January 2003

Dear long-suffering dog friends,

So now I indulge in the pleasurably embarrassing custom of ""the brag" . . .

Ms Cayenne Pepper was truly lovely this weekend at a Haute Dawgs NADAC trial at Starfleet. We ran in the Open class for all events.

Miracle of miracles, I saw four paws on each and every contact zone; and three-quarters of the time (actual count) she held two-on, two-off like she had superglue on her feet. I know that's not 100 percent, and my character and her future are a ruin for running after such failures; but we did run on after I stated emphatically, ""Oops! Sit!"

The last event of the weekend was the best. The Jumpers setup was three rows of four jumps, equally spaced in ranks, with two U-shaped tunnels set up outside the rectangle of jumps at one end. It was like the setup Pam showed us at Gail's in December. In Elite, both tunnels were traps; in Open one tunnel was a trap and the other was a judge-approved boomerang launching device. The path was really a big X hooked together with U-turns and serpentines (and in Elite, an extra little loop thrown in).

Xo and Chris did a fabulous job in the Elite version; they flowed like a graceful, fast river populated by a Doberman bitch and a human man. Cayenne was an accurate blur in the Open version, which opened with a diagonal across four jumps, a U-turn and straight run over three jumps, another U-turn and straight down the second line of three jumps, into a three-jump serpentine, ending with a layered fling into the yawning mouth of a tunnel, whereby the dog was catapulted into the final diagonal run across four jumps.

Cayenne's first place was a 17.83-second run (9 seconds under Standard course time and 6 seconds ahead of a nice, fast Aussie who dogged our heels all weekend). I watched and cheered, occasionally waving my hands, probably in a jerky fashion and blessedly outside her range of vision, to tell her what to do. I guess my feet and shoulders were in the right places at the right times, and I must have run too because I was out of breath. Cayenne had apparently analyzed the course correctly, because she did not make so much as a false twitch. I think I said, "Go!" once or twice. No time for "Over!" and who needed it anyway? What else could she do?

Cayenne contributed to breed science this weekend too, in the form of cheek cells for a UC Davis gene analysis project on ivermectin and related drug metabolism. The researcher wielding the cotton swabs said the samples would be stored permanently for possible other future research.

Back to real work, alas.

Smitten in Santa Cruz, Donna

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