Post for a Retired Agility Princess

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.


PACH Cheysuli's Silver Belle, CD RE MXP5 MJP6 XFP PAX2 EAC EJC CGC

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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17 Responses to Post for a Retired Agility Princess

  1. Heather says:

    my screen is all blurry now. HUGS to you and scritches to the beautiful Belle!

  2. KristenB says:

    What a career she’s had, and she is such a pretty girl!!! Hugs.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I got tears in my eyes–and still have them. What a wonderful, generous, brave little dog…and how sad (for you) that she’s also such an honest and stern self-critic.

    Hugs to both of you, scritches for her, and if there’s any way to convey to her that I think she’s perfect–absolutely and miraculously perfect–well, I know you’re doing that anyway, from you, which is more important to her.

    Belle, you didn’t just “ring” in your life, as most bells do…you ROCKED! Enjoy being the princess now, and understand that nothing could make you anything less than perfect.

  4. Doranna says:

    I’m thinking I’ll do some rally with her on agility trial grounds, and hope it makes her feel special that way. (She’s got to come. It would break her heart to be left home while we drove off with the boys.)

    I’ll do my best to convey her perfection to her!

    I think there’s going to be a blurry screen virus going around here for the next week or so.

  5. Lorraine says:

    Yup. Blurry screen on this end, too. Hugs to Belle. What a trooper.

  6. Wolf says:

    She’s a beautiful dog, inside and out.

  7. Laurie says:

    Humpf! That blurry screen virus has made its rotten way to the East Coast. Double blurry cause it also attacked my glasses.

    Beautiful Belle, thank you for your courage, your determination, and your deep down stubborn never-make-do attitude. You can teach all of us a lot. You truly are Royalty. Enjoy your well-deserved titles and come with the boys, cheer them on, and occasionally, just occasionally, on those agility trial grounds, enjoy yourself and make your mom show her stuff.

  8. Marilyn says:

    Ah! There’s something beyond special about those long-bodied and short-legged dogs. And all of our furkids reach retirement age too, too, too soon.

  9. Erica Bellcoff says:

    She is forever a brilliant princess and had a wonderful time with the mother that means the most to her.

  10. KarenJG says:

    Hugs and cheers for The Most Perfectest Princess Belle! (Even if she is sometimes a carrier for Blurry Screen Virus.) She’s following the time-honored celebrity adage: Always leave ’em wanting more!

  11. Kristine says:

    The virus just hit the Midwest.

    Lovely beribboned Belle.

  12. Doranna says:

    It’s a pretty fierce virus!

  13. Jennifer says:

    Aw, Belle Baby! Belleness! You indeed are perfect! I remember the day I gave you to Doranna as a house-warming present when she stayed here for six months to see if Arizona suited her firbrocrud–not because I didn’t value you, but because she fell so deeply in love with you. I remember, too, Doranna taking you back to Rochester to organize a permanent move to the Southwest: a little blue girl in a Sherpa bag peering out through the netting. So many wonderful, wonderful things you and YourMom accomplished! I am so, so proud of you, Miss Bellevator. You may be retired, but you can keep ConneryBeagle and DartBeagle in line!

    Love, Firstmom

    PS: You really are perfect!

  14. Doranna says:


    I can still see her ears magically appearing in the side door window, as she sproinged to that startling height outside the door.

    She really IS perfect. 8) I’ll keep working on convincing her…

  15. Mom says:

    The virus has hit me hard. Now I know what you have doing this week. Belle is so special.

  16. Mom says:

    …and so are you.

  17. Doranna says:


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