During our visit to my doctor’s office last week, Russ asked, “Can she go to the next dog show?” The doctor had just finished examining me, following up on my collapse at the previous weekend’s dog show in Enumclaw. After doing some tests and ordering some others, she first looked me in the eye, then at Russ, and then at me again, and said, “If you feel up to it, then you can go. But take care of yourself. No stress.”
Fortunately, as dog shows go, this year’s IWSCOPS specialty was pretty relaxed. I had my husband and my friends surrounding and taking care of me. People brought me water and offered to groom my dog. I even got offers to take him into the ring for me. And besides, since Cooper already has his show championship, taking him into the show ring was easy and not stressful. I knew we weren’t going to win, so I simply got to enjoy showing my beautiful hunting dog off to the crowd.
The obedience ring was a bit more stressful (don’t tell my doctor), but on Saturday, we had a few advantages. The trial was held indoors, which led to fewer distractions (all the bitches in season were not allowed in the building, and that helped Cooper concentrate on the job at hand). The professional photographer agreed to not photograph while Cooper and I were in the ring (Cooper thinks all cameras are held my Russ, and that breaks his concentration, too — see the picture above). Plus the crowd was quiet while we worked and burst into applause when we finished — I think they wanted Cooper and me to pass just as much as I did.
The judge was incredibly kind and helpful — she even gave Cooper and me another chance at the Long Down exercise, in which the dog has to stay down in place across the ring from the handler for 3 minutes. During our first try at it, the dog next to Cooper stood up and walked over to Cooper, and the other dog’s handler ran across the ring to get her dog. With all that distraction, Cooper stood up, too. The judge decided that this was unfair interference for a Novice dog, so she gave Cooper and me another chance at the Long Down.
I was surprised because I’d assumed we’d already failed. I knew we’d had lots of points taken off already. Cooper didn’t sit when we halted during the Heeling exercises. I also had to give him an extra “Heel” command when his attention lagged during the off-leash Heeling exercise. And, instead of standing still during all of the Stand for Exam exercise, he moved in a very small circle when I returned to him at the end of the exercise. Plus, during the Recall, he came to me at a nice trot, but instead of coming and sitting immediately in front of me, he came around behind me and sat, perfectly straight, facing my rear.
But even with all this, we hadn’t failed yet, making his extra chance at the Long Down was very fortunate. We passed that, and that kept us just enough points to qualify for Cooper’s first leg of his Companion Dog (CD) obedience title.