Tuesday, October 1, 2013

FINALLY we get to talk about AGILITY

Today's category is...........drum roll please............. AGILITY.

The main reason we go to Pug Nationals is for agility, for sure. Mom loves to visit her friends, we love to show in Rally, but the "big deal" for all of us is for the agility trial, that is held on Wednesday of the week of Nationals.

Almost 10 years ago, a group of dedicated Pug agility folks convinced the national Pug club to put on their first trial. Not many people had seen agility in person, and there weren't many Pugs running agility. I wasn't even born yet!

But mom stepped up, with her friend Donna, and agreed to be in charge. The first trial was wet (it was in Washington state and had poured the night before), crazy (a helicopter was hovering low a few yards away during one of the runs, and the trial had to be put on hold until it was gone), poopy (there was goose poop everywhere, which had to be cleaned up before we ran. You know Pugs and eating gross things off the ground) and muddy (more than one handler ran out of their shoes when they got stuck in the muddy ground). But they were so grateful that the club was offering agility, they didn't care.

The group shot from this year

But it brought Pug agility folks from all over the country together, and formed a bond that is still strong to this day. Every year the trial gets bigger and better.

Some of the beautiful ribbons to be won

On to this year's trial: Mom and Donna were in charge again, and that meant last minute scrambling to tie up all the loose ends that are part of putting on a trial. We headed to the show site bright and early, and mom was off and running.

Our participation prizes from last year

The day was a blur, but here are some highlights:

1. Meme and Joe (Donna's husband) stepped up and ran a great hospitality and raffle table
2. We had 44 Pugs entered
3. We had 25 handlers running
4. We had 117 agility runs
5. 56 of those runs were qualifying runs
6. 15 states were represented
7. 18 Pugs over the age of 7 were entered
8. The judge was great. She cheered each and every run

Everybody did so good, that they ran out of qualifying ribbons!

Here are some personal highlights:
1. Arnie got another Jumpers leg, giving him another leg towards his MXJ-P
2. I rocked the course! I qualified in all 4 of my runs (a miracle, considering I've never even double Q'd before, let alone quadruple Q'd), with 2 first places.
3. Arnie and I managed to run even though we literally sat in our crates until 2 minutes before we had to run; pee, warm up, run, got back in to the crate. But we're trained professionals, so we did our jobs just fine.

Waiting (sort of) patiently for our runs

All in all, a great day. We're already planning for next year, when we get to go to Kentucky!

Here's some shots of Arnie running:

Off and running

Great shot of Arnie

Weaving, weaving

Here I come!

Arnie loves to leap out of the chute

A little close to the edge, there, dude

BIG jump

Now shots of me running:

Cutest butt ever

Full extension

Driving through those weave poles

Banking the turns, with tail as a rudder

Hit that yellow and RUN

Gaining speed

Don't worry, the ears don't drag me down

Perfectly centered

That's a big jump

Maximum efficiency for turning

Where are you, mom?

Check out the takeoff

I can jump!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tally-Ho for Rally-O

Today's category is RALLY.

What is Rally, you might ask? It's an AKC event, that is sort of a cross between obedience and agility, that serves as a gateway to regular obedience.

1. The dog is sort of scored, but the handler is the main focus with regards to scoring.
2. Scoring is more generous than in traditional obedience.
3. There are stations that handler and dog must perform (the number of stations depends on the level entered). Novice has 10-15 stations.
4. There are 3 Levels - Novice, Advanced and Excellent.
5. In Novice, dogs are on leash. In Advanced and Excellent, the dogs are off leash.
6. The exercises are a variety of exercises that you might have to perform in obedience, as well as extra exercises that you would perform to practice. There are turns, changes of pace, sits, downs, and recalls, in all sorts of configurations.

Learn more about Rally here.

Arnie was entered in Rally at the Nationals this year. I entered last year, and got a qualifying score, but I was entered in 4 classes of agility, and mom wanted to give Arnie something "special" that he could do (he was only entered in 2 classes of agility). That, and I tend to be a little nuts when I can't run at full speed in a ring.

The green footing was VERY interesting, and just HAD to be sniffed

Woops, almost missed going around that cone

Getting it together

Yup, I'm paying attention now, mom

Sitting with attention. A little crooked, but passable

The inside 270 degree turn is really hard

High stepping in heel position

Perfect position

Watching carefully for the next command

Heeling nicely to the finish line

There were 2 days of Rally, and Arnie qualified on both days. Not bad for very little practice, and no experience in a Rally ring at all. His performance was a little crazy, but overall he was a very good boy.

Next up: AGILITY!!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Race around Nashville

The category today is A RACE AROUND NASHVILLE.

Mom's a big Amazing Race fan. She's been watching since the second episode, and has never missed one.

She loves the concept, and enjoys seeing the sights and traditions that the world has to offer. All from the comfort of her own couch.

She'd love to compete on the Race, but there are a few reasons why she never will:

1. She hates to fly
2. Until she acclimates to a location, she has no sense of direction
3. She won't eat gross food
4. She's afraid of heights
5. She won't jump off of high places
6. She's afraid of enclosed spaces

We were just walking around the beautiful park in Nashville, minding our own business...

What does our trip to Tennessee have to do with the Amazing Race? Well, while we were there, we were approached by two girls, both wearing numbers, to take their picture in front of a statue. We asked what they were up to, and they explained it was "like the Amazing Race, but in cities around the country".

They continued on down the list of tasks they had to accomplish and we helped them with:

1. Shake hands with a dog
2. Take a picture with someone from out-of-state showing their license

After we helped them out, we waved goodbye to them, and continued on our walk around the Tennessee state capitol.

Cooling off at the capitol

Then we heard "can you take our picture in front of this statue"? and we knew just what to do. After the picture, we told them we had the dog for shaking hands, and they acted surprised. Apparently, they were just going down the list, one by one, and hadn't gotten to that one yet.

We jumped in and helped them with:

1. Shake hands with a dog
2. Hug a stranger
3. Take a picture with someone from out-of-state showing their license

We couldn't help them out with:
1. Take a picture of someone doing a handstand

Again, we continued on with our sightseeing, then had some lunch.

As we were waiting to cross the street, we heard "WE WON! WE WON!" We all turned to look and it was the second team, that we had "coached" with their race. They had won first place, and were so excited to run into us to thank us.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Mom may not ever run the real Amazing Race, but she played a part in a Race around Nashville.

Next up: Rally-O

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Eating our way through Tennessee

As promised, our category today is FOOD.

Mom had heard that Memphis was quite a foodie town, so the plan was to stop there for lunch on the first day. She yelped, urbanspooned and googled, and came away with Central BBQ as the place to visit.

They have three locations, and we chose the midtown restaurant (for no particular reason). First step was to make sure that they allowed dogs. Not only did they allow dogs, but they found us a table, brought us water, and made a huge fuss over us the whole time we were there. Already a win, but then the food arrived. Simply put, it was some of the most delicious BBQ mom has ever had. She got a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and fries, and it was delicious. Well, we had to take her word for it on the pork, since she wouldn't share any of it with us. But we got fries, and yes, they were deelish.

Her sandwich, already half eaten

This is us, waiting for some fries to come our way

On to Nashville, and the next afternoon, after walking around seeing the sights, we stopped for lunch along Music Row. There aren't many dog-friendly places, but mom spotted a place with an outside patio and asked if we could sit there. Again, the answer was "of course", and water and attention was given to us the whole time. The food was pretty good, but the humans ordered salads, so seriously- how good could that really be? Mom really enjoyed this place, because she could hear the singer inside, and she really liked his music.

Great music was inside this place

The view from the patio

Our table

More view from the table

Once we got to the host hotel in Chattanooga eating was hit or miss, because of the busy schedule that mom runs under. But she did get to sample some good food while she was there.

We didn't get to go on any sightseeing adventures while we were there (too hot), but the humans did find the Hair of the Dog Pub, that served great pub food (and mom got her Guinness). It was outside on a lovely patio, and the service was great. For the record, they were dog-friendly.)

Eating and drinking with pug friends

Across the street from the hotel was the Terminal Brewhouse that the humans visited a few times. They made a mean pizza, had their own beer, and the restaurant was in a historical building.

Mom and Meme also drove to visit her friend, and he found a really quaint little town that boasted a great restaurant right on the main drag. Again, they sat out on the patio. The food was great, and the service just as good. She'll fill you in the visit, so suffice it to say, they ate. Again.

That's it on the food category. There was good eats the whole time, with plenty to share with two very well-behaved pugs.

Next up: A race around Nashville!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Great Tennessee Adventure

Arnie and I had a great adventure last week. It involved Pugs, agility, eating, mom's mom, good friends and lots of driving. We all attended the Pug Dog Club of America's National Specialty in Tennessee.

Instead of going step-by-step, I'm going to recap our adventure into categories.

We'll start with DRIVING.

Mom started by driving to the airport to pick up her mom (we call her Meme). She was flying in from NY to travel with mom on our adventure.

On Friday night, our Texas agility friend, Puggles and her mom Willie, drove to our house and spent the night.

Meme and Willie at the Texas/Arkansas border

Very early Saturday morning, we all loaded into the van and hit the road. We drove to Memphis first. Then spent the night in Nashville. Then on to our final destination, Chattanooga. The van stayed parked for the most part while we were at the show, but mom did drive to meet her best friend from high school, who lives a few hours away.

Meme! Keep your eyes on the road!

The next Saturday, Willie and mom (Meme had already hopped a plane to fly back to her house) drove 850 miles straight back to Texas. We were bored out of our minds, and only got out of the van to potty, get a drink and snack a little.

The view most of the way

States we drove through on our trip: Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia.

Tomorrow's category is FOOD!