Yesterday was a really big day! It started VERY early! Up at 5:30AM and off to Napa, CA for Denali's first-time performance entry in Rally!
Denali has been training for quite awhile, starting with formal obedience. But from the start it was apparent that the pace of the formal obedience was too slow. As well, this is a very social girl. She is much happier when you interact with her. Not being able to talk to her proved a real detriment.
One of our training classmates suggested we try Rally instead. From the very first lesson, Denali was smiling and happy. I looked down to see her sitting next to me, tail vigorously brushing, awaiting the "heel" command...a different dog! This is the performance experience we'd hoped to achieve!
Yesterday morning, Denali was ready to show just how much she's learned!
And, did she ever! First time showing, she earned her first leg, snagging a second place finish in an entry of 9 dogs. It would have been a first place finish, with a score of 98, had her handler (me) not made a silly error!
One of the rally stations requires the dog to come forward to the handler and sit three consecutive times. Denali does this perfectly. But on the final sit, I didn't give her enough time to get her butt all the way down before motioning her to finish and move forward. Given her 5-inch legs, and her generously fluffy pants, I had no idea that she wasn't sitting. From the front, she looked to be fully down. But from the judge's side view, she saw that Denali was not quite there. This meant a ten-point deduction for failure to complete all of the principal parts of the exercise. A big deduction! So...lesson learned for the handler - put a little pause in there before moving on!
Special note of huge thanks to Trenton for coming to watch Denali's Rally debut. Your support meant so much and I really appreciate that you made two trips to the show in one day on our account!
Here's our little qualifier, just after her showing, hanging out with Sage and Elbee, waiting for some friends to show up.
Now for the second part of our day - time to get together with Sage's brothers, Captain and Fig, and their people! Sage was pretty excited to see his brothers. He hasn't seen Cappy and Fig since they were all 10-weeks old. Cappy was showing in conformation at the show too!
And if you think that Sage was excited, here's Cappy, leaning out the car window upon arriving at the show and seeing Sage! Cappy's "sister," Malibu came along for the party.
A handsome boy, Cappy and Sage look very much alike - two merle boys in different-colored suits! Their coat quality is the same. If you don't look down, you're not sure who you're petting, just by touch. They can thank Grandma Phoebe for the texture of that beautiful, soft coat!
Other party guests included Sage's other sister, Elbee. The teeny Pembroke who played Grand Dame of the group at age 11.
After the dog show, Alden was kind enough to host the Birthday Party at the family ranch in Napa. A most spectacular location up in the beautiful hills, the ranch is home to Alden's parents, as well as their pets.
Onc of their two dogs is this little Scottish Terrier, Tartan. He is about the same size as Elbee and appeared to think she was quite special! This picture of him, next to the plaid blanket at his owner's feet, was too precious for Moe to pass up!
Naturally, Denali was there too.
As was Denali's maternal Grandfather, Alden's sweet boy, Dunkey (Duncan). Seeing them together, we don't have to wonder where Denali gets her beautiful face!
We've been related to Alden by dogs for quite a number of years. It was wonderful to see her again, to meet her son, Ian (Fig's Boy), and to see our canine family members together. Officially, the senior member of the group, Duncan is 13 years old now, and just as sweet as I remember!
Of course Cappy's human parents were there. Here's Denise with Malibu. Denise took a lot of great pictures of the dogs playing together, so we'll be looking for them on Trenton's blog soon!
Here's Trenton, with our boy, Sage. If Sage is looking a little tired here, it is because he and Cappy and Fig were running and wrestling non-stop from the time they hit the ground at the ranch. It went on for a good couple of hours and was exhausting just to watch! They had SO much fun together!
They did find time to pause for Birthday Cake however. To commemorate the first year of these three Tree Litter boys, I made them a Meat Cake! Four layers, beef, chicken, talapia (fish), and chicken gizzards, mixed with a variety of about seven different vegetables, topped with liver crumble "frosting." It was a real hit with all of the canine guests, and there was plenty leftover for an after-party food fest the next day.
Of course, the humans all had to play party games. This one was How Many Corgis can you Fit on a Table? Several of us took multiple pictures of this little group, so you're likely to see them appearing on other blogs too! From left to right: Captain, Malibu, Sage, Fig and Duncan.
The group shots were great, each one slightly different.
Our party took place on the back balcony/deck of the ranch house. The views looking out over the Napa Valley were absolutely tremendous. The ranch is located on a little slice of Heaven. Thanks again Alden, this was a perfect way to celebrate the many gifts of the day!
NOTE: Moe took the pictures above, as well as a number of others. To see all of his pictures from the day , click here.
And...to see Denise's photos, visit Trenton's blog, click here.