I'm quite happy to announce that, were I the type of person who puts her dogs' names and titles in the signature of her emails, I would now have two more letters to put next to Lucy's name: TM. Last weekend at the Blue Ridge Agility Club USDAA trial we finally got the second DAM team leg we needed to complete the Tournament Master title. It was our third try for that second leg, and we made it by the skin of our teeth. In fact, I was flabbergasted when I heard our team name ("Will Work For Food") announced as the 7th place finisher (the lowest placement that qualified,) because up until the team relay we had been floundering down around 11th place. But all three of us rocked the relay course, which constitutes a huge portion of the points, while many other higher-ranked teams sustained one or more eliminations. So I guess the moral of this story is not to give up or get discouraged or something or other.
Lucy ran really well for me all weekend, and we had some really nice runs, two of which actually qualified: one in Masters Pairs (our fifth, which means we got that title as well), and one in Masters Standard. Those knocked out two of the five legs we need for the ADCH, which means now all we need in one more Standard and two Gamblers. I think ... I need to double-check these things because I've gotten it wrong in the past
Two of our runs were really awesome except for one problem: Lucy was shying away from the teeter. The first time was in Snooker on Saturday, when she hopped off the teeter in the opening. I was able to get her to complete it, but when we came around to it in the closing, she hopped off again and since in the closing that becomes a refusal, our run ended two points short. She ran the teeter correctly in Standard later Saturday and again Sunday morning, but then during the Grand Prix she ran right past it. I circled her around and got her on it, but then she jumped right off again. Knowing I wasn't going to fix whatever it was right there at the trial, I just decided to keep going, and she really smoked the rest of our course. If it hadn't been for the teeter I would have counted that as one of our best runs ever.
So now I'm wondering: whats up with Lucy's teeter? She had some issues at another trial last month, but in practice and trials at our "home" field she's been fine. So I was thinking that perhaps there's something about "away" teeters that feels or looks different to her, making her a little spooked by them. But then after I got home from the trial I read this interview with Lis' Kristoff at the USDAA site (if you haven't read it already, be warned: it's sort of a tear-jerker), and she mentioned that her dog Diva, who had knee problems, had some issues from the jarring of the teeter. So now I'm wondering if perhaps the teeter is sometimes painful for Lucy. The times she's had problems with it have been on packed dirt and sand, which are probably a little less shock-absorbing than our grassy training field.
So I made an appointment for Lucy to get an evaluation by Dr. John Sherman at VetHab. I'm hoping that it will rule out my hypothesis because he'll say "Oh, she's in fine shape," but considering that she just turned 10 years old, that might not be the case. Whatever it is I won't find out for another week because he can't see her until next Wednesday.
In Pinky news, she has gone into heat. I hope that as I write this her little hormones are sending cease and desist signals to her growth plates. I made great strides in getting her to hang out next to the measuring wicket over the weekend, but I didn't want to undo all my hard work by actually bringing the wicket arm all the way down to her withers. So the only thing I can say at this point is that she's definitely under 17 inches tall ... she may actually be under 16, but I can't say for sure. She looks shorter than a friend's dog who measures exactly 16 inches, so I'm still holding out hope that I'll end up with a 16" jumper.