Skunked

September 3, 2001 Dear friends,

Roland got his third qualifying leg in Novice Standard at USDAA this weekend, and so is now officially a titled mutt: Agility Dog!

To celebrate, Rusten and I bought a big steak for Roland, Cayenne, and all the dogs who owned the people who had a barbecue at Gail Frazier's RV on Saturday after the runs.

Then Roland, AD, promptly got skunked, literally. Hardly seems fair, but at the motel while he was doing his last duties of the day, he got sprayed full in the face. Rusten made an ii p.m. dash for a twenty-four-hour drug store somewhere in Hayward to get hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and Tecnu® (works on the same principle as it does for poison oak—pulls the oil out and then washes away with soap and water). I held the reeking, titled victor in the parking lot until Rusten got back with the supplies. We then escorted him into the tiled motel bathroom, where I stripped, got in the tub with him, and Rusten and I began the always edifying process of getting skunk perfume off the face and neck of a dog at midnight. The best that can be said is that his odor was socially acceptable (humanly speaking) Sunday morning, and the Vagabond Inn in Hayward is still accepting dogs. I wish they'd evict their resident skunks.

So many ways to be humiliated in agility—a regular school for moral growth!

Cayenne didn't get any qualifying Standard runs in three tries, but our mistakes were interesting (read: hours of training and a lot of luck will fix this!). Best of all, she had a dynamite run Monday afternoon in Jumpers. Clean run; fifth place. Her pace was blindingly fast, but she cannot be said to have taken the shortest path to very many of the jumps. Never have I seen such wide turns without a wrong course resulting! She was joyful, and we had a ball for 28.74 harrowing seconds.

My injured Achilles tendons did not pop. I ran wrapped in layers of neoprene, a material I owe either to the space race or to money-drenched professional football. Rusten ordered ice and more ibuprofen after all the runs. I'm only limping a little tonight. It's nice to have a resident trainer—almost as good as intact connective tissue itself.

Off to Gail's for our next lesson tomorrow. We work on tight turns to get that fifth place to first!

Pam Richards and I are going to do Novice Pairs together at the USDAA meet in Madera in October—she with Cappuccino, I with Cayenne. (Capp and Cayenne are littermates, born 9/24/99, both red merles, both half masks, both flashy, fast dogs. Besides Capp's being the tallest dog from that litter and Cayenne the shortest, the main difference is Pam and Cappuccino are seriously well-trained national competitors! Oh, I forgot the sexual difference, but, as usual, that hardly signifies.) Stay tuned.

Cheers, Donna

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