1. Last but not least, thanks to all my friends, family, coworkers, and fellow agility competitors who made this ride so much fun, who were supportive, and who kept our spirits up, encouraged us, and believed in us.