Thursday, May 31, 2007

What I Did On My UDC Vacation, Monday

I’m sorry; this is *long* overdue. But here’s the final report on UDC Nationals.

We drove home from a fun but hectic four days at Acen, arriving Sunday night. We stripped costumes and panel presentation materials from the borrowed van, loaded UDC necessities and dogs into the van which the Marvelous Dave had repaired during our absence, and Alena and I took off. We drove overnight to Decatur, IL, pulled in and slept in the van for about an hour and a half.

UDC Nationals, 2007, Monday
At six, I crawled out of the van and went to join the tracking workshop, led by the talented Anne Rammelsburg. I didn’t get a chance to work Laev (we just ran out of time with so many dogs), but I paid close attention to what was said about other dogs and will be trying some new ideas of my own, too. Laev is too talented a tracker to be where we are now – she is just too enthusiastically fast on the track, and I need to drop her a few RPMs for competition quality work.

It was then sometime after nine o’clock, so Alena and I checked in for the week, picking up our catalogs and maps and information. Decatur was so nice to us, having a Chamber of Commerce person on hand to greet us and hand out booklets on Decatur services and attractions and restaurants. But all I really wanted at that point was my nice Decatur bed. I called the host hotel, who allowed us to check in early, and we crashed for some hours. That was probably the best sleep I’d had in a week.

We returned to Progress City (the farm show grounds, where most of our UDC events were held) for the annual Search and Rescue fund-raising games. For $5, the dogs could play a collection of fun games and activities. Laev won the obedience relay (go for a walk while holding a full cup of water, leave dog, return to start, place quarters under armpits, call dog, finish without losing quarters – judged on speed and amount of remaining water), and she made a pretty paw painting, and she got to pick a toy from a collection, but her mostest favoritest game was the bobbing for hot dogs. These hot dogs hadn’t been boiled and so they sank rather than floated, but Laev didn’t care – she had fifteen seconds to scarf as many as she could reach, and unlike many dogs, she was quite happy to submerge for them! She was so funny and made so much noise about wanting to do it again later that they let her come back for another 15 seconds of dunking. I think she cost them money ;-) but everyone had a good laugh at her.

Alena and Valenzia had a run-off for the other relay, the Doggie Duds dress up timed event, but they took second. Valenzia was fine with the participation cookies, though.

I had a talk with the owner of Laev’s half-sister, too, who told me that she’d been working hard on suppressing critter-chasing. Yeah, yeah, I can relate to that – Laev’s single biggest challenge is squirrels and cats. It triggers something deep within her, something beyond mere “likes to chase squirrels.” Linda told me that their shared sire has one of the strongest prey drives (I dislike that scientifically vague term, but it’s common parlance) even among working-bred dogs, according to many people, and that he throws that to their offspring. Well, at least now I know where it comes from!

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