Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye my faithful friend

I am writing this post with heavy hearted. Today would have been Seagull's 11th Birthday ... 

Sadly, he crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge a bit too soon too early. Seagull has been very poorly for the last couple of months. He started being sick and diarrhea. We got that sorted but it kept coming back. He then lost control of his bowel, it was quite a mess and he kept producing bad smell; sometimes, I didn't know if the bad smell came from his bum or from himself. Numerous trips to the vet and we thought we got it fix but the problem seems to keep coming back again. Just the last 4 weeks, he got weaker, he can't even get out of his bed and hardly keep the food down. I can't remember how many times I have to clean his bed and wash him in a day. Suddenly, just two weeks before he passed away, he was good again. I thought we could have an easy Christmas with him. Then, just a few days before Christmas, he gone back to diarrhea again, poor boy. We just don't know what to do with him. 

We were away at my in law for Christmas, leaving him at home, a friend kindly offer to look after him. She was so good that she spent the day with him (he was sleeping all the time). We got back on Boxing Day and Seagull greeted me briefly and went back to sleep again. It was 10pm when I said good night to him leaving him in front of the fire and I didn't know the "good night" turned into goodbye. I woke up 6am to let the dogs out and went to check on him, he somehow has got out of his bed and slept on the floor and gone peacefully. 

I have never lost a "good friend" before in my life, I was shocked and unsettled for the last three days. I was very grumpy and unfriendly (according to people that came and visited me in the last few days). I am sorry if I have upset you.

Although Seagull has not done Agility or Obedience with me, but he was mine and Colin's great companion. He was always there unnoticeable. He's our little "German Shepherd", he's always alert and bark at anything and make sure we knew it. I missed that little alert bark. He was still barking on Boxing Day when he saw me coming home to him.

A lot of my new friends don't know him well but my old friends will know him very well. He wasn't an easy dog but we never give up training him and shower him with our love. He was a sweet little dog to me and Colin, his little crazy antics made us laugh ... such as walked into lamp post or park car while walking on the pavement on the way to Mitcham Common, that happened too many times! He will ran straight into the close French window and still keep coming back to ran into it. Poor boy! He loves sun bathing, the hotter the better. In the hot summer days, he spent most of his times laying on the grass, I was worried that he will get sun stroke but everytime you get him in, he gets out again. He will not want to go out at all when it's wet or snowing.

Goodbye my faithful friend! 
Sleep Tight, we will meet one day and I would like you to be my little guard dog again. 
this photo was taken in late October, is the only decent photo of him before he got very ill.

There were too many photos in the last nearly 11 years Seagull was with us. I don't know how to sort them out as every photo is a memory of him with us ...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

catching up ... UKA Grand Final with mai boy

I am sorry I let my blog "slip away" again. I wanted to try to keep it up to date but everytime when I have a spare moment, my Internet Connection speed is slower than the snail crawling around! I don't have the patient sitting here trying to upload a photo, normally it took me at least 20-30 minutes just to upload a 950 x 634 pixels! And, less than one minute's video took nearly overnight to upload onto YouTube! I like to post photos and videos to illustrate what we have been doing and what we have been up to, I think a plain text is very boring. 

We have been very busy since I last post, we have a lot more changes made to the Farm and the Farmhouse; Agility carried on as usual, I have also been teaching in my own Agility field now. I really enjoyed teaching (more about hopefully in my other post).

all agility photos on this post are by Ian Clark photography

In this post, I would like to talk about Sonic and his UKA Grand Final on 30th November and 1st December. Sonic has qualified in CSJ and Beginners Steeplechase events. I have been trying very hard to get him to qualify for Beginners Steeplechase this year. We went to all the heats and everytime, we got eliminated! Sonic isn't a tunnel dog. I really have to work hard and go with him when there is a tunnel involved. He probably is the only of my dog (so far) that doesn't like tunnel! So, heat after heat, elimination after elimination! I thought our chance is slipping away. In the 2nd last heat, we finally ran clear, a fast, clean and smooth run BUT we got eliminated! WTH! Judge Bob Perks came to me after I gave him a puzzle look at the finish line, he told me I brought toy in the ring! I nearly screamed and wanted to punch him! That day, my Volvo went dead, so we have to rush to Dowtys in the Covertible. The weather was ok, so I roll the window down for Sizzle waiting in the car and off we went with Sonic joining the queue. There was about 5 dogs before us, I heard the tannoy called out ... we have a very nice tri colour sheltie boy, very friendly, if you have lost your dog, can you please come and see us ... I said to Colin "you better go and collect Sizzle!". He asked me how do I know that is Sizzle and I told him, I just knew! Off he went to collect him and back to the queue with him. He asked me to give him Sonic's lead so he can film me and Sizzle can stay with him. I gave him Sonic's lead but Sonic still wearing his harness and I have him holee ball to keep his attention on me. Normally, the ring party will take his toy and harness/lead from me but there wasn't a ring party there and I just walked straight in the ring with his harness still on and the holee ball on my hand. I took his harness off and the ball, but no one took it off me, so I throw it out to the ring to Colin. So, this is how I got eliminated even before I started! Hmm ... I know rule is rule and we stick to rule of the game but I have to moan about this! I don't read the rules and to be quite honest, I don't even remember all the rules! It said NO TOY is allow in the ring for all UKA classes (for competition). If I remembered it right, this is not the first time I actually have a toy in my hand and handed it to the ring party when I set up dog up in front of the start jump. If they want to stick to the rule, they should have eliminate me everytime I bring the toy into the ring! Obviously, after that, I will remember not to have a toy in my hand before entering the ring. 

Well, after that "cruel" elimination, I seriously thought our chance of qualifying is ZERO now. We still have the last chance to try to qualify at Hawbridge in August. I was really tired after Kennel Club International Agility Festival and Dogs In Need but I think Agility always win over the tiredness :) Off I went with the boys to Hawbridge to give it our best. It was Leslie Osbourne's course. Knowing Leslie, the course won't be an easy one. I still remembered well that there were 3 tunnels back to back, OMG! one tunnel is a killer, let alone 3! Sonic did good and won the Beginners Steeplechase. WooHoo!

typical Sonic ... Mr Gobby!

He qualified the CSJ earlier in June.

Sonic loves his crate game, he knew "agility" is the game :)

CSJ Final was on Saturday and Beginners Steeplechase Final was on Sunday. I've booked to lodge at Bridge Inn back in August soon I know I have to compete both days. As CSJ didn't start until later on Saturday (check in time was 1pm), so we had a lie in on Saturday and left home around 9am to give us plenty of time to get to The Hand. This year, we have to pay for our clothing as well. I've only ordered a Polo shirt which I think it's really silly in this time of the year. I thought I've also ordered a hoody but apparently not! Anyway, with just the polo shirt, I maybe run faster in the cold! Hahaha ...

Our CSJ Semi run was a car crashed! Course map below. 

It's a tricky start, we surely struggled the #3 & #4 and these two jumps caught so many dogs in action too! Now that I have set up this course in my Agility field, I will handle it differently from they way I ran Sonic in the course. I will definitely do a ketschker at #2 to give me plenty of time to be in the right position to handle #3 and #4. I think doing a push through at #2, I was stuck in there and no matter how fast I move, Sonic will beat me to it and he isn't a slow dog. He got a refusal for not taking #3 and then my flick over at #14, he didn't read my body language, another refusal there and then 5 on the DW. I think the DW is purely my fault as I didn't cue it in time and I feel like I didn't do enough to support him to understand where he should go next. Poor boy. With 15 faults in total, I will never thought I will be in the Final but a lot of dogs got eliminated due to #3 and #4, so we were still in the game. 

Also, Sonic wasn't quite himself in this run because I didn't know that he is allow to wear his harness and lead until the startline. Carry him to the start line is a big mistake as he was all tense up and he knew it's something different. 

this is one of the refusal photo :)

CSJ Final course map. 

 I don't think you can fault his DW :)

I have never thought the back of #18 is a trap. I was ready to run our socks off in the Final. Having been able to run in the Final, I have nothing to loose and I want to proof we can do it. Sonic was such a good little man. He did everything I asked for. Even with the elimination, I still think he ran very well. 

I wanted to stay for the prize giving to support the fellow competitors but it was very late and cold and I have a puppy (more about that later) in the car, so I decided to go to the hotel at 7:20pm. We arrived at Bridge Inn and I sent Colin to check in while I fed the dogs and walked them before we settled in the hotel room for the evening. After 15 minutes later, Colin came back to the car with all the belonging he took with him earlier. I wasn't impress when I saw him walking up to the car park. He told me the hotel reception told him there was a leak in the hotel and they have to close a couple of rooms down and they sent us to a B&B hotel by the sea front. Knowing me, I went in there to argue with the woman on the counter. I was very angry and annoyed as I complaint that I booked in so far in advanced in August, how could she turned me away? After 10 minutes, Colin needs to come and fetch me away before I made a big mess to the hotel. Oh yes, I can be a nasty bit of work if things don't go my way. We drove to the hotel they sent us to. First, it's an off street parking, no grass area for the dogs to go toilet. I felt even more annoyed when I have a puppy with me! Again, I made a big deal out of it at the hotel reception again. They won't let him take 5 dogs in the room and I argued I am not leaving any of my dogs in the car in the off street car park. Not only that, the room was nearly £20 expensive to the one I booked in August. This hotel wanted to charged £7.50/dog too! We were given a tiny basement room. After a lot of argument (from me!) and Bridge Inn won't even pay the extra, we have got no choice but to take it. So, you could guess that we had a rough night at the sea front B&B hotel. There were a few hotels in the same street and very obvious is a tourist area. I was worried the car got broken in and other small little things that keep flashing through my mind. The boys were sleeping well though, even the little puppy, until I woke him up at 4am to go to toilet and he won't back to bed again! Bad move!

So, I was up since 4am and we decided to leave just before 6am as we don't feel comfortable in the hotel anyway. My Beginners steeplechase was first thing, check in at 7am and course build around 7:45am. To be quite honest, I was so tired, physical and mental, I wasn't sure if I can cope running in the big arena when I was unfit!

Beginners Steeplechase Semi Final course map, judge by Martin Cavil. 

Oh yes, you got to be brave to wear just a polo shirt on a winter morning! Brr ... I am not that kind of person would wear something underneath, so I just have to teeth chattering for 8 minutes walking the course in just the polo shirt. Hehehe ... I think I am getting braver with my ketschker turn. I can now confidently put into the ring and in a big grand final like this :) We ended up 3rd place but I don't think I run any better.

Beginners Steeplechase Final course map, judge by Bob Perks. 

Well, lying 3rd in the Semi means we will be 3rd from last to run in our height. After judge Bob Perks "cruelly" eliminated me in the heat qualifier, I feel unlucky whenever I am in his class. I actually prefer the Semi Final course than the Final course. I think the Semi Final course will suit us better. We are up and we run the course like I normally would do with Mr Gobby. I noticed he nearly clip the first pole after watching the video. I meant to do a front cross at #12 but I just couldn't make it. I knew my cross behind with him is a risk as I seems to fail everytime but I have learned to trust your dog and I am glad I did trust him and let him do his job and he did that beautifully. I wasn't sure if we ran clear but I hope we did as when you are in the arena running, everything is a blur, to me anyway. And I just wanted to run out there as fast as I can to reward my dog. I was hoping Colin will come out to tell me if we ran clear but he didn't come out right away. He was too busy watching the others running. Oh man! When you need him!

Few minutes were like a few hours waiting to hear the result. Finally, he came out and so do others. He told me he thinks we have won it. I hate it when he said he thinks! I rather he tells me we ran clear and now he got me more nervous, wanting to know the result. I passed by a few people and they came to congrats me but I want to see the official result before I will jump up and down to celebrate.

If you know Sonic only have a clear round every now and then, you will know how I feel :) YES! He ran clear and he won it! WooHoo! Mai gobby boy did it! I want to cry! I never thought we can beat the two spaniels that ran after us. They both bigger than him, faster than him! OMG!!

proud moment!

Now Sonic and Sizzle are on the rest until New Year. They are both not in the top condition. Poor Sonic got blown off the Dog Walk 5 times since June. His front chest and shoulder are very tight and he have received some treatment and manipulation. He will be rest until New Year and then will see the physio again before starting to go back to training.