Monday, September 29, 2014

Mish Mash Monday

My sisters and me at the National Air Force museum for the dedication of this year's Ad Astra stones, including one for our father.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Beckett - Award of Merit!!!!

This past weekend Beckett got his Bronze Award of Merit at a Morning Star Dog Academy trial. The title is granted to a dog that has earned ten qualifying scores in the Master Standard event and twenty-five qualifying scores in the Masters Games events. That might not sound like a lot but first you have to get into Masters and then you have to earn your Agility Trial Champion (ATChC) title as the Award of Merit is a post-ATChC award. Some people earn it faster than we did that's for sure but most of them trial a lot more than us and their Q rate is probably better than ours. After being injured this past spring I didn't think we would see this goal being reached this year but Beckett got three Master Standard Q's out of  four Standard events. That's much better than our average Q rate which I would estimate is about 20% to 30% even less for Master Gamblers.

This was the course that gave Beckett his 10th Master Std Q, he already had the 25 Games Q's. It wasn't the prettiest of runs, I wasn't sure we had even Q'd as out of the chute Beckett headed to the tire (obstacle 10) and I had to call him back for the teeter. I wasn't sure if we had been called either for a refusal or for not having a good line to the teeter. The rest of the course ran quite well. I worried about the tunnel (obstacle 14) after the dog walk, I thought Beckett might spin too much and get a refusal, but he was good. He did one spin off the dog walk and then scooted right into the tunnel. Unfortunately, you'll have to trust me on how it went as only half of the run is on the video; the person who was videoing the run tried to zoom and accidentally shut off the video. The next Standard run was a train wreck, one refusal, one knocked bar and an off course so thankfully we already had the Q for the title. I should say the two titles as with this one Q, he also earned his Expert Bronze Standard title for the 10 Std Q's.

We also did two Master Snooker runs. The first one I thought was our best chance for getting a Q but Beckett knocked a bar in the closing and so we were out before we had enough points. Snooker is so unforgiving that way; as soon as you fault in the close you're done and there are many ways to be whistled off in the opening too.

The next Snooker was quite a difficult course. When I walked the course, I decided we were just going in to have fun so I didn't focus on my plan as much as I normally would have. I didn't think that I could get to the end of the straight tunnel in time to get him to the tire without having him start to spin on me. Just before I went in to run, I changed my plan and decided I would just run to the tire and cross behind him on the landing side of the tire. So with that I got him through obstacle 4 then in the few seconds until the first jump of obstacle 5, I had to recall what direction to take 5a. Luckily my memory didn't fail me; it was a lucky thing that while walking the course another competitor thought the jump was numbered incorrectly so we had taken a last look at the course map. I also wasn't sure about which way to take obstacle 7, the combination obstacles are usually multi-directional in the opening but as numbered in the close but I just did what seemed right and waited for the whistle which didn't come. We had enough points after 6 to Q so it wasn`t a big risk. Another Q for Beckett, he now needs only two more Master Snooker Q's for his Bronze Expert in that event.

The day before Keltic also had a good day at a More Dogz Starter and Advanced trial. While he didn`t get a Starter Standard Q, he did get an Advanced Snooker Q in his first time out in that event at the Advanced level.  

I did, red jump, frame, red jump, obstacle 6 (jump, tunnel, jump), red jump and obstacle 6 again before starting the close. Keltic missed his weave entry so we were whistled out then but we already had enough points to Q. 

Overall another awesome agility weekend and the weather was beautiful too. The only down side was that it was my last weekend before going back to work after 5 weeks off. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Awesome Agility Weekend

We went to Paws 4 Fun Agility's first trial this past weekend. They are a new club in the area and are located only about an hours drive from my house. They also host the K9 Kup that Keltic and I take part in, This is their first year at this location, last year they used fields that belonged to another club for the K9 Kup so they didn't host any sanctioned competitions. I wasn't sure about entering this trial as we were just getting back from our vacation and neither Beckett or Keltic had done any agility in weeks, nearly a month for Keltic. I thought they might be absolutely crazy.

Saturday was Advanced and Starter events. I entered Keltic in Advanced Gambler, Starter Standard and Starter Snooker. First up was Advanced Gambler, I thought this run would be just to give Keltic a run where he could just blow off some energy. Surprisingly he ran well and although he didn't do the mini gamble, he did the final Gambler, where he had to get out to a jump, stay out to take a tunnel and then on to a final jump. It was his first Advanced Gamblers Q.

The next run was the Starter Std, I thought he had missed all of his contacts, the little monkey made no effort what so ever to slow down when I said target. It turned out that he had at least touched every contact zone. The only faults he had was for getting off the table. Something caught his attention when he got on the table and he just had to get off and sniff. He did get the best run for all regular dogs in this event as he had the fewest faults.

Next was the Starter Snooker, Keltic needed a Q in this run for his Starter Games title. I planned a course that used all four reds and was fairly smooth and I just hoped he wouldn't take down any bars. We did the first red and I got him in the tunnel. The judge was standing near the end of the tunnel, I think that helped Keltic get a little better line for the next jump. I told him to target on the dog walk and this time the monkey leaped off. The rest of the course ran really nice. The dog walk was the last obstacle of the close, I hoped that he would hit the yellow, if he didn't we would be one point short for a Q. This time Keltic was a good boy and slowed down when I told him to target and waited until I gave him his release to get off the dog walk.

We had to wait until the next day to get our title ribbon as the club forgot to bring the box with the title ribbons to the field. I was okay with that since I was back on Sunday for Beckett's runs.

I told Beckett that he had to live up to his little brother but Beckett had other ideas and wasn't about to let Keltic show him up. Beckett's first run was a Standard, it wasn't very pretty. I had changed shoes from the day before and they didn't have a lot of grip on the wet grass. As a result, I got behind Beckett a couple times so he started spinning but luckily each time he did we had enough space to get him set up again for the next obstacle without incurring any refusals. Pretty or not it was a Q, the course was 172 yards and the course time was 59 seconds and Beckett ran it in 46.51. 

The next run was another Standard. This one ran really nice. There were places where I could have done a better job in handling. Before the dog walk I called Beckett in a bit too hard and the front cross before the A-frame was late but both times Beckett saved me. This course wheeled a 177 yards with a course time of 61 seconds. Beckett ran the course in 40.32 seconds. Two runs, two Q's, one last run to go.

The last run was a Masters Snooker. We like Snooker but it is very unforgiving in the close anyway, as soon as you fault you're done. But in the opening there are no refusals so we can try things that I wouldn't do in a Standard course. I planned for Beckett a course with two sets of weaves in the opening so we started on the far side and did obstacle 3 then the back red to the weaves, then the red jump near the 7 obstacle and back to the weaves then on to the close. It ran great. Beckett did the course I had planned in 48.92 seconds getting 45 points. You need to accumulate at least 40 points in a 55 seconds to Q.

What a weekend! Six runs, five Q's, five best runs! Keltic got his first title and with a five fault Std, his second agility title looks like it won't be too far away. Beckett now only needs one more Standard Q for his Bronze Expert Standard title and for Bronze Award of Merit. Looking forward to this weekend.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer by the Sea

 After Nationals, we headed off to Shediac for two weeks holiday by the sea. I had rented one cottage for a week and once my sister decided to come with me, we extended our time and rented another cottage for the second week.

The first cottage I have rented now for three summers. It is walking distance from the marina where there is a gift shop, an ice cream shop and two restaurants. It is also not far from the beach that is just outside of  Parlee Beach Provincial Park and because it is outside of the park you can take dogs there. The first week was pretty busy with various comings and goings of my sisters, nieces, nephew and brother-in-law. Annette and I did go on a cruise of Shediac Bay.

Point du Chene wharf


Returning to the Point Du Chene wharf

We also went to Hopewell Rocks. It's a dog friendly attraction in New Brunswick. It is located in the Bay of Fundy where you have some of the world's highest tides so that at low tide you can walk on the ocean floor.

My nieces

The Flower Pots

Me with Beckett and Keltic
Sisters and nieces

We also had some time to walk on the beach and enjoy dinners out. And, in between activities, we also visited with my Mum.

Seafood casserole

Mandarin Salad
Beckett visits with Grandma

Annette and Mum

Amber and Annette

Keltic - the water isn't too bad

Beckett - Frisbeeholic

The next week after changing cottages, Annette and I had some time to do some other tourist-type things. We went to Le Pays de la Sagouine (Roughly translated as "country of the wise woman"), the Bouctouche Dunes, the Irving Plantation and Memorial Chapel.

La Sagouine is a character created by author Antoinne Maillet. La Sagouine and other characters created by the author embody the spirit of the Acadian culture. The books and the plays are world famous in francophone regions. Le Pays de la Sagouine is a tourist attraction in Bouctouche where the characters from the books come to life. Daily from June to September, there is music and theatrical skits on the little island called Ile de Puces (Flea island), except for an English presentation everything is in French. I understood about 60% of what was said but had to translate for my sister still the music is fun and the characters are funny.

Le Pays de la Sagouine
Dorys in the water of Bouctouche Bay
Acadian  Flag vests

The Acadian Flag

We also went to the Bouctouche Dunes and the Irving Plantation. The Irvings are a very wealthy family in New Brunswick, the patriarch Kenneth C Irving (known as KC) was born  in Bouctouche. The family still has connections there and KC and his wife are buried in the cemetery by the chapel on the grounds of the plantation. The Bouctouche Dunes is a nature center  funded by the Irving family. The dunes are 12 km long and you are welcome to use the beach; there are changing rooms and washrooms at the information center but most people just do the boardwalk. The boardwalk was nearly twice as long a few years ago but in 2010, winter storms destroyed over a kilometre of the boardwalk.

KC Irving Memorial Chapel

Interior of the Chapel

Gardens in the Irving Plantation

Boardwalk at the Bouctouche Dunes

Bouctouche Dunes

Annette and I also had another evening on the beach with the dogs. It was at low tide so you could walk out and play on the sand bars. Beckett enjoyed playing Frisbee and Keltic enjoying chasing birds and a large motorized kite.

On one of our visits to see Mum, we stopped and walked the Riverfront Park trail. It's a trail that runs on both sides of the Petitcodiac river, we did the Riverview side but it also runs along the river on the Moncton side too.

The second last night of our holiday after visiting with Mum we stayed in town and had dinner so we could see the Twilight Teaser, a small taste of the air show that was on that weekend which was being staged along the water front. Part of the Twilight Teaser included some fireworks dropped by a hang glider and then by two acrobatic planes.

Our last day was a visit to Mum and to the cemetery where my Dad is buried. It always seems that the time goes by so quickly, you just arrive and it's time to go home.

We didn't get a good day for us to have a beach day so after getting back to my place and taking a day to relax, Annette and I went to the local water park Calypso.

I'm still on vacation but I go back to work next Monday. It will certainly be hard to get up on Monday morning.