When I woke up yesterday morning, in the dark at 5:00 a.m., my first thought was to skip the Rally trial. My knee ached and I knew that if I went, I’d be limping around the ring. I’d signed up for this trial quite awhile ago, before I knew that I had torn the meniscus in my right knee.
But the Mt. Hood Doberman Pinscher Club Rally trial was local and it was indoors, an auspicious combination that doesn’t come around all that often. Plus, Cooper and I had been practicing, and I was awake already, so what the hell. ‘I’ll go,’ I thought.
I am so glad we went.
Cooper and I are working on his RAE title, so I had entered us in both Rally Excellent B and Rally Advanced B. (A dog has to qualify in both in the same trial at 10 different trials — this would be his 3rd attempt, and if successful, his 2nd leg. His 1st attempt was, ahem, entertaining.)
In the Excellent course, at station 2, he jumped the dreaded broad jump (instead of walking over them), and even sort of did the Three Steps Backward (station 7, where he lost his points for walking sideways instead of backwards). I was very happy with his pivots and thrilled with his immediate down without taking additional steps on station 13, the Stand Dog, Leave Dog, Down Dog, Call Front – Finish.
We ended up this run with 96 out of 100 points.
The Advanced course was easier, of course, but it did have a couple of tricks that could trip up the handler. Two similar versions of Call Front, but one where the handler can take a few steps backwards (station 1) and the other where you can’t (station 4). And during the walk-through, I discovered that it would be very easy to miss the Weave Twice (station 9) by going straight to the Left Turn at station 10 after doing the Left Turn at station 8.
But neither Cooper nor I made any “scorable” mistakes, so we ended up with a perfect 100 points. That’s the best score Cooper has ever gotten, and I was thrilled.
I was also eager to get out of there. My knee ached and Cooper wanted to get into the car (his usual reward after doing either Obedience or Rally). So I packed up his crate, my chair, and our stuff, and we drove off.
Only to get a phone call a little later from the show secretary, asking, “Where are you? You won High in Trial and High Combined, and we have ribbons for you.”
Well, sheesh. Never having gotten scores this high, and never having tried to get an RAE title before, it never occurred to me to wonder if we might be in the running for HIT or HC (High in Trial Rally is the highest scoring dog in any level of Rally for that trial and High Combined is the highest total score for a dog entering Rally Excellent B and Rally Advanced B).
So I turned around and drove right back to the fairgrounds to get our big beautiful ribbons. Cooper obligingly sat for the photo, and we drove on back home again. He took a nap, and I iced my knee.
I have surgery scheduled for next week, so we won’t be doing any dog shows again for awhile. I’m so glad we’re pausing on such a happy note.
Good boy, Cooper, dog of my heart.