He is the 47th mixed-breed dog to earn this particular title, the 341st dog overall in the history of the world, and the sixth or seventh to get it this year.
We also broke a thousand Championship points, which means we have a chance -- by no means a sure thing, but a chance -- at not only being nationally ranked within our division, but cracking the Top 20 Overall standings.
This would be pretty nifty if it happens, because Pongu was only eligible for 1/3 of the possible Championship points at each trial for the first third of the year, and only 2/3 of them until October (this is why there are divisional standings -- the dogs in the lower divisions are rarely eligible to earn all possible points). Plus he's insanely fearful and a lifelong rehab case and this is his first full year in competition in any sport. So if my little crazy dog actually manages to weasel his way into the combined standings, well... that would be something.
And if not, we might aim for it next year. I was planning to make that one of my big goals for 2014, but while I do still intend to finish Pongu's ARCHMX, I'm having second thoughts about doing an all-out chase for national rankings that year. We might end up shifting focus a little to do more AKC Rally and CDSP obedience. Pongu might benefit from doing other stuff for a year or two before we make a hardcore run for WCRL points. I dunno.
I was actually pretty demoralized about Pongu's performance this weekend because his scores were not very good and by the last day they were outright crappy, so I was feeling frustrated about how Crazy Dog Is Crazy and melts down all the time at the smallest provocation. Pongu's come a long way in many respects, but he's just a genetic trainwreck of a dog temperamentally, and as such, he crashes and burns because of teeny tiny things that more confident dogs don't even notice.
But then we had a great practice session tonight and so I am feeling stupidly optimistic once again. NEXT YEAR. Next year will be the year we do Great Things.
Another thing that helped me feel better was, perversely, the blizzard that came down upon us yesterday afternoon. True, it made the drive home into a miserable three-and-a-half-hour slog through 2 mph traffic on 76... but once we actually got home, there were six or seven inches of snow on the ground, and deep fluffy snow + dogs = instant magical happiness. You just can't be sad when there's fresh snow and a playful dog around. It's impossible.
I don't think Ashling had ever seen snow before. I took her out with Crookytail (Pongu was so exhausted that he just needed a nap, so he stayed home), and at first she was tentative about plunging her feet into the cold slushy stuff. But when she saw how much fun Crooky was having with it -- prancing along and shoveling up mouthfuls of fresh-fallen snow every few steps -- she decided that she wanted to have fun too.
So off to the dog park we went.
In this one you can see Ashling doing her favorite Bad Thing (jumping on people) and Crooky doing his (peeing on stuff he's not supposed to pee on).
They had a good time.
Then, still not tired out, they went home and played biteyface.
Later I took all three of the dogs back out to the park to romp around in the snow one last time before it got ruined (which it was, by today). Pongu and Crookytail played a variation of the "find it" game where the treats were buried in deep snowdrifts (this was around 11 pm so we had the whole park to ourselves, no worries about other dogs getting possessive over the treats), and Ashling joined in as soon as she figured out what they were up to. She is very quick to learn by watching other dogs.
This evening, Ashling met Prospective Family #2. The first family withdrew their application over the weekend because one of the parents had earned a new work opportunity that made it impossible for them to adopt a dog this winter, so that was a gracious resolution to my dilemma.
And I was glad for it, because Ashling really seemed to like this family and particularly the kids, so I am grateful to the whims of fate for making everything work out so neatly. I don't have to disappoint anyone and Ashling gets a great family and maybe someday when their schedule allows, the other adopters will be able to give another needy dog a home.