Challenges, challenges . . .
timing is everything
Part of the addiction to agility is the constant challenge it provides to our dogs and us. As a handler, you need to walk the course to plan the best way to handle it for your dog.
Last February in Scottsdale, Mother Nature added a challenge to handlers by providing six days and nights of rain which soaked the agility field like a cracker in soup.
As I ran the excellent Jumpers with Weaves course on Friday, I was surprised to see that my Border Collie, Rukus had no intentions of taking it easy on the course that was full of standing water. He was doing agility! That meant running!!! As I handled a 180 turn with Rukus on my right, I completed my turn and headed for the next jump. Rukus and pieces and parts of a single bar jump, slid past me in the muck. As I looked down with surprise at Rukus on his side, and the jump demolished, my first thought was that he might not be able to get up. Well, he got up and sailed right past me to the next obstacle, leaving me to flounder in the lake to catch up to him! We finished the rest of the run without a hitch, and not only was Rukus unhurt at the finish line, he was grinning!!! He likes to swim as much as he likes agility!
A student of mine came up to me after the run and said he saw the whole wipeout. He told me that Rukus' feet just slid out from under him and he couldn't save himself. I knew how wet it was and that Rukus was not to blame.
Early the next day at the trial grounds, a stranger walked up to my tent and asked "Don't you have the Border Collie that wiped out that jump yesterday?" Sheepishly, I replied " Yes." She said "You have to go to the photographer’s tent. He has the best shot of the crash and is looking for the owner of the dog. Everyone is going crazy over the picture! You just have to see it!!!"
So, I slowly moseyed over to the photographer's tent and had to push my way through a throng of people who were laughing and pointing at MY dog! Yep, it was an 8x10 of Rukus, sideways in the air, wishing with all of his heart, that he had some of his feet on the ground.
"Oh, my God!!! I have to have that picture!” I exclaimed to the photographer. He, of course, was happy to meet me, sell me a photo (he had even sold it to some other people who just had to have it) and then we put up a sign that no dogs or jumps were hurt in the taking of this shot. What amazing timing to get that photo. I love it.
This photo was featured on the cover of Borderlines, the official publication of the Border Collie Society of America, and also used by Richard Whorton during an AKC judging lecture, "to add some levity to the occasion."