Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dog Days

It's summer, and once again time for the big San Antonio dog shows. Earlier this year than last...June instead of July. That gets John's and my vote, for sure! So far we've had temperatures in the 90s, which is a lot better than the 100+ readings we had here last year. Of course, it helps that the AC in the Royals works very well. If you remember, last year the first thing John had to do was find a mechanic to fix the unit on J.R.  Fortunately, Travelers World RV Resort has lots of trees and an adjacent grassy area for walking dogs, so we're very comfortable. The dog show sponsors also run shuttles to and from the RV park to the convention center, so we can come and go without worrying about parking downtown.

We came down on Wednesday, but didn't bring the Tracker as we haven't yet installed the tow bar. The Falcon and the fifth wheel made the trip with no trouble, and we set up Nickie's crate at the San Antonio Convention Center when we arrived. After drinks and dinner with Carol Hardaway at Boudreaux's on the Riverwalk, Nickie and I had a slumber party with Carol and her Border Collie, Gabby, at the Riverwalk Marriott. John and Feathers took the dog show shuttle back to the RV, and returned on Thursday to watch our runs.

They shouldn't have hurried. Nickie and I NQd all three of our runs on Thursday. The first was a very tough series of three obstacles which Nickie had to take while I directed her from 15+ feet away. That's a "not enough practice on distance work" problem. The second was Nickie's determination to "go in whichever end of the tunnel I like, no matter what you tell me." Her problem. The third was clearly "handler error" when I took my eye off Nickie and she went behind me instead of taking the jump. Oh, well, we had fun, and enjoyed watching our friends. Nickie's pal, Gabby, took a first place in her first event, and was very proud, as was her mom. She did well on Friday, too, and is shown here with Carol displaying her two blue ribbons!

Feathers got a lot of attention, too. I don't think any dog at the show made more people smile. She is suffering from a still-undiagnosed problem which has caused both eyes to become dilated. As a result, she is very light-sensitive. We have addressed at least the discomfort part of the problem by letting her wear sunglasses. People at the dog show asked John if she was a movie star, and of course he said she was! Here Feathers shows off her "Hollywood" look.

Friday's agility trial got off to a fantastic start when Nickie got a blue ribbon and a qualifying run in her first class. It was downhill from there. She and I teamed up to make mistakes in the our next two runs, and finished the first two days 1 Q for 6 attempts. Fortunately, on Saturday we finally got our act together and she got a Double-Q. That is, she had qualifying runs in both her "Standard" and her "Jumpers with Weaves" courses. Here she is with her ribbons....two firsts and a third...and the most important thing (to Nickie and Feathers) the toys that dogs get when they take first place.

Between agility runs, we had plenty of time to visit the many vendors at the show, and to watch the conformation, rally and obedience classes. Here a couple of Salukis wait their turns in the conformation ring.

Not all the dogs in San Antonio were at the dog show, though.  While on a "potty break" across the street from the convention center, we saw this group out for a brisk stroll.  The handler's T-shirt said "I'm not a dog walker; I'm a pack leader!" 

Sunday was a "play day" for John and me. We had breakfast across the street at Taqueria Guadalajara (rated a "Best of San Antonio" by Texas Monthly). We then left the girls in their crate at the convention center and spent a couple of hours at The Institute of Texan Cultures. Built as the Texas Pavilion for the 1968 Hemisfair, it is now affiliated with the Smithsonian and remains open to showcase and celebrate Texas' diverse history and heritage. Our very knowledgeable guide, Ed Johnson (strangely enough, an archeologist from New York), shows off an old hearse which is said to be haunted.

We enjoyed our visit, but were ready to get back to Austin by the time Monday rolled around.  We look forward to next year's event, and hope to collect even more "Qs and Blues."

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