One of the interesting effects of having the employment that I do, is that generally weekends are quite busy for me, and weekdays are much more laid back. Currently, I only have 3 weekly classes, and none of them are huge. Whereas, last weekend I spent 4 days in a row teaching 9 to 5, which I enjoy, but I freely admit after 4 days I was pretty exhausted, and so was Strafe! He is a great little helper dog while I talk and stays in his corner while everyone runs, at attention in case I need him to demonstrate something. So he is tired afterwards too. I'm glad I am able to come home and rest afterwards.
We had a great time teaching in Minnesota for MAC and hope to go back around Tryouts time, linking the trips together!
On that note: Tryouts information was released; they kept the easy, simple qualifications for EO Team (simply being in the highest level of competition, basically), and cut the qualifications for AWC Team in half! This means that while I thought we needed 2 more legs in Jumpers, we actually already have everything we need! So i can relax over the winter and not worry about it. We are going to do a little bit of USDAA to get some Q's for 2014, although I'm not 100% sure I'm going. Right now I'm leaning towards yes but that could still change. USDAA as an organization (well, it's really run by one person, as we all know!), has just been a bit annoying lately, with the utter failure to listen to the competitors. Changing things arbitrarily and then realizing after the fact that they've changed something nobody wanted, while still ignoring the changes many people do want. AKC has its own flaws, sure, but they do seem to respond to the wishes of the majority a bit more quickly, and even has a somewhat democratic process going with the ability submit recommendations for changes, and accepting feedback on them as well.
Off track. Anyway. This weekend have local AKC. This weekend will be just a bit of training for Strafe since he's all done for Nationals and Tryouts. Kiba needs one more QQ so I'll be focusing more on her, to see if we can get that done. This is her first outdoor trial in several years, so I'm not really sure how her vision will hold up, as far as her jumping goes. We train outside here at home all the time, but I do catch her squinting in the sun an awful lot so I suspect super bright sunlight is a bit uncomfortable for her. If she struggles too much I will scratch her, but I'm crossing my fingers that the conditions being similar to training will actually help and maybe we'll get that last QQ out of the way!
After that, the following weekend I'm in Canada to teach, then I come home and just a day after that I start my 2 week road trip - Raleigh to Atlanta to TN for USDAA then home again! I am taking everyone except Drifter who will stay home with my mother. Seri gets to come along just to hang out and play around. Who knows, maybe if they have dock diving she'll give it a try, or something! (I don't think I would try that agility hybrid lure coursing with her... just looks a little too dangerous!)
I am also beginning to have some solid plans for a puppy to come home this summer. It was a really tough choice for me to turn down a puppy from Strafe's mother, but after a lot of thinking I would like to have an unrelated dog this time. First reason being, if I can get a fabulous girl who has strengths where Strafe has weaknesses and vice versa, I could breed them for the next generation of nice dogs around here. And the other reason is that perhaps it is better to have an unrelated dog and not risk comparing it to Strafe, at least this early in Strafe's awesome career anyway! I'm not really excited to have 5 dogs in the house again, but honestly 4 is not so bad; 5 will be doable. If the litter I'm considering does not work out, I will take my time finding something else - having Strafe means I am not in a hurry. 4 years between dogs would be a nice amount of time, and Strafe doesn't turn 4 for another year yet.
Drifter turned 11 years old last week. This is mostly what he does now - try to beg for food. He accompanies us on walks around our fields every day and once in a while he plays on agility equipment in the ring. He is quite sound and happy in retirement.
For fun, here's Drifter winning the first WAO Biathlon championship in the 550mm height. Hard to believe this was a mere 2.5 years ago! Already people are forgetting Drifter - now I am "the one who runs Strafe"!