Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dances with WOOFS....or the WCFO 2011 National Competition

I love dancing with my Collies.  I love dancing with ALL dogs, even YOURS, if you will allow me.  I truly believe that all dogs love to dance and express themselves thru movement. Dogs were born to run and twist and twirl. Their tails (or the remnants thereof) were made to wag, and their bodies were designed for very specific movements in order to fulfill their designated jobs. 

In this day and age, when everyone wants a Border Collie or a Jack Russell Terrier,  or some breed of working, moving canine, there should be a Disclaimer  that comes along with the potty and crate training: 

If you do not give your dog a job, he will become self-employed. read that right.  A job.  SOMEthing to do besides just dig up the back yard and terrorize the cats.  Agility is a wonderful outlet.  The rush that one gets when completing  a clean run is better than any drug or fine wine....Competition Obedience is also a wonderful goal to achieve. There is a precision there that must be met, and a fine line you must tread in order to meet the requirements for a title. There's flyball and frisbee and tracking and herding, lure coursing, and dock diving---the list goes on and ON with all the activities and titles you can stack up in your repritoire.   Then, of course, there is Therapy work and certainly daily walks and runs thru the woods. 

A fella just neeeeeeds to have a Job!  A tired puppy is a Good Puppy.....

And, addition to all those other fun activities, We Dance.....

See this?  Recognize the arch on the left?  Yup....St. Louis....And I'm driving my van towards the Big River, enroute to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin....That's where the 2011 World Canine Freestyle Organization's National competition was held this October. We are headed North to dance our liddle hearts out--a big "outoftheComfortZone" endeavor for this Southern girl., yeh, I'm snapping pictures as I drive...The boyz just were not interested in photography, so SOMEbody hada do it....

And, so we turned northward, driving thru the prairies of Illinois, stopping at Springfield to stay the night. Thursday saw us on the road again, stopping at a few thrift stores along the way.  I found some treasure, including a schnauzer glass container and also a pair of fancy size 11 shoes for my friend Kaity....

We arrived at the host hotel on Thursday afternoon.  I'd come in a day early just so the boyz could become familiar with the surroundings (esp the liddle wolf cubbie who Loves to put his nose down and sniff up all the air in the room), and so that I would not be so dog-tired the next day.  Thank you, Bikeman, for encouraging me to spend this extra cash....

My friend Cyndi came over that evening, bringing snacks of Wisconsin cheese and crackers and some nice wine.  We sat in our room and remembered years gone by, laughed at the Collies, and toured the downstairs ballroom, familiarizing the boyz with the area. 

It all looked so calm and pristine before the Chaos hit on Friday evening! 

Next morning, we made our "nest" in the crating/changing room, along with 40 or so other dogs from all over. The host club was sponsoring a Fun Match (come and go) on Friday night, then a meet and greet the judges in the Hospitality Room.

Here's Prop and me at the Fun Match....I didn't dance his competition routine, just got out there and let Stevie Wonder sing one of his beautiful songs while we played around. 

And here's Cubbie marking our new territory.....
We went for a walk with a New Friend I'd met in the crating room.  Her name is Princess Laughing Water...or, as I like to call her, "The Princess Pat".....Do you know the words to the song?  Well, we sang a very loud duet to the campsong....."The Princess Pat lived in a tree (the Princess Pat lived in a tree)  She sailed across the 7 seas (She sailed across the 7 seas) She sailed across (she sailed across) the channel too (the channel too) And she took with her ....a rick a bamboo.....A rick a bamboo.....Now what is that?.....It's something the Princess Pat....."  (call me if you want to know more...).
My friend, Princess Pat and our dogs trekked up the ski slope for a bit of exercise after all the sitting in the car we'd done...The view from up top was glorious! 

 And, of course....the Cubbie making SHURE everything was properly marked.....sigh.....

This weekend was James' 9th birthday.  WHERE did the Time go???  Seems like just yesterday, he was a ball of annoying, destructive fluff....Now, HE leads ME around. 

Anyway, the host club found out that it was Jamie's birthday, and so they made a WONDERFUL birthday cake for all the doggies to share....  I've GOT to get the recipe.  I'm telling you, I used it as treats the next 2 days, and it was like Doggie Cocaine...They would do ANYthing for a bite of that yummy stuff!!  (sorta like me and frozen Snickers...sigh)

AND, even More than the yummy cake, James enjoyed the humans' fawning and purring all over him.  THIS is what James does Best----enjoy his "celebrity." 

Back to the room for a Good Night's sleep, rising early in the morning to delicious coffee and bagels. 

The wait that morning was very, Very long.  We did not dance until after noon. Nice, because it gave me a lot of time to watch the other routines, but notsonice because, well, Waiting is a difficult thing to do....The boyz did very well, but did not qualify that day.  The judges' scores were all over the place, so...I dunno....

The final number wasn't until 6:30 pm, and we were all very exhausted. However, the Banquet started at 7, so we hoofed it back to our room, changed into something pretty, fed the dogs, and headed back upstairs for something good to eat. 

Now...Usually I never complain about food.  I'll eat ANYthing!  However, I'm thinkin that these folks up North just have a whole different kind of cuisine than our basic roast beef and mashed taters.....But I'm always willing to taste just about anything. just did not "do" anything for me.  And I don't think it was just me, either...almost everyone left their chocolate mousse untouched....Coffee was good, tho...And I learned what potato pancakes are (I thought they coulda used some molasses on 'em, quite frankly...).

After we ate, the awards were given out. I had made leashes for each of the Beginner "A" competitors.  They loved them, and some even bought more later the next day! 
I'd also mosaic'd 2 toilet tank lids for prizes, but those didn't go over too well up there....Ah, well...I'll just keep 'em down South where they belong, I suppose! 

A good night's sleep refreshes even the most daunted of spirits, as does the promise of returning home very soon. Sunday morning found us bright-eyed and ready to REALLY perform....The boyz and I took a short walk in the woods, I fluffed and puffed them, donned my costume, and we were Ready to take over the ring!  Today, we danced Early, like SECOND in line!  Nice to finish before we had to wait so long.  Here's the videos from Sunday.  These guys were Stellar!

There was a Wonderful photographer who took everyones pictures for no charge!  Here's a few "portraits" : 

The ending "counts"?  James qualified in our Heel to Music routine.  Our only "q" of the wkend. However, I was well pleased with how nicely the Collies performed, and they literally had a Wonderful time, prancing and dancing and cking out the audience. Outside the ring, they smoozed and charmed everyone they met.  Seems that most everyone has a "Collie" story from when they were growing up....And it all spills over onto my boyz---they get lots of hugs, tearful kisses, and backside massages. 

This day's competition lasted until after 8 pm, including the awards presentation.  Phew!!!  Now That's a LONG day~!!!

Linda Blanchard donated a trophy for "High Scoring Collie."  It is Beautiful, and, of course OURS!!  What a wonderful surprise!

James and I received ribbons for Heel to Music High in Trial scores!  I was pretty tired and weary when the pictures were taken....Sick humor....Maybe a new costume in the making?

We packed up, said our goodbyes, and Cyndi and I drove 30 miles to her darling "farmette" house in Whitewater, Wisconsin.  There we feasted on delicous cheese sandwiches and soup and laughed at both our Collies getting to know each other. Prosper even tried to make friends with the cat...Cat didn't think it was a very good idea....

A good night's sleep under eiderdown and delicious cotton sheets, and I was well-rested, ready for early departure next morning. Heartfelt goodbyes with promises to see each other sooner next time, and I drove with the sun rising to my left.  It was a delightful visit to a most beautiful state for a most wonderful reason.

The boys have been sleeping (when they are not barking) for days now.  Home is the best place to be.