Today Pongu finished his AKC Rally Novice title with a first-place finish in a class of 9 dogs and a perfect score of 100 at the Sand & Sea Kennel Club's trial in Wildwood NJ.
Going in, I was not overly optimistic about this trial, because it was
part of a big multi-day conformation cluster in a convention center and I
was all "hoo boy, scaredydog is not gonna like that one." But it was
our last chance to finish Pongu's RN before spring, and I really didn't
want to wait that long because I just don't have that much patience in
And indeed Pongu did not like the convention center. He didn't like the
conformation dogs' big noisy RVs, he didn't like their hair dryers, he
didn't like the vacuums that their staff used to clean up loose hair
from under their grooming tables, he basically did not like anything
about the entire scenario at all. It was a shaky drooly sheddy dandruff
wonderland of disaster and for a minute I seriously thought about
scratching him and just going shopping instead.
But I figured I'd at least take him into the trial room and see how he
did in there first. And once we got into the obedience room (which was
in one of the convention center ballrooms and somewhat sheltered from the main
event), where it was considerably quieter, he calmed down enough that I
was like "COOL WE'RE GOING IN" and so we went in.
I actually practiced the AKC signs before the trial this time. It
helped. We got three of the only-in-AKC signs on this run, but HAHA this
time Pongu knew how to do them and they did not trip us up.
Sadly this trial didn't offer title ribbons, so we finished the day with just two little flats. Oh well.
If I hadn't screwed Pongu up on his first run, he would have completed
his RN with a string of three consecutive first-place finishes. Oh well x
2. I'll add that to my list of deathbed regrets.
Afterwards Pongu ran around the beaches (which allow dogs in winter) and
steadfastly refused to play with Ariella the pittie mix, who is
Crookytail's friend but not Pongu's friend because Pongu is a giant
nerdlinger and has no friends.
Pongu is much more into digging giant holes in the sand than socializing with other dogs.
He will begrudgingly sit next to them for photos but that is it.
Anyhow, that concludes our run in AKC Rally Novice A. I will never ever get
to have another Rally Novice A dog again for the rest of my life. That's
it. You only get one. After this, every dog has to start in Novice B.
Your Novice A dog is special. I'm glad I got to share this moment with Pongu, and that he gets to be formally recognized as my Novice A dog in Rally. Because he is and will always be the one with whom It All Began. <3
p.s. And just for the record, the shopping was pretty sweet. I got a nice braided kangaroo leather slip lead for Crookytail's hypothetical future agility career, a bag of dried duck hearts, another bag of dried buffalo tripe, two beef tracheas (both since demolished by Dog Mob), and a squeaky toy to celebrate Ariella's CGC and CGCA, which were the product of many months of very hard work and dedication with her person.