Thursday, May 6, 2010

Catching my breath

Wow, so Nationals happened. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was definitely more of a whirlwind than I thought it would be. A brief synopsis:

Sunday: drive down to Joanna's to drop off Magnum. Visit and kibbitz and show Elli to Joanna and Kate. Take off after about an hour and half for Gettysburg. Mostly uneventful trip, other than a few aborted attempts to get gas. Memo to the Department of Transportation: When you say gas is available at a certain exit, maybe it shouldn't be 8 miles from the exit. Sheesh. Get there around 6:30 p.m., check in, haul stuff to the hotel room. Find a sandwich and crash.

Monday: Get up at 7:00 to be over at the obedience building by 8:00. When Open A comes up, take Ian in for our most embarassing performance to date. His nose was stuck to the carpet like it was super-glued there. As far as he was concerned I did not exist. At all!! We never even made it to the jumping exercises. The judge and I both agreed that we should be excused. Wow. Not how I wanted to do at Nationals. After that, I stewarded for the rest of the afternoon. Find something to eat, take the dogs for a long walk because I have Mom guilt for them being crated so much. Look at schedule for next day, meet up with Nancy, Mary and Warren and order hotel room service pizza. Set the clock for the earlier obedience start time since I said I'd steward again.

Tuesday: Wake up and realize that setting the clock for a certain time is useless if you don't actually turn on the alarm. Get to the obedience building just as classes start rather than the 1/2 hour ahead of time I was supposed to be there. Steward 'til 11:00, then go to the hotel room to await Shelley's arrival. Check Facebook while I can get the very spotty wireless. Realize that she does not have my cell number. Crap. Find a phone number for Shelley, which turns out to be her home number. Fortunately, her dogsitter is home and gives me her cell number. Call it and find out she's downstairs in front of the hotel. Help get her unpacked and situated. Take my dogs for a quick potty break. Rush back to obedience building to finish out stewarding and break down the ring set-up. Run over to watch the Megan. Grab dinner at hotel restaurant with Jeri and Kate during dinner break. You wouldn't think that they could screw up something as simple as pasta with pesto. You would be wrong. Finish out the Megan, potty dogs, crash.

Wednesday, Thursday: Honestly, they kind of blur together, but can be broken down roughly as watch a bunch of conformation, guiltily walk my poor crated dogs, go to dinner with either Mary and Nancy or Karen and crew.

Friday: Bitch classes. Watch the earlier classes, then take Elli out, get her all gussied up, go change into my show clothes, then return to the ballroom to find out that they've decided to do the various parades before Am Bred. So, I had an extra half hour to kill before going in the ring. It ended up working well because I left Elli with Karen for that time so she would be more focused on me when we went into the ring.

Finally, we got into the ring. Am Bred had nine entries. That's a bigger class than Elli has ever been in, so it was a lot longer for her to "on." We were next to last in the ring, so there was a lot of time between going in and when she got to strut her stuff. I am so proud of my girl: she self-stacked when I asked her to, she played touch games, twirled, and sat up on cue (upping her cuteness factor). When it came time to go up on the table, she stacked quickly and held her pose when the judge turned to look at her. She behaved well on the down and back and the around. By the end of the class, when they all went around as a group, she was really amped and so didn't gait as well. The judge kept looking at her the whole class and I thought we might have a shot at 1st, but we wound up 2nd, which is still a really cool thing at a National specialty.

After the bitch classes finished, I took Elli to wait for a photo. I honestly wouldn't have even thought about doing that for a second place from the classes, but several folks urged me to, it being a National and all, so I figured why not. The huge line was then told that the judge would take a one hour lunch break before photos. I made a dash to Friendly's for lunch with Mary and Nancy and then came back. They were just finishing up photos of Winners Bitch when I got there, and I was the last one left. I was told by the judge's husband, "She's not doing any more photos today. If you really need to have one, come back tomorrow."

You know, I can understand her being tired, and that they had some other things they wanted to do with the rest of their day. I mean, it would have taken all of 2 minutes to do another photo, but I get it. But he really didn't need to take the nasty tone with me, you know? Yes, I realize it was only a 2nd place, and from Am-Bred no less, but jeez. Maybe he's a big shot and used to winning big shows, but some of us are just starting out and aren't exactly at that level yet. Thanks for stomping all over my enthusiasm at my very first National, asshole.

I wasn't going to bother going back the next day for the photo, but was again urged to and told I'd regret it if I didn't. So I got over myself and went back on Saturday for the pic. If it's not too hideous of either one of us, I'll scan and post when it gets here.

Saturday night was the annual banquet and silent auction, then up and on the road Sunday. I got behind an accident on what I guess was I-78 in Pennsylvania, and it took me literally 2 hours to move 4.5 miles to my exit. Apparently a Honda Civic decided to go the wrong way on the highway and had an unfortunate meeting with a tour bus. I saw the car -- or the mangled ball of metal that used to be the car -- up on the tow truck when I went by. It was unrecognizeable as a vehicle. I learned later that the driver didn't make it, which doesn't surprise me, having seen the end result. Bad stuff.

FINALLY get to New Hampshire and meet up with Doug and Joanna and my little man! I swear he grew like a weed while he was down there. Those ears! And those feet! If he grows into those he will indeed grow into his name.

So overall, the Nationals flew by and I got to meet lots of people from blogland and websites and stuff, and hear lots of gossip. I also got to look at my leading choice for stud dog for Elli and meet his owner, who I really liked, which is nice if we're going to make babies together. I did feel bad that my dogs spent as much time in their crates as they did; I don't think the Nationals were anywhere near as fun for them as they were for me. If I make it to Houston next year it will likely be dogless, as I'll be flying and do not want to fly a dog.

And now, back to real life and work and trying to earn some money to make up for what I just spent. o_O


  1. Nationals are overwhelming, but when you've caught up a little, you'll be so happy you participated (and that you had a photo taken). BTW, the asshole is the CWCCA president. A second in a Nationals class IS a big deal. Congratulations to you and your girl.

  2. Great write-up! My favorite parts included the restaurant messing up pesto & pasta (how?) and, uh, the part Penni mentioned above.

    Hope to see you next year in Houston. This year was just a bit to far for me to go, considering everything.

  3. Penni, yeah, I know. Figured I wouldn't name names. ;-)

  4. I hear you about having to earn back some money! The Nat'ls definitely qualify as THE most expensive agility trial I've ever entered. Between the hotel room for 2 nights, entry fees for two dogs, trophy donations, dinner tickets, and "cardi-themed" purchases, I think it must have run 1000 bucks! YIKES! But you know what, Wilson earning all those ribbons, as they say, was Priceless! Jimmy, on the other hand, owes me!

  5. I enjoyed meeting you. Looking forward to hearing more about you and your dogs' adventures (especially Magnum)

  6. Dawn, ANY placing at a National is a BIG DEAL! Be very proud (and a BIG CONGRATS) for your 2nd place!!

  7. Oh I must add that that green carpet in the obedience area had the most delightful scents (for dogs). It was hard to get a male's attention on it.