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Colorado Kennel Club - Denver, Colorado February 19- 20, 2005

What a weekend! Nancy talked me into flying out to Denver to show Chance one last time before the puppies are born and try to finish up his Novice titles. This was extra exciting for me because Chance had just been at Westminster and made breed history. He not only won Best of Breed for the Aussies but he got a Group 2 placing which is the highest an Aussie has ever been placed at the Garden! What a guy! His handler, Karen, is also the owner of Fame, the Great Pyr who also made Westminster history by being the first Pyr to win the Working Group ever. I felt like I was flying out to be among celebrities (which Chance and Fame are in the dog world) so I was VERY excited.

I hate flying in the best of weather so I was not terribly pleased when I woke up Sat. am (at 2:30!!!) to pounding rain and gusty winds. I hydroplaned all the way to the airport and got on the plane with very big butterflies (I think they were actually pelicans) in my stomach. Taking off: scary. Landing in Denver: scary. Lots of turbulence both ways and I was not happy. Poor Nancy had been circling Denver airport for so long waiting for me ( Denver airport is HUGE – I had to take a train to get to the baggage claim area) that she had put over 20 miles on the car from just circling. Needless to say, we found each other (thank heavens for cell phones) and headed to the show site. Nancy handed me the schedule in the car and I was very disappointed: it looked like we had missed Novice Jumpers. The second we got to the site, we raced into the stadium and discovered that they were just walking the course!

I told Nancy to get her dog NOW and started walking the course. It was pretty surreal – I had just gotten off a plane and within 15 minutes of arriving at the site, Chance and I were on the line ready to run. He was AWESOME. He was a little slow for Chance – I know we weren’t able to give him enough time to disengage from “Breed Ring” and switch over into “Agility” mode but he was clean around the course and earned his NAJ with a 2nd place! Chance then went upstairs, got cleaned up a little and went Best of Breed. What a way to start the weekend!

We still had our standard run to go and when Nancy brought Chance over for that it was apparent that he had successfully changed mental mode. His eyes were spinning – it was actually kind of scary. The first ¾ of the course were SO FAST that I don’t really remember it. I do remember his teeter though: he hit it going so fast I thought there was no way he could hold onto it. Chance slid into a perfect teeter (better than any of my dogs ever do) and continued on at top speed. We had one refusal at the dog walk (my fault – I didn’t set him up correctly for it and it was a tough angle) but despite that, he not only qualified, he won the class! Two titles in one day, both with placements and he still had Group to do. Chance (to cap off a perfect day) went into Group and won! And during Best of Show, he got a looooong look from the judge. Conformation is heart stopping when you are rooting so hard for a dog. Saturday was amazing: two agility titles with a 1st and a 2nd, Best of Breed AND a Group 1! What a guy! It was actually a little weird over at agility at times: I could hear whispers of “That’s the dog that was at Westminster” and “That’s the dog on TV.” I was handling a celebrity J

I warned Nancy on Sunday that Saturday was a “one of a kind” kind of day. He had gotten his titles already but I didn’t move him up – he is not ready for Open yet and I want to really build this dogs confidence so that he just gets faster and faster. Novice JWW was DYNAMITE. Once again, he was wound really tight and I was worried that he would drop bars. Well, he didn’t: we had a flawless run (again, beautiful weaves) and not only qualified, he took 2nd place again! And then, went upstairs and won Breed again. It was like a repeat of Saturday (and by this time the altitude was getting to me so I was little light headed anyway!) The standard course was fairly difficult for a Novice dog. But I figured that Chancie was 3 for 3 anyway – so we would just “train.” I should have more faith in him: he SMOKED the course and even with sticking and holding all his contacts, he was 30 seconds under time! And he won the class again. Then he went on to group and took a Group 3 placing!

The funniest thing about the whole weekend was the way Karen (who handles Chance in Conformation) and I were bragging on him. Karen – over in Conformation – kept bragging on how well he was doing in agility and I – over in Agility – kept bragging on how well he was doing in the breed ring. Karen and I decided that we share Chance well and he sure seems to enjoy all the feminine attention. Team Chance worked quite well!

What a weekend this guy had! Two new agility titles (with two 1st places and two 2nd places) two Best of Breeds and two Group Placements! I am SO glad Nancy talked me into going to this trial – I had a blast, met a lot of nice people and got to chat with some old friends. And got to run a star.


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