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"No Cigar" ~ Julia's ABC Agility Experience
by Dawn Ward

Well everybody, we're getting warmer (and I do mean that figuratively!).

Monday was the second "real" agility trial for Julia and I. Our first was this time last year at the same place (ABC)! On Saturday I drove three and a half hours over to Sykesville to do two four minute run thrus on foreign equipment. When I asked her to start on the first run, it was apparent that it was to hot for her to even think! She just gave me this look like, "Who are you again?"! My heart just sank with images of the weather forecast running through my head predicting even hotter temps on Monday! We went back to the truck and iced down for a second try. Better, but she flat out refused the chute! So VERY untimely!! 

We drove back home somewhat discouraged, but determined to give it a try. Julia rested all day Sunday, and on Monday we headed over to the Nationals. I had the bottom of her crate iced down, kept ice cold towels around her neck, ice water in her bucket, and wintergreen alcohol on her paw pads. I sprayed her with ice water so many times, that when she saw me coming she'd huddle in the back of her crate! I warmed her up with just a couple of jumps and stretched her REALLY good. Bowel and bladder were totally empty. I took her thru the contact familiarization and she showed great confidence. As we waited our turn under the tent, other dogs had their tongues literally dragging the ground. Julia's lips weren't even parted with the slightest HINT of a pant! She WAS the proverbial cucumber! Our turn came and she heeled into position as naturally as if we'd done it a million times. I moved out two obstacles away from her and called "Julia, READY!". I saw her body weight shift forward and her eyes locked mine with a look so intense that I felt instantly that we would ace this course! We had the smoothest run EVER!!!! She was just THERE 100% of the way! She made a really good save on a very hot pause table and then one more on the final jump. I think my hand signal went a little too far out and she started to go past the jump. I don't remember what I said to her, but I do remember holding my breath as she changed direction on took the double from an utter stand still! As we headed across the finish line into the crowd I was SO excited!!! But the look on everyone's face said otherwise... Julia had knocked the top panel of the solid jump off - DISQUALIFIED!! Sooooooooo disappointing!

The allowed time was 69 seconds - Julia did it in 49.43 - less than one second behind the first place dog!

Close, but...

So, we're off to enter some more trials - AND buy a panel jump!! We had a beautiful run and we received SO many compliments on how quiet we were and how focused Julia was. That really meant a LOT!

Dawn and Julia

Dawn Ward
RedDawn Boxers

Julia earned her first two agility titles with back-to-back four-for-four weekends! Julia earned her Novice AKC titles at the fall trials in 2000 and then came back out to earn her Open AKC titles at the spring trials in 2001.  Visit Julia's Page at RedDawn Boxers.

Photographs on this page of the lovely Julia by Mark Gose of Gose Boxers.

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