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Dedicated to Bart, who had the Most Beautiful Tail

"It's very simple. Dogs and cats and other talented animals have tails; their tails, with their thousands of flourishes, provide them with a wonderfully complex language of arabesques, not only for what they think and feel and suffer, but for every mood and vibration in their feeling tone. We have no tails, and since the more lively among us need some form of expression, we make ourselves paintbrushes and pianos and violins..."

Hermann Hesse

Monday, March 29, 2010

RE Title Day!

RE Title at the morning show!
Leg #1 of our RAE in the afternoon!

Congratulations to C-Myste Denali, RE, CGC
Details & Photos below:

Whew...busy week with RE leg 2 in Vallejo on Thursday, followed by B2B trials, morning and afternoon, in Petaluma on Sunday - our first time showing outdoors!

All of the sights, sounds and smells of an outdoor course were a bit distracting for Denali. Although we've been to outdoor matches, it has been awhile and the setup here was unlike anything you could replicate for a variety of reasons.

Nonetheless, Denali got her RE Title at the morning show, placing second in a small Excellent-A class. She didn't have her best round, score 86, and I couldn't figure out why she seemed hesitant and simply refused to do some of the exercises - easy things she knows well. We had to repeat some stations, but got through.

In the afternoon, we made our first attempt at an RAE leg. The course was a good one, nothing she can't do really well. But again, she was hesitant. This time I discovered the reason: It was quite breezy and she was spooked by the wind blowing the colored tape that marked the ring perimeter. Every time we had an exercise near the edge of the ring, she wanted to move away from the tape. Again, we mustered through. She actually did much better overall, but simply refused to do one station that was right at the edge of the ring, costing us an IP. Her score was 88. Without that IP (on something she usually does easily) we'd have been the winners! Oh well, another learning experience.

During the break between the Advanced and the Excellent rounds, I walked Denali around the outside of the ring. I had her walk right next to the colored tape in the corner where she seemed to most uneasy. We stopped and did some sits next to it, for which she was rewarded with a favorite treat. I explained to her that the tape was of no concern and she seemed calmer.

At our final round, the Excellent B competition (our first time in the EX-B group), she was the third dog to show. This time I had "my rally dog" back! When we crossed the Finish line I heard murmurs of "beautiful" and "nice job" coming from those waiting to show next! I knew we'd done well. Sure enough, Denali posted a class-high score of 98, overcoming her fear of the ring tape and settling in to her old groove!

But this was a field of over 20 dogs, many of them beautifully trained in formal obedience. When the dust settled, there were SIX dogs with a score of 98 points! Sadly, we didn't have a fast enough time to place. Against dogs such as the standard poodle, the lab, the German Shepherd, and the Chessie retriever, those little cardi legs weren't quite long enough! But no matter...a winning score is a winning score in my book and I was thrilled with her final performance!

For the day, Denali received her fair share of lovely ribbons.

The club that sponsored the morning event also gave medallions for those achieving titles. Very fitting for our RE Title!

In addition to their showy ribbons, the morning sponsor also awarded toys to the top four. Denali snagged this cute little bear that will definitely catch Sage's attention too!

We took some pictures to commemorate our RE Title after the morning show.

Congratulations Denali - you did an awesome job today!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Our Head-Shaker Day on the Rally Course!

Warning - long post, probably boring if you're not a Rally enthusiast.

Yesterday was definitely one of those days that Penni mentioned in her comments on the prior post - you just smile, shake your head and go forward. That is exactly what I did when the judge handed me the third place ribbon. It felt really "wrong" to take it after such a poor showing.

Afterward, I did get a sanity check upon seeing that almost every dog to show after us had the same significant sniffing issues in that same area. Two of the Advanced dogs were so distracted by it that they couldn't regain focus and had to be excused. So it wasn't just us...whew!

I was relieved to finally leave the ring. But I was genuinely shocked to see that we had actually still qualified with our 79 (all-time-low) score. And due to the low entry, it gave us third place. Seriously, I just had to laugh!

On the way out, we did stop for a "consolation prize." I saw these pretty braided leather leashes in all colors. They're nice soft leather and I have not seen this vendor at other we picked out a dusty lavender/pale mustard leash. (Will make our Honor exercises look good - especially if we have to spend extra time in the ring again.) :-)

Moving forward, we are not scheduled for the rest of the Vallejo shows this weekend. After seeing how tired Denali was after the 5:00AM wake-up yesterday, I am really glad we didn't try to do it again today.

We get a break and try again on Sunday - show time 10:30AM...yes! There were two big shows in our area on the same weekend. Sunday is a back-to-back event, so one long drive, versus two in Vallejo. Hoping for the RE Title leg in the morning and have an insurance leg in the PM if things go crazy again! Best case, a first RAE leg in the afternoon!

More Corgis on a Table!

In a continuing series of How Many Cardigan Welsh Corgis can you Fit on a Table, we captured these shots at the dog show in Vallejo yesterday.

The photographer (me) had a little fun with the group. I never told them when I was going to take the picture and just snapped away while they attempted to "pose" three active "puppies," and two adults who just weren't sure about the whole deal.

Technically Fig and Cappy are no longer puppies, but they sure act like it! Add Watson's electric personality and you spell trouble in triple digits! Dogs from left: Denali, Captain, Watson, Fig, Duncan. Love Alden's expression in this one!

People from left: Trenton, Alden (attempting to hide due to a bad-hair day), and Alden's daughter, Teddy.

Denali had been up since the wee hours of the morning, and sacrificed breakfast due to her early show time. She thought that the boyz were cute, but was more interested in the food waiting for her in the cooler in the car. Look close and you'll see that she is sticking her tongue out at Cappy. He seems to be curious as to why her tongue doesn't fit in her mouth. (We've all been wondering the same thing since she was a puppy!)

As Alden continues to attempt subterfuge regarding her involvement with this process, Watson thinks it is a game and wants to declare his "win" by finding her in the back row. Meanwhile Denali contemplates the jump to freedom, while Fig and Duncan both see other sights of interest.

Posing nicely, this little vignette of Teddy with senior citizen, Duncan, was too sweet not to crop and feature.

Captain - Photos from Thursday's Show

Nice job for Best of Winners and another point! Ears up Cappy! You'll soon be a Champion!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Long Day at the Dog Show

Our day started before 5:00AM. Showing in Rally at 8:00AM, with a big drive to Vallejo - right at commute time - and inclement weather in the mix, made for a long day. These pictures were taken of Denali around 10:00AM, while we watched Captain in his conformation showing.

First it's the Big Yawn

Almost asleep...sitting up!

OK, I'll smile for a picture.
(Now can I eat and sleep?)

While it was a rocky ride, we did earn our second Rally Excellent leg at today's show, with an all-time low score (79), but still a third place finish. More details to come in tomorrow's Rally Journal.

As always...I get the Best Prize: Denali comes home with me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Who's that on the Other Side of the Bannister?

This evening Sage and Denali were hanging out on the stairs. I hung out with them for awhile and got some cool pictures. The following sequence of Sage, with one of his all-time favorite toys, the stuffie ball, speaks for itself. (You'll know when he's tired of having his picture taken.)

He is SUCH a big puppy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Denali's Got Mail!

Now it's official!

C-Myste Denali, RA, CGC

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Not Allowed on the Bed!

And if you believe that, I've got a bridge...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photo Assistant

Some friends gave me a wonderful new running shirt. I LOVE what it says on the front. Anyone who is a "runner" will really appreciate it!

Shortly after I laid it on the floor in order to take a picture, my photo assistant showed up. Naturally, it takes a "white dog" to help with a black shirt!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Denali is "Blue" Today

This afternoon Denali and I got our first Rally Excellent leg at a small, local specialty trial for herding breeds only. It was great to see so many of the herders together. It was a really small trial. We had only one other dog in the Ex-A class with us, a gorgeous rough-coat collie. Gotta love those placement odds!

Denali snagged the big blue ribbon with a score of 93.

Still some work to do on the three steps back, but we knew that going in. She was the only corgi in the entire group of rally entries - but one of a number of beautiful black and white dogs!

There were some facility-related challenges on this one. It was in a very small building, so the ring and judge's table occupied the entire interior space. That meant that the dogs had no opportunity to see the space until it was time for them to perform in the ring. It is also a dance we had full-length mirrors on three walls. The lack of ability to acclimate to the space, and the mirrors, kind of freaked some of the dogs and several had to be excused as a result, while others showed a distinct lack of concentration.

But when you have short legs, you're not quite tall enough to see yourself in the mirrors, which started at about 18" off the floor (yeah for 5" legs!). Walking right into a new room and being expected to jump right into the course was a little disorienting for a curious girl like Denali. Consequently, we lost a few "out of position" points because she was trying to look around as she negotiated the course.

But over all, she did really well and conquered the formerly-scary high jump without hesitation. Once again, I was very proud of my gorgeous girl!

Hopefully we'll be able to party with Cappy, his parents, Denise and Trenton, and Alden, Fig and Watson in Vallejo on March 25 when we try for our second RE leg!