Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another Milestone

Been a weird couple months around here, but life is hopefully getting back to normal and we have had a couple significant events in recent weeks.

On October 17-18, we attended Canine Express's annual flyball tournament with Django. Maebe had been signed up for an agility jumping seminar that weekend, but a lesion on her toe that kept getting irritated prevented her from going and participating, so she had a weekend off. Django entered the tournament needing about 480 points for his ONYX title, and I am happy to report that we accomplished that goal during his second-to-last race on Sunday afternoon. As I got Django as an adult, he had a pretty late start to his flyball career, so I was very pleased that he was able to accomplish this.

While most of the gang stayed at home for the weekend, we did bring Cadence up on Saturday to participate in the annual Halloween costume contest. He was the Great Pumpkin.

He looks relatively happy in these photos, but they don't capture all the wiggling and scratching and throwing his body to the ground that he was doing during the parade. I think he got off pretty easy - he should talk to Jade about when we dressed him up as the Tin Man for a Wizard of Oz theme. His suffering paid off though as he won "Cutest Costume"!

The true highlight of the weekend came as a big surprise. Every year, the Canine Express team honors a rescued flyball dog with the Brenda Bailey Inspiration award. The award has been given for the last three years, in memory of a teammate who died from cancer. Teams can nominate eligible rescue dogs for the award, and I was touched that our team captain chose to nominate Django. I was asked to write up a description of Django, so I retold his story a bit - how he was picked up as a stray on the streets of Detroit, and bounced around through shelters and rescue foster homes before he found his way to us via his wonderful foster mom, Chris. I mentioned how Django means "I awaken" and how much he has truly done that over his time with us. I always love sharing Django's story, but I did not expect for a minute that we would be chosen for this honor. I know there are a lot of great rescue dogs out there with other great stories, but I was extremely touched and honored when they read my and Django's name out on Sunday afternoon. Being recognized in this way is probably the best achievement I think I've received with one of my dogs. It really put the point- and title-chasing in perspective and reminded me that the true reward is the bond we form with these canine partners and companions.

Good old Django - I can't wait to see the photo they took for the plaque. He had no idea what the fuss was about and I'm sure he'll look terrified in the picture (any uncertainty tends to cause Django to get a really worried look in those green-yellow eyes of his - it looks much more dramatic than it actually is as far as I can tell from his behavior).

We followed up that exciting weekend with a nice day of agility this past Sunday. Django ran 5 for 5 all day, and placed in every class. He does seem to actually be speeding up even this late in his career, but I think I will move him to "Veterans" for our next trial. He clipped a bar with a toe in his last Jumpers run, which is odd, so I'll give him a little break for a while. He's been a great little athlete all year, and achieved a major title in both of the dog sports we participate in. I think he has some well-deserved pampering in store for him now as we enter in to fall and winter!

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