Friday, February 20, 2009

On the Road with Peekay and Lauda

It has been a long day. I am writing from the luxurious "Americas Best Value Inn" close to the Georgia/Florida border in Yulee, FL. I'm here with Peekay and Lauda for an American Kennel Club Sheep Herding trial in neighboring Hillard. Tomorrow Peekay will be one of four dogs entered in the Herding Intermediate A-Course sheep class. Our goal for the weekend is simple. Earn a qualifying score of at least 60 on Saturday or Sunday, and Peekay will earn her 4th herding title and 8th AKC performance title.

I'm tired from the 6 hour, 300 mile drive. We saw parts of Georgia I've never heard of. We actually drove through a town named "Lumber". In the night I also think I saw a sign that read "Entering Jeff Davis County".

I'm strangely calm. Since our last trial we have had several practices at Watkinsville, Dawsonville, and Townsville SC. The tough "black-and-red" GSD has improved over the past month. She is sharper. Her inside flanks improve each week. We've worked hard on all aspects of the A-course.

Most of all I have been working on me. When I walk out onto that field with Peekay, I am fortunate to have a lot of dog under me. Peekay has lots of weapons. The key is for me is to stay calm and use the right weapon at the right time. I've really concentrated on keeping my nerves in check, as well as reading the stock. It's a lot better to think ahead and anticipate rather then always be reacting.

Peekay will be 6 in April. She's currently in prime physical condition. If we are going to have a shot at the top AKC herding class (Advanced), we have to strike now while the iron is hot and get through Intermediate. It's hard for me to fathom, but she may only have 2 good years left.

Tomorrow is going to be a challenge. We have never been to this farm. I have no idea the quality of the stock. One good thing is I know both judges, and they both know me and Peekay. I don't expect any gifts, nor do I want one. We have worked way too hard for this title. I want to earn it. If things get wild, hopefully the judges will give us enough slack to clean up the wreck and let us continue.

It's time to get a good nights sleep. Lauda is already sacked out by my feet. Peekay has claimed her spot on the king side bed, and is hopefully counting sheep. It's getting hard for the old man to walk now. I pretty much support him 90% of the time. He needs help going to the bathroom. But he still is happy. He still wants to live. If you would have told me in January that he would be accompanying Peekay and me to this trial, I would have told you that you were crazy. Regardless if we qualify either day, just by having Lauda here with us, we have already won.

Speed is good --- Lets go get um Peekay. Good night.

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