Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We Finally (Actually) Did It! PACH Dally

Five years ago, I moved to Lexington from Oklahoma and needed to find a release for me and Dally's boredom. What started out as something to do to get us out of the apartment turned into so much more than I could ever imagine.

Starting out at 8-inches, Dally and I did well as we ventured up the ranks of AKC agility, but when we moved up to Excellent B, we struggled to be successful. While there might have been a few errors here and there, the majority of our issues was the standard course time. After a while I started taking her to a chiropractor, which then became a common occurrence because of the effort it took Dally to jump 8-inches. After some careful consideration and consulting friends and trainers, I moved down down to Preferred to jump 4-inches (which, at the time, meant starting back over in Novice) in June 2010.

But even that wasn't a simple solution--there were many times we couldn't put together two solid runs once we got back into Excellent B. We didn't double Q until July 2011, and boy was that a great feeling. It was with that first QQ that we started getting things together--Dally was moving faster (perhaps building more confidence? having more fun? jealousy over LaMesa starting to be worked more?) and we were starting to be a solid team. We ended up qualifying for the 2012 AKC National Agility Championships in Reno, Nev., and even made it to the Challenger Round. When it was announced that Preferred dogs had to get not only 6 QQs, but also 400 PACH points to qualify for the 2013 National Agility Championships, I thought there was no way we could do it...

But then we did. We squeezed in more trials than I swore to my then-fiance (now husband) I wouldn't do, but we got qualified in September. As we made our journey towards qualifying for Nationals, the idea of earning our PACH was actually becoming a reality.

I was lucky enough to earn our PACH a day after my friend, Libba, and her Polish
Lowland Sheepdog, Molly, earned their MACH. We've been training together
for four years.
I had never really thought about Dally and I earning the penultimate title in agility. When you saw MACH/PACH dogs, they were the fast, almost unbeatable teams...at least that's how I saw it. Yet I kept working at things with Dally, figuring out what worked best for her and how we could cut yardage. We might not be that perfect team, but we're starting to become pretty darn good.

Considering this was our teamwork two years ago:

And now, our PACH run:

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