Sunday, April 29, 2012

VALOR Nationals - Day 3

Today was the last day of VALOR Nationals. It was significantly warmer than yesterday which made running the courses a bit more difficult. Duncan started out energetic, but the heat wiped him out pretty quickly. He ran a clean Intermediate Jumpers course first (I figured we'd get the harder course out of the way) and then a clean Beginner Jumpers course. Other than occasionally thinking maybe he'd like to go around the obstacle rather than through/over it, Duncan did a great job. I really love that VALOR doesn't have a time limit - that means we can run the course at the speed that works for us, as well as take our time lining up for the jumps. VALOR also doesn't disqualify a dog for passing/refusing an obstacle. All you have to do is turn the dog around and try it again.

Here's my pooped pup with all his loot from this weekend. He was happily snoozing away just a few minutes after I took this picture.

Duncan and I had a great weekend. He showed that he enjoys doing agility, which makes me happy. But the absolute best part of this weekend is that we made it through without any seizures. We're 12 days seizure-free and counting!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

VALOR Nationals - Day 2

My boy is awesome! Duncan had a wonderful day at VALOR Nationals today. We started with the Beginner Jumpers Round 2 course. Not only did Duncan have a clean run, but he did it on the first try! I love watching this video and seeing his energy and enjoyment of what we're doing.

Qualifying with this run gave Duncan his Beginner Jumpers title, which means he can continue at the Beginners level to work on his Cum Laude title, as well as move to the Intermediate Jumpers level. For kicks and giggles, we gave the Intermediate course a try. We decided the best plan was to take our time, line Duncan up for each jump, and give him plenty of room to build his momentum. Duncan did a beautiful job, earning his first Intermediate leg on his first attempt.

We have the chance to get another Intermediate leg and a Beginner Cum Laude leg tomorrow. Its supposed to be a lot warmer, so we'll just see how things go. The photographer working today got some great action shots and will hopefully get more tomorrow. I can't wait til I get the disk!

VALOR Nationals - Day 1

Despite the fact that we've only had two training sessions, Duncan and I are participating in VALOR Nationals this weekend. The league is still small enough that "National" means a group from North Carolina and a group from New Jersey, but its the idea that counts.

Yesterday was the first official day of the event, with an early-bird option Thursday evening. Different Jumpers and Standard agility courses are offered each of the three days, giving teams multiple chances to earn legs. Duncan and I signed up for a late evening slot on Thursday, since I wasn't sure I could get out of work early enough Friday. We only run Jumpers - Standard includes obstacles that neither of us wants to attempt. I was concerned that Duncan might not do too well Thursday as he's still dealing with side effects from the increased dose of Phenobarb (a week and a half seizure-free!). My boy tried so hard, but he knocked a bar on the first run and things went downhill from there.

I decided we'd give it another try Friday (same course, yay!), so we signed up for the last slot at 5:30. I rearranged a few things at work, did a conference call from home and we made it out there with time to spare. We ran our first attempt just after 5:30. Duncan was moving nicely but he knocked two bars - including the very last one. 45 minutes and 6 attempts later, success! And no, Duncan was not running full courses for the 45 minutes. A couple of attempts were aborted at the first or second jump and he had a nice break while we let a couple of other people run their dogs. Unfortunately, it was a good bit warmer than was ideal for Duncan, so by our last run his tongue was hanging practically to his knees. As always, though, Duncan did his best to give me what I asked. Our last run was a lot of work for both of us - we've learned he does best when he basically has to chase me through the course, and if I slow down, he slows down. I also have to line him up and give him plenty of room to build up his speed before each jump. This was not a pretty run, but it was clean, and that's what matters in VALOR. And yes, I am pulling up my pants in a couple of turns out I've lost almost 10lbs since I started back on my meds and I didn't realize how loose those jeans had become. Not to worry, though - I'm wearing a belt today!

We got home around 7:15, I fed the pups and cats and before I could even get my dinner started, Duncan was passed out cold on his bed, snoring away. He was one pooped pup. Not that I can say anything - it was all I could do to stay awake until bedtime.

Last night gave Duncan his second leg towards his Beginner Jumpers title (he earned one a few weeks ago during our training session). Today should be a lot cooler than yesterday, which should help both of us considerably as our run is scheduled for 2:30. Paws crossed we nail it on the first try, or even the second.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Happy 15th birthday, Baby Girl! 

I love you! 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Happy 7th birthday to Khar'pern and Parm.

Its a bit of a sad day (for me, but probably not so much for them) since this is their first birthday without Per'la.

Mama loves you, kittens!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Go, Duncan!

A nice surprise was in the mail when I got home this afternoon. I didn't even realize Duncan was in the running for this...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


What A Weekend

This past weekend was a mix of good and bad, fun and frustrating. We started with plans for Duncan to do an agility run. Duncan has recently joined VALOR, which is a virtual agility program. You get the course maps, rent the space, videotape the run and submit it as an entry. Since you can try as many times as you need, every entry should be a Q for the dog. VALOR has a series of levels through which the dog can progress, or you can stay at the beginners level forever. Kodiak will also be joining the league, which I hope will help with a lot of his fear issues.

Brother John had agreed to man the video camera for Duncan's run and then we were going to go to lunch. Unfortunately, an hour before John was supposed to arrive, Duncan had a grand mal seizure. I'd been hoping to lower the dose of phenobarb that he takes - he's still having trouble with the side effects - but it doesn't look like that's an option now. I'm still going to talk to the vet about it, to see if there's something else we can try that might not have such strong side effects on my poor pup. What really worries me this time is that his last pair of grand mals was just about two months ago, when he had about seven months between the first pair and second pair. I say pair because that's what he's done before - a second grand mal a few hours after the first. Saturday was different - the meds must be doing something useful because he only had one grand mal this time. Assuming he didn't have one outside after I'd gone to bed, of course.

Since we'd already made plans, John and I decided to go out for brunch. The rest of my Saturday was quiet, spent doing chores and keeping an eye on Duncan.

Sunday was a busy day. Reyna had a tracking session that morning. She did very nicely - when she felt like it - especially considering she hadn't done any tracking in a long time. The silly girl would show no interest at all, then tear down the track straight to the glove, and then become totally distracted by anything and everything. The trainer just kept shaking his head, looking bewildered. Despite that, he's agreed to continue working with us in hopes that we can get Reyna ready to take a tracking test.

Back home, a quick lunch, and then it was time for yard work. But first, play time! Duncan seemed pretty together so I hitched him to his wagon for some drafting practice. He grinned the entire time we cruised the cul-de-sac. After unhitching Duncan, I took Kodiak for a walk through the neighborhood. He did very well - only once did his tail start to tuck under his belly. We managed to do about a mile and a half before his brain started leaking out his ears. That's huge progress for him. I spent about 30 minutes throwing the ball for Reyna (she was feeling good that day) and then actually managed to fit in some yard work. Not surprisingly, all four of us crashed early.