by Ileana Nadal
Emmy finished her MACH at the Miami Obedience Training Club trial on August 2001. I shared this awesome experience with my boxer friends while the feelings and memories were still fresh. I was riding on cloud nine. We had 33 DQ’s and needed only 23 points to finish our MACH.
Although I had only told a few friends, word got around the trial crowd and people were telling me that they were all hoping to have the opportunity to congratulate me that weekend. Our first run was the Standard class and Emmy ran a beautiful course, 12 seconds under course time, placing second and earning 18 MACH points. We only had 5 points to go! At the warm up jump before our JWW run, Emmy slipped on the mats (the trial was indoors on mats) and got a little spooked, but fortunately was not injured. Consequently, the beginning of her run was cautious, but she picked up her usual speed when she realized that the footing was safe. She was only 3 seconds under the course time, but placed second again and picked up 4 more MACH points. We needed ONLY 1 POINT!
That night we went to dinner with the judge and she learned how close we were to our MACH. She proceeded to cut up her leftover steak, put it in a box, and told me that this was going to be Emmy’s “lucky MACH steak”. She picked up one of the candles that adorned the table and waved it over the leftover steak, saying that she was “giving it the judge’s blessing”. She told me to give some as a treat before Emmy’s run, and tell her that she would get the rest after she qualified. This would insure that Emmy would finish her MACH.
The next morning was electric. People were not only wishing me luck, they were also stuffing good luck charms in my pockets, telling me they knew we could do it. Some people told me that they were staying away from me so that they would not “hex” me. I was desperately trying to stay calm, we only needed 1 POINT, and Emmy is reliable enough to ace any course, as long as I do not get spastic. All weekend, the gym became silent when Emmy and I stepped to the start line, but this time you could hear a pin drop. As soon as I started running, I forgot everything and simply concentrated on having fun with my dog and focusing on each obstacle. My job was to give clear signals to my partner, and to make the run as smooth as possible for her. Emmy’s problems have always been the contacts and I worked those very carefully. I did not let my guard down until we took that last jump to cross the finish line, and then the whole gym exploded!
There were lots of hugs, tears, and the judge brought me one of the bars for everybody to sign. We did our victory lap around the ring. Emmy didn’t know what was going on, but she sure was having a lot of fun! She leaped up, twisted in mid air, jumped out of the ring to find her steak, jumped back in when I called her, and figured out that this must be some very special occasion. She loved the applause and all the attention.
When I returned to my crates, there was a poster on the wall with Emmy’s picture on it. It said: “MACH Emmy, congratulations from all your friends”. We finally did it! With 11 seconds under the course time! I was proud of myself for getting a grip on my emotions and not letting my best friend down. It was a long road, but it was sure fun getting there!
Ileana Nadal and Emmy (MACH, ADCH, U-ACH Emmy, CDX, EAC, EGC, OJC, TDI)
Emmy is the first Boxer in the
USA to become a triple Agility Champion. She earned an American Kennel Club Agility Championship, a United States Dog Agility Association Championship, and a United Kennel Club Agility Championship.