It has been a long time since I posted, having been gone every weekend for a dog event or visit with old friends. In between, I am involved in a frenzy of shipping, trying to get the bulbs taken care of and get a batch of orders shipped before I leave home. We have only two agility trials each year in the county where I live, so competing means traveling. Some months it is impossible because of work pressures, other months it is merely difficult. It is never easy. This last month there has been a trial within a reasonable distance (five to seven hours of driving), so off we went. This last weekend was a three day AKC trial in Medford, Oregon, and was one I didn't want to miss, since almost everyone from my dog training group was going, plus, being Halloween, they were having a costume competition for the dogs. Now, my sewing skills are minimal, and I am not going to dress up my dogs, but I appreciate the ridiculous, so I was looking forward to this event. After all, aren't most sports absurd? Devoting your life to hitting a ball over a net, or scaling vertical rocks, or jumping out of planes? Driving to Medford, the weather was miserable, but we were treated to this Roosevelt elk grazing in a front yard.
I do not enter my male, Willie, in AKC. It is just too stressful for him, but he went along to soak up the atmosphere and give support. My dogs know the difference between the trials held by the various agility organizations. They really don't like AKC, so we do far fewer of those trials. Why? I just don't know. I would have to get inside those little doggie heads to figure it out. Friends have told me it must be me, and I thought that possible, but I have got over my ringside jitters and feel very relaxed at shows. The courses this last weekend were very straightforward, and well within our abilities. Hannah, however, decided that since it was Halloween, the judge (who follows you around while you are running the course) was a werewolf disguised as an AKC judge, and that each time he approached us to see if we were performing the obstacle correctly, he was going to clamp down on her throat. This did not improve our performance. We had two very good runs, one quite brilliant, and placed second in those. They were both on courses where you don't stop or pause, so obviously she ran like the wind to get away from that werewolf and we did really well. Here we all are walking the course to memorize it and plan our strategies.
The costume contest was at the end of the trial. The winner is seen here to the left. Her dog was a squirrel, and she was the tree. Seems a little risky dressing your dog up as a squirrel with all those squirrel-chasing dogs around. Apparently, they knew the difference.
On the way home the sun came out and the autumn colors were beautiful, so we stopped for a picnic on the Rogue River and a short hike. Driving across the Eel River approaching Ferndale, the pale disc of the full moon was rising in the east above the mountains, while, in perfect symmetry, a great orange sun was setting on the western horizon. A great welcome home.