Bonnie and I arrived late afternoon on Thursday with plenty of time to unload, check out the rings and visit. I of course made a beeline to find Gayle and John York (who own Wowwies mother) and who also did all the videotaping for NAC (www.bowwowvideo.com). It was great to see them and catch up. Wowwie got to see and play with his Momma and baby sister... he had a really good time! This year Gayle DID NOT put a kiss print on Wowwies head before his runs... and now that we see how well he did without his traditional lipstick lip print, I will make sure she restrains from putting it on him in the future :) Sorry Gayle, but you know how superstitious I am.
The lucky drink! This would be all I drink at dinners before/during important events :)
Bonnie and I shared a stall with my training partner Jessica Ajoux, friend Stephanie Rainer, and mentor Diane Bauman. Linda Bohm a photographer (www.bohm-marrazzo.com) friend and fellow agility enthusiast also shared the stall with us. We all had a great time together and at the end of the day saturday, Bonnie, Jessica, Stephanie and myself were all 100% for the weekend! Talk about the power of surrounding yourself with positive energy! Jess, Diane and I been working together successfully for years. Add Bonnie, Stephanie and Linda and we have ourselves a "success party'. Amazing people, each bringing their own energy into the group. Lets do it again next year ladies!
Wowwie in the hotel room the evening before the NAC. He was feeling very sure of himself this weekend :)
Wow! and I only ran one run on Friday (State Team Tournament Day) because I wanted to take it easy on both of us. One run to determine where we both were mentally, physically etc was all we needed. Unfortunately that one run was in a ring that we would not be in again all weekend. The dirt in the rings in the one building was packed different than the other building, which caused a problem for many.
Ria and David Acciani of Advanced Canine (http://www.dogpt.com) worked on Wow! all weekend to keep him in top shape. Wowwie loves them both and it gave us an opportunity to unwind and relax a bit at the end of our days.
Ria Acciani working on Wowwie on the weeks leading up to the NAC
David Acciani working on Wowwie during the NAC event.
Back at home, I was updating everyone via my Facebook page. The support from my friends and students was amazing. I cant thank everyone enough for keeping me focused and boosting my confidence in myself and my team. There were times on Sunday when I got a bit shaky. My friends and fellow "stall mates" werent having the best day of it. It finally came down to me to master that Round 3 course. From Diane Bauman at my side in the stands reminding me of how prepared we were and going over the course together, Jessica Ajoux ringside working out the details of every handling maneuver to Bonnie Waseleski walking my dog when I was pressed for time, picking me up healthy food so I didnt forget to eat AND listening to me recite every command for my run over and over out loud to make sure my timing was perfect. I have a support staff second to none! Thank you guys, for every laugh, every hug and every high five. Im so lucky to have you all in my life.
Ive never known a happier dog in my life!
Wowwie and I are very proud of ourselves. We worked extremely hard since September of last year getting him back from his whiplash (fell off a dogwalk) and getting our timing on dirt down to as close to perfect as we could get. And THANK GOD we did practice so hard as the footing in rings 1 & 2 were difficult. Hard packed with a fine layer of loose slippery "gravely" dirt. The dogs had very little traction (as proven by watching the dogs in the Challenger Round and then the wide turns in the Finals).
I also want to congratulate Wowwie's daughter "Thriller" and Bonnie McDonnald of Florida for running clear every round too! And finishing 4th in the 16" finals. Amazing accomplishment with a very young dog. Bonnie and Thriller will be at World Team Tryouts this year too! Incredible! from 16" to 26" in the blink of an eye! what'a team!
Also Ann Braue and Wowwie's brother "Scream" were in the Challenger Round and were the demo dog for the 26" finals. As always Annie and Scream looked amazing!
Donna Brown and "BAM" a half sister to Wowwie out of my dog "Mayhem" and my bitch "Frenzy" were also in the Challenger Round 20" and had a smoking clean round but were beaten out of first place :( Still an amazing team to behold!
Sue Tovino and "Whip" (a repeat breeding of Wow), and Denise Thomas and "Zippity" (a litter sister to Wowwie) were also competing this weekend. It was great to see all the babies! From what Julie Jenkins told me (Mayhem's breeder) there were 8 relatives competing this weekend! GO SPRINT BABIES!!!
I will post better video as soon as I receive it from Bow Wow Video. But for now, heres what we shot with the Flip Video camera
Wowwie NAC Rounds 1 & 2
Wowwie NAC Round 3 & Finals
I would love to run those courses on great footing and really push the dogs, but having to hang back and compensate for my teammate who was struggling to keep his feet under him was also a challenge we trained for (having run at on "dirt" many times, it can range from almost beach sand to concrete so we practiced everywhere). Im very proud of my boy and of our team. We will be working our butts off now fixing some skill issues we couldnt address before nationals (ie the dogwalk, which has been an issue since the whiplash). With the blessings of the universe Wowwie and I will have many more opportunities to compete and play with the big dogs.
The other great thing is that my health held up all weekend long. As many of you know I have been very sick. After struggling with health issues for a few years my health finally took a major decline starting in the fall of last year and hitting rock bottom two months ago. After failing with a few doctors to find the cause, I was finally diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and I have some heart complications. We started a new medicine regime. The medicines are pretty brutal to me physically but I did finally come up with a system to where I can take what I need to take and not be too sick to live. Im still having good days and bad days, but lucky for Wowwie and I, this weekend were all "good days"! :)
Another mental complication is that my nephew. who is a marine, was air-dropped on the boarder of Afghanistan and Pakistan this friday (right when NAC started) with just the cloths on his back, his backpack and his gun. He will meet up with his supply plane at some point but he will be gone for 7-9 months. I said goodbye to him on Wednesday night. One of the hardest thing Ive ever had to do. To say that my entire world has been put into a totally different perspective is an understatement. And as I listened to the national anthem at the NAC this weekend, I thanked him and every other solider who risk their lives every day for my freedom. Before I left my nephew, he told me to "kick it" at nationals. I did my very best to make him proud. I look forward to seeing him this thanksgiving and showing him the footage from the NAC. He loves my dogs and he knows how hard we work to do what we do. He's always been one of my #1 fans. Somewhere I hope he knows in his heart we did good.
Wowwie and I have been thru a lot together, and our AKC Nationals experience this past weekend will be ranked as one of the best. He's the best partner anyone could ask for and I am blessed to be able to share an agility ring with such a spectacular animal. Thanks buddy for making my agility dreams come true. I cant wait to see where our journey goes from here.