You know, when I started last Monday’s blog, I had no intention of writing about Belle Cardigan. In fact, I had a little video of Dart I wanted to put up.
Anyway, as with books, sometimes blogs have a mind of their own. Before you know it, I was in fact writing about Belle. You know…how she started training at age two, blew through to Excellent B with mostly straight Qs and firsts (she was jumping four inches higher at that point) and rivaled the times of dogs through all the height classes.
And then of course she hit age five, developed a genetic disk calcification condition that had nothing to do with agility, became partially paralyzed for a while…
Rehab and flares and rehab and flares…
She wasn’t supposed to be able to run again, but she obviously did–in fact, it actually kept her strong. In between her calcification flares–about 50 % of the time–she ran for her first PAX and then her second. When they grandfathered in speed points this past July, she earned her first PACH title–as well as the ranking of #2 lifetime Cardigan in the Preferred class (that’s the one that allows her to run safer, shorter jumps for her stubby-legged, long-bodied self).
At that time, she was only 150 points shy of her second PACH–the one she would have easily earned had the PACH dogs been granted the placement multiplier points earned by the MACH dogs in the very same time frame. (bitch, mutter)
Well, at three months later and almost 12 years old, she’s now 98 points shy of her second PACH…and that’s how it’ll always be.
For Belle, being perfect has always been the most important thing. Unfortunately for her, she has her own standards, and they’re far, far higher than mine. She worries when she perceives that she’s imperfect.
Over the last year, she’s lost most of her early speed. The problem is…
She knows it.
For her Jumpers courses, I can usually convince her that she is indeed perfect; I rate my speed to hers so she doesn’t feel left behind. But over this past three-day trialing weekend, she looked at me out on the course and told me she was too worried about not being perfect to have fun any longer.
So I jollied her into giggling through one last Jumpers run, picked her up at the end of the course–the better to offer her cookies–and walked off the course to bury my face in her ruff and cry. Yes, like a baby.
It’s the right thing for her, so we’re doing it. But oh, I will miss running my Belle Princess.