The New Dog – A Gift from Charlie

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I’m not the person who can wait between dogs. I was already searching for a new dog when I knew I was saying goodbye to my heart dog, Charlie. He meant the world to me, but Springers are something I cannot live without.

My search had me interested in a few rescues from ESRA, none of which I even got to chat with the foster parents about.

My friend and huge supporter, the ESRA Ohio Coordinator mentioned a young female coming into the system. The little girl sounded great…. the right age, high energy, and of course had some interesting background story.

I agreed to take her as a Foster to Adopt. I was planning on going to Ohio after Christmas for a visit with my Grandma…. that got pushed up to the weekend before.

As I was crossing the Ohio border from Pennsylvania, I saw a message pop up from ESRA…. The owner is backing out of the surrender….

My mind went racing with options to tell him to get this dog.

None of them worked. It was confirmed that evening that the owner decided to go another direction (AKA sell the dog). After all of this, I had found out the dog was from a bad, irresponsible breeder…. so I was probably better off. After 30 seconds of being upset it hit me… Charlie did this. He didn’t think it was the right dog.

NEXT!

Yup, I moved on… No dwelling… my dad didn’t want to drop it… I had to tell him to… (yes dad, you can be stubborn, I would know I am your daughter)

I messaged a springer/Dockdogs friend who had mentioned keeping her eyes out of available breeder dogs.

She mentioned that there was a young female 10 minutes from the Pond/winery we love. The owners were open to meeting me and letting me meet her.

This lovely little girl was Gillian. She’s a petite, lovable goofy girl.

Boxing Day my best friend and I hopped in the car and went to their farm. When we came inside with Eddie. She was super excited to meet new friends. When we sat on the floor she ran up and play bowed and slide into us… it was the cutest thing ever! (Wish I caught it on film)

She gave me the sweetest little kisses and wanted to cuddle. Eddie was trying to be the serious protector, which I didn’t let happen.

The breeders and I talked for hours. Enjoyed a few mimosas. The question really didn’t come up, “do you want her?”

I finally just asked “How much?” The wife referred me to the husband, who tried to refer me back to the wife. As we discussed money and spaying, the wine bottle was brought up… an amazing 2004 California Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a wonderful bottle of wine, although we each got small sip. Another bottle was brought up… we’re saving that for NYE dinner- Lamb since it’s a Syrah one of my favorites.

At this point, it was confirmed we all got along.

As the next bottle was about to be opened, we decided it best we leave before we stayed there all day.

I got my springer. She’s sweet, an excellent snuggler, loves the water, and is silly. She’s also beautiful.

Last night, I realized she is truly a gift from my Chuckaboo (he may have had a little help from a few of my other guardian angels), but he helped bring an amazing little pup into my life.

So officially I am welcoming Miss Maisel (yes after the Amazon show) to Team Springing In!

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Dear Charlie- a goodbye

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Dear Charlie,

I love you more than I think you will ever know. Our 4 years has been a wild ride but feels too short. You have been an amazing addition to my life. You have brought me so much joy, so many laughs and so much knowledge.

Charlie, you have taught me so much about love, compassion, dogs, and myself. You have taught me how to compartmentalize my emotions when there is a job to be done. You have taught me that dog training involves just as much training for me as a handler. Plus, you inspired this blog.

Our time together, from the first picture I saw of you to now, has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people who I now call friends. You have helped me see how amazing my support system really is.

We have had so many ups and our handle of downs. Through all of it, I have no regrets. I would do it all over again. I hope you cross over the rainbow bridge knowing you have a furmomma you loves you more than she’s ever loved anything, possibly anyone.

I wish we had more time. It feels like we are getting robbed, but I know you will be happier and hopefully pain free. I don’t know your whole history, but I hope you know that your four years with me were happy, fun, and full of all the love you deserve.

From day one, I knew we had adventures in store, I had no idea where they’d take us, but I’m happy the world brought us together. I believe you and I were meant to be.  Yea, you bit me a few times (okay more than a few) but I understand that you probably have a darkness in you, just like I have gone through with experiencing my trauma and depressions. I understand you wanted to give me your all but had a hard time trusting because of your history, and that’s okay. I believe you love me and will until the end.

Just know that I really did try everything I could to improve things for you. I hope you know that I would do so much more if I thought it would help, but I know you are probably ready and you will find relief on the other side. I will be heartbroken, and no dog will fill the void you will leave in my heart.

Please visit when you are ready. I’d love to have you with me in spirit or in my dreams. You will always be a part of me and have my heart.

Charlie, you are one amazing, smart, handsome dog! I will never forget you.

Love,

Your Furever Momma

Megan

 

The Decision – difficult, painful, but made

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I’ve had the hardest time coming up with words for this part of our story. I’ll admit I’ve known this part of the story was going this direction for a few days now, but writing it here makes it so real. So… here it goes….

As you have hopefully already read in The Bite, The Communicator and The Event, you know the prior month and a half have been terribly emotional. You may even have cried with me. (warning- you’re probably going to cry more… grab your tissues)

Since the bite, I’ve added Prozac and CBD oil back in Charlie’s routine. I even pulled out the twice a day pill box that always makes me think of older adults… like grandpa’s age (okay this still sounds terrible)… moving on… After a month or so of just that, I added Trazadone, after additional research and conversations.

After the first animal communicator conversation, I added Carpofen to Charlie’s routine.

After the second communicator, I added essential oils and a diffuser to the routine.

The trainer said no couch and no bed for Charlie… after the communicator, I said okay, come on up!

My heart said keep trying…. My emotions were a wreck…. to put it nicely I’ve been an emotional basket-case since the bite. I have seen Charlie have good days, bad days, great mornings and rough evenings. I’ve seen him wiggle his nubbin and I’ve seen him growling and mad.

As all of this has gone on, I have had to decide what is best for Charlie, myself, Eddie and Maggie (the cat).

Charlie has been muzzled 90-95% of the day and night. He’s spent a good deal of time in his crate, some due to his choice, some due to thoughts it may help, and some due to the diffuser seeming to help take the edge off for him.

A constant in Charlie and I’s time together is the fact that from day one I have been trying to build his trust in me. After a year, I thought maybe he’s just slower to trust than most, after two, it’s just who he is… coming up on four…. okay something isn’t right.

After two communicators confirmed, different types/styles, but both said he had been badly abused…. brutally abused…. I don’t have words to describe how i felt when they told me what he described… from being beat with a stick, to being kicked, to being stuck in something made of concrete and what sounded like chicken wire and he tried to gnaw his way out.

He probably has a brain injury, migraines, PTSD, anxiety, fear, the list seems to go on.

I understand why he doesn’t trust now. It bothers me he doesn’t seem to trust me, but he doesn’t trust anyone from the sounds of it.

Over the last few weeks, including today, I have sat on the couch and he would growl at Eddie as Eddie bounded down the stairs after playing with the cat. Or Charlie would growl at Maggie just for being on the stairs looking towards the couch or thinking about walking through to get water…. I would talk to him, say things like “I’m okay,” “we’re a pack, Maggie & Eddie are family,” “I’m safe,” “You’re fine,” and “it’s okay.” This has continued without improvement.

The boys and I went to visit my best friend and have some fun, well needed during grad school, and of course involved wine. Charlie and Eddie got to hang with us in the living room and he decided to show his growling moment.

He also showed how he growls and has his nubbin going at the same time. He showed his happy side.

But the moment he laid on top of me and growled at my best friend, who he knows well, for coming near me, left a terrible thought in my friend’s mind. She had to be honest, which I appreciate 100%. She told me at the breakfast table that she has struggled with the thoughts and the process of it, but finally came to the decision that if Charlie was hers she would put him down. I understood, but it crushed me at the same time.

This is someone I go to for many things, good days, bad days, questions about life, questions about dogs, or just to smile and laugh. I trust her completely. I take her opinion very seriously.

I knew I had to start processing this more. What I haven’t mentioned is my random trips to the springer rescue website to look at what young dogs are available. Or my email inquiring about one.

I looked at my best friend, and grappled with this idea. I decided “lets try adding one more med. If that doesn’t work then we know it’s time.”

The next few days, I called my vet, I talked through this plan. I picked up the meds. I saw the first dog I inquired about was pending adoption… moved on to a second one… quickly emailing the coordinator to ask questions…. next thing I know, and hour after I got her response I had a new application submitted. (some part of me was accepting the inevitable)

I’d go back and forth between happy charlie and growling Charlie. When he was happy I thought “- Was I doing the right thing? He’s happy today. Are the meds working?” Then he’d growl at Eddie or Maggie again.

While chatting with my vet I had scheduled an appointment for Eddie and Charlie to go in. Eddie needed an anal gland expression and my goal was a nail trim for Charlie….

Have I mentioned by this point I’m drowning in final papers, take home exams and stress? Did I mention I had to go to urgent care and my blood pressure was “Prehypertensive?”

The morning of the vet appointment I woke up so confused. I had this dream that made no sense to me. I saw Charlie curled up on a couch in his muzzle (okay my subconscious knows he is dangerous, coming to terms with one thing there). The person I was chatting with and watching TV with…. someone I hadn’t seen in years who recently passed away. Later in the dream there was a moment of her washing dishes.

I immediately started trying to translate the dream, but nothing I was finding made sense. I posted to Facebook hoping one of my many friends had a talent for translating dreams… sure enough. I got a response. I filled her in and her response “you got your answer. You may not know what it is now, but you will when the time is right.”

I worked on my final paper for a bit. Trying to focus on the task at hand, but anxious to get to the vet (it’s my scheduled break from paper writing and I am a procrastinator).

I get the leashes out. Charlie didn’t growl when I put his leash on, this is unusual. Typically he growls and gets mad, but this time, he’s fine. Eddie’s barking up a storm he doesn’t want to get left behind.

We get there, check in, weigh in (Charlie at 52.0 lbs and Eddie at 27.7 lbs) and go to sit and wait. I knew we were early, but I was anxious. Charlie and Eddie were excited to say hi to the lady who joined us in the waiting area shortly after. Charlie ended up laying down right next to her like he was her best friend.

It was our turn… we head into the room and the vet tech confirms that Eddie needs the usual and takes him back first… Everyone knows how difficult Charlie is. (We go to the vet a lot!) They return to the room, Eddie smelling like some version of pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice latte. The conversation begins…. I go through our history…. the adoption, the bites, the medical treatments, the ear infections, the emotions. It came time to mention that we weren’t doing any vaccinations since I wasn’t sure how long I would have charlie.

It hit me like a tanker truck…. I had my answer…. The vet came in. She has known Charlie almost as long as I have. She has seen his worst, his improvements and now his backslide. She has heard about every bite, every hospital visit, every problem. We talked about how we don’t know what’s wrong, but is appears to mental health and that can be has miserable as some medical diagnoses for animals. We talked about the decision I was about to make. “it’s the compassionate thing to do,” “it’s the right thing to do,” but none of that made me feel any less heartbroken.

We left the conversation with me coming up with a timeline. I wanted one last photo shoot with Charlie and Eddie. I wanted to show Charlie a wonderful time and give him all his favorite things- swimming, running, eating chicken, eating eggs, and socks. I also wanted friends to be able to say good bye. I began planning his last meals and what drive-thrus we’d hit… Starbucks for breakfast and a puppuccino, Chick-fil-a for chicken nuggets….

I spent the afternoon, at Starbucks avoiding looking at Charlie, and late into the evening (at home) fighting emotions to write my paper and turn it in before midnight. All while planning a pawty and setting it up on Facebook.

The following day was our club banquet celebrating the 2018 dockdogs season. I love the banquet. I see all my friends, we do a white elephant exchange with excitement and stealing gifts and drama (the fun kind) and good food and a few cocktails. This time, I was half there. Things made me tear up. I had to walk away during the rainbow bridge video of the dogs who passed that year… next year… it will be Charlie in that video. I had to tell a few people only because when they hugged me I started crying, or because they were such amazing supporters of Charlie and I, I couldn’t bear to hold the secret when face to face with them.

I sat with my friends, holding back tears during the awards and presentations. I tried to have fun during the gift exchange and steals…. I did appreciate the timing of my gift being stolen because I got an awesome new giant travel mug to hold my wine.. I mean coffee in at events… But this year was tough. I had the knowledge of my decision in my mind. I wanted to be home with Charlie and Eddie.

One friend mentioned this amazing trainer and I had to try… meanwhile I had my mind made up… but the comment gave me a glimmer of hope and I began second guessing myself…. tears came…. and I went outside and puddled into a wreck on the restaurant’s patio….

Over the next twenty-four hours, I seconded guessed my decision, I debated trying training… the boys and I went to the very first park Charlie and I went to for a photo shoot with a close friend. The boys had a blast, Charlie’s nubbin was going and after the annoying posed photos they got to run and be crazy. I got to laugh and smile, not one tear shed. After, I finished my take-home exam.

Monday morning, I had to do another take home exam, but when done, I called the vet, I typed up my prior posts that I couldn’t type while injured…. Right as I started to decide I had been at Starbucks long enough my vet returned my call… I asked her two questions “Do you think training will help Charlie?” Okay it was Three… “Can you train bite inhibition?” and “If he was your dog,….what would you do?”

The answers…. No, No and if “I had been bitten to the extent of medical attention like you, I’d put him down.” It was what I needed to hear. I scheduled it for December 21st at 5pm (apologizing that she would have to put Charlie down on the Friday before Christmas)

My heart hurt, it was heavy, but the decision was made. I began to plan his Pawty. Inviting more people. Deciding what else we should do. I got home and cuddled with him, I got into my head like I do and cried some more…

Today, the second animal communicator, emailed. She had finally connected with Charlie again. What she said in this email put me into tears instantly, but lightened the weight of the decision I had made…. “He is unhappy, it isn’t you.” “I didn’t ask The Question without your permission.”

I responded that I had made the choice to schedule to put him down (those words are so difficult to say) and asked if he wanted it to be sooner and if not, then did he want to see friends, say goodbye and enjoy his favorite things- chicken, eggs and socks?

At this point I was that girl who won’t stop checking for texts… every 2 minutes refreshing my phone. I needed to know his hopes for timing. I don’t want to drag it out. I began second guessing the choice of timing.

She confirmed he would love to spend time with friends eating lots of treats and he wants me to bring his favorite sock with him…. What favorite sock? There are so many socks he gets… the answer?! “He showed me an image of a big red and what sock full of bones.” That goofy boy wants us to bring a stocking when I say my final goodbyes…..

As I type this, I have his pawty planned, I know I will have beautiful photos in the coming weeks, I have talked to many friends, I have gotten an outpouring of support and love and understanding. He is having a terrible night…. he is so grumpy and mean today.

And I am now wondering if I am waiting too long and dragging it out and should I reschedule for Monday.

It has been the hardest choice to make. There is no diagnosis. there is no visible disease or problem. This is brain pain, this is internal. I will probably never know what was the true cause of his pain and unhappiness. I don’t feel 100% about what I am doing, but I know it’s the compassionate thing to do.

It feels so different than when I chose to put my cats and Bella down. Whiskers, who had a softball size tumor between his shoulder blades. Sophie, who had liver failure, was skin and bones and yellow from jaundice. Lastly, Bella, our springer momma dog who we had for three short months who we realized had two types of cancer and surgery was unsuccessful. I knew it was time for all three of them and just knew….

Charlie doesn’t have a visibly psychical aliment. It hurts that I can’t help him in any other way than to let him go. Everyone tells me I will be at peace with this but I’m not sure I will be at peace like I am with Bella, Sophie and Whiskers, this just isn’t the same. It probably will never feel the same with Charlie, I am slowly coming to terms with that, but it is so very painful.

Painful in a way I’m not sure I can describe. But I have made the decision and now to enjoy my last days with my heart dog….

I have rescheduled the procedure for Monday the 17th.

The Bite- finally ready to tell the tale

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You know  Charlie and I have had a wild ride. It’s been an adventure to say the least. But over the last year, Charlie had shown so much improvement.

I added dog sitting to my list of side hustles. Charlie did alright through most of our doggy visitors’ stays. He got stressed a bit, but dealt with all of them. We had been able to make it work.

The most recent visitors spent almost three weeks with us. (good money to say the least) They were small dogs, nothing wrong with that, and they happened required graze feeding. Something I do not do with my dogs or cat.

Charlie, as we know, is highly food motivated…. and a scavenger… Eggs out of the coop, garbage, chickens, whatever he can get into he will…. from his past that is part of his deal. I’m aware and work through it typically. Having a bowl of food on the other side of the gate was tough for him, plus add other dogs to the mix….

He got stressed to say the least. The dogs weren’t listening to Charlie or picking up the cues that most dogs would… (Growling means go away, I don’t like you etc) The one sat in front of him not moving….  I could see the intensity increasing… FAST. I held him back with my leg and pushed the visiting dog away… Charlie clamped down on my foot…. I am grateful for leather fur-lined moccasins (if you have a quirky, mouthy dog, invest in a pair!)

I left the scene of the crime with a nasty bruise and pain for a few days…. Let’s just say practicing meditation the next day proved difficult. I worked even harder to keep everyone separated and happy. Charlie got to wear his super attractive muzzle at night.

The last night of the house guest dogs, everything came to a head… It was the perfect storm.

The guests were on the other side of the baby gate in the dinning room. Eddie, Charlie and I were snuggling on the couch watching TV. Eddie and Charlie were snoozing away. The typical order of things… Eddie at the far end, Charlie then me.

Maggie, my cat, decided she wanted to join us. She popped up next to Eddie on the corner of the couch. She slowly started walking towards me… she started to get close to Charlie’s head…. “OH SHIT, she’s going to wake him up…”

Sure enough in a split second,the storm hit. Charlie startled awake, I pushed Maggie off the couch with my right foot, which was stuck under the blanket….

Chomp one… Right foot. (minimal damage- a wrist and a small scrape)

He quickly turned around and got my left wrist Chomp 2… clamped and shook. OUCH!

I yelled at him to go to his house. He did. I went to get up and get ice. I thought the worst of it was protected by my hoodie sleeve…. when I moved to get up, my wrist was dripping blood. Drips on the couch… all down my hand….

I staggered, as I started to get light headed, my way way across the house to the kitchen. I manged to close the gate between the living room and dinning room in the efforts to keep everyone safe. I got to the kitchen barely able to reach up and grab some paper towel. As I attempted to get back to the couch because I gave up on the hope of ice as I watched the blood spots grow. I couldn’t make it back. I slumped down on the floor in front of the baby gate. My phone of course on the other side on the couch.

As I laid on the floor, paper towel and right hand wrapped with pressure on my left wrist. I was ugly crying. Eddie watched me with worried eyes through the gate. I wished he could grab my phone for me.

After a few minutes of this, i finally managed to gather the strength to get up, open the gate and call my best friend.

I knew I needed medical attention. I didn’t want an ambulance. I didn’t want an uber. But who’s close enough & free? (The single dog mom life struggles are real!)

My best friend calmed me down as best she could, she started texting everyone she knew who lives near me. We talked through options. Uber, Ambulance, driving self- out for sure, and calling friends and the neighbors.

I managed to get there with the help of a sick neighbor. Two dog friends met me there. I got pain meds, antibiotics and the wonderful wound cleaning, x-rays and 2 stitches… So fun! What a great way to spend the night!

I was sent home, my friend drove me, we ordered dinner and hung out while I settled in. Charlie stayed in his crate. Eddie comforting me for a bit but preferred my friend’s lap more.

Two days later I went back to the ER for a wound check. I ended up getting admitted for infection and crazy swelling… I’m talking somewhere along the lines of Stay Puff Marshmallow man and Pillsbury Dough boy swelling.

On day 3, mom came, I was discharged and returned to the anxiety of home and the question “What’s next?”

To be honest, that question weighed heavy on my heart… even on the phone after the bite, I was open about the anxiety, how bad the bite was, and my fear that the worst outcome may be the only option…. euthanasia. (yes my mind went there… yes it was that bad)

It was scary. It was stressful. The event replays in my mind daily. But so do so many other memories….

Charlie is my sea lion, a guardian angel, my heart dog, a savior from my darkest thoughts… suicidal ideation. I’m not ready to give up on him.

Yes he has quirks, problems, whatever you want to call them but he is an amazing athlete, a loving snuggler, a big talker, a wiggly friend who’s great at nubbin’ it and my heart dog.

I know many people will hear what he did and tell me to put him down. I’m not taking that step without fighting for him.

Charlie’s trainer, vet and many of my friends support me in this choice.

If you know me you know I have anxiety and depression. I advocate for through with mental health issues to get help and support, while reducing the stigma. That brings me to the point that Charlie may have abuse in his past, he could have anxiety, or even doggy PTSD, and I am going to do everything I can to help Charlie through this.

I will try anything I can to help Charlie before deciding that saying goodbye is the only option left.

First step: was an animal communicator (which lead to a follow-up call and contact with a second).

Second step: Vet Care for headaches & other medical and mental health ailments.

Through these steps I have to keep others safe, so YES, Charlie wears his muzzle almost all day right now. Haters gonna hate.

Charlie has been muzzled trained. He can eat, drink, pant, bark and be a goofball in his muzzle. He still wiggles, and as my best friends say he’s great at “nubbin’ it.” He cuddles with it on, he humps Eddie, and can even lick his private, LIFE IS GOOD!

In order to try all these options and give him time and keep me (Eddie & Maggie) safe the muzzle is the perfect tool.

So I am on a mission to give my boy the best chance at life. He and I have been through a lot. We can handle this adventure and mission.

I rescued a dog. I fell in love. I will fight for him and do everything I can to continue to help him. 

(I wrote this post weeks ago…. handwritten because I couldn’t type well with my injuries. I have since healed, with scars as constant reminders of what I went through.  I have chatted with animal communicators, friends, my vet on multiple occasions, and may people in the springer rescue community. I’ve dealt with the stress through papers, presentation and finals for grad school. Please know your support is appreciated but opinions are not needed. I have come to terms with most of the situation and have chosen carefully to make this decision on my own…. another post coming soon)

Curious about the sea lion reference– Watch the Ripple Effect 

The Event- Dockdogs

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Charlie and I registered for our usual November event a month ago. I wasn’t going to let $100 go blowing in the wind and not attend…. even after what happened.

We bundled up, packed the car and hit the road to Easton for the last event of 2018. Typically, I’m a goofball at events, this event was so different.

After the last two weeks of anxiety, medical care, phone calls, missed classes, mom caretaker time, and so many emotions, it hit me like a tanker truck. That this weekend could be Charlie’s last dockdogs event.

People who knew helped a lot. People I trusted learned the story. Charlie and I have an amazing support system and amazing friends.

Some people remained in the dark… people asked if I was okay. I tried to respond and explain but I also wanted to enjoy our event especially because it could be our last together.

Charlie had been crate bound a  lot in the weeks prior. I wasn’t sure what he’s do. When we got on the dock for the first time he popped out a great 19’7″ to start the weekend. I’ll take it! Especially on a cold, windy, emotional day.

Up Next was EV, I wanted a grab and in the wind and Charlie’s lack of exercise…. I started us low…. 4’6″

I found out that we were alone coming in at 4’6″ and would be in it alone until 5’2″…. that means first up and back to back jumps…. Anxiety inducing!

We walked and warmed up… Took the dock. Spot the bumper…. and go to set…. I look down to the right… to the left… “there’s no tape measure….. where is our mark?” Panic. This was my first time in this situation. I didn’t know what I could do. “Can I say something?” or because I crossed the line so I have to go? I panicked so I guessed….

Charlie completely missed, belly flopping into the water. I say something to the crew member and he rushes to to find the tape measure… (the next day he finds it on the corner of the dock… SMH)

SO we set up for attempt two… I was stressing. I’ll admit it. Found our mark with ease. Charlie’s paw were set. I talked to him as he amped up… I felt him tense up and shake and released him…. he gets the grab! PHEW!

But now we’re back up for 4’8″ and have I mentioned I don’t like going back to back?! No Break, No time to reset our minds and dry off. Feeling rushed I rush… even though I have time…..

Charlie and I set up. I felt him tense up, shake a bit and release him…. I watch him run and jump and miss.

He wanted to keep going. He pulled me back to the dock… but I had to tell him only winner get to jump. I stayed and watched the other competitors before heading home bummed out, cold and emotional.

I knew Sunday was a new day. At home, we warmed up, snuggled and got some sleep. We were ready for day 2.

Day 2 included two ways of Big Air and Speed retrieve. I was in a bit of a better mood since Charlie did awesome behaviorally the day before. The weight lifted slightly.

Charlie proved he was happy to compete on day one, so day 2 should mean fewer questions.

We hung out for an hour since we got there early, too cold for practice. When it was finally time, we took the dock for our first wave of the day. Charlie popped out a 20’3″ jump.

The next wave was short at 18 feet, but it happens.

Speed retrieve proved to be Charlie’s favorite discipline yet again. He looked awesome both runs. He didn’t place but had an 8.562 second run! That’s awesome for a cold day and no practice for weeks! I was happy.

We squeezed our way into finals by an inch in 6th place. Charlie proved to be consistent and excited with two 20’2″ jumps! He took home 4th place in Master Finals.

For Iron Dog, he got 3rd place for the warrior division- a very pretty ribbon included and a bag of goodies.

I was thrilled with Charlie’s performance and behavior, especially considering the priors weeks events. We have a great weekend.

I truly hope it’s not our last competition. He is an awesome jumper and had fans talking about him as they left the pool…. Overheard….”Did you see that springer?… He looked like superman” (Proud mommy moment for sure!)

The emotions are still strong. I can’t wait to get moving on working with him. But I’m keeping my goals small. Next goal is to compete in January at World of Pets… Back of my mind… go to world 2019 with him….

So fingers crossed that we will be hitting the dock again in January 2019!

The Communicator- a Chat

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So it’s been a rough few weeks. I’m not ready to share the worst of it yet, but I”ll share a bit of the positive aftermath.

You all have heard Charlie I’s roller coaster ride of a story and it’s no surprise to tell you that I finally contacted an animal communicator.

I Called her at the schedule time after asking his age, her first comment was “He gets headaches.”

That’s fixable, we’re off to a good start.

She continued on to describe how Charlie was beaten, mostly in the head by his prior owner. The guy’s weapon of choice, a stick, a broken broom stick. He was never properly fed and never got any checks but was blamed for it.

I was bawling my eyes out. I had a feeling there was abuse but NOT like that!

She went on to tell me that the day he met me, he knew I liked him right away but didn’t think he was adoptable.

She said he thinks he’s stupid and not handsome because the guy told him that. But she could see all the good in Charlie. (Relief!- I see it too!)

BUT THE HEADACHES!

The communicator mentioned places to check in scans/x-rays and if he sees a chiropractor.

She also explained that Charlie Loves his creature comforts…. the couch, the pillows, the blankets…. He loves going for rides especially through the drive-thru! He LOVES the drive-thru!

My heart melted. Charlie is happy. He likes me! Again Relief!

The conversation continued to the dreaded topic. She didn’t bring it up. So I did.

“Does he know what he did?”

She didn’t pick up on what it was so she asked and I described it. The start of our recent rough patch.

“He doesn’t remember it, but doesn’t want to hurt you again.” He was startled and gets reactive in that state. He has a blind spot in his right eye and the pain… the headaches.

I asked what he thinks of Maggie, the cat. “Oh she’s crazy, he doesn’t trust her. He doesn’t want her to stalk him.” I laughed, this was so Charlie to say.

I asked if he likes Eddie “he’s silly and goofy, but he leaves me alone when Charlie growls. He likes that!”

I was speechless. Running out of quetsions. I asked about my dad’s male springer, Dirk. “Charlie thinks he’s a jerk. He’s pushy.” AGAIN spot on! Dirk is a jerk and pushy.

So a blind spot in one eye, trauma, head injuries, low self-esteem and so much more going on. My anxiety level seemed to reduce a bit.

This single 40 minute phone call gave me hope and a road to travel. Things to try.

Prior to the call I was so scared we have two options- Charlie lives and it continues to be unsafe or charlie’s put down. The second option isn’t an option in my heart yet.

I called my vet immediately and left a message. I felt crazy telling the reciptionist what the message was in regards to… “an animal communicator said….” But my vet has been amazing and open to all the crazy things I’ve done with charlie… CBD oil, training, Essential oils, meds…..

Sure enough, when she called back she put him on pain meds for the heads. We have steps to try and move forward.

It was an amazing experience and we had a follow up call with the same communicator since so may questions popped up after the first call.

Neptune Festival – A Winning Weekend

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It was a great weekend for Charlie, Eddie and I in Virginia Beach this weekend! We went down Saturday to spend the weekend with some of our Dockdogs friends right on the boardwalk during the Neptune Festival!

The ocean breeze, the sun, and the beach life made it a wonderful relaxing, but fun event! I feel refreshed minus the stiff sore muscles!

Charlie has been on fire the last few months! This event continued that fire!

Quick note: National events vs club events…. Club events (where our personal best is 21’9″) have two human judges, manually judging jumps… National events (our PB going into the weekend 19’6″) use a camera to judge the jumps.

Charlie’s national title is still senior, and his national average is only 16 something. I wasn’t sure what we would do but I knew we’d have fun!

Saturday we got stuck waiting for a parade before we could settle into our dogtown spot next to the one and only Team A Shore Thing- if you can, you want to set up near them. They are so prepared (for everything) and are always offering food and drinks. Thank you A Shore Thing! You have a big fan in us!

After we got set up, Charlie got to take a practice jump. He was READY! He was so happy to know where we were and see that dock!

We did one Big Air wave (for new fans, that’s the doggy long jump). Charlie was ready to hit the dog, pulling, barking being his usual dockdogs ready self!

We hit the dock and sure enough, he FLEW. It felt great! Looked great too! We ended up taking first place senior in the wave with a 19’8″

I WAS THRILLED! This is huge for Charlie based on his typical national event distances.

We got to see some of my wine friends and Eddie and I walked the boardwalk with them and Ruby, a 3 month old shepard mix…. she got all the loves, Eddie’s ego was crushed.

Next up, was EV…. (doggy high jump). It’s our 4th time attempting EV, so I never know what to expect. We got a practice jump at 4’8″ Charlie had a great grab and the crowd loved it.

Competition started… We entered at 4’10″….

Charlie had a beautiful grab.

We went back up for 5 feet. Charlie nosed the bumper, it waved in the air taunting me.

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Photo Credit: Leaping Libby’s mom 

I get charlie back on the dock. The announcer said something strange and confused me. My brain was going full speed anxiety plus adrenaline…. I didn’t take my time… released charlie and he barely got half way to the bumper… our second miss.

I knew it didn’t feel right. (we’ll be practicing EV more often now!)

A friend invited us to dinner, and then we headed to our humble abode for the evening. Charlie of course found all the smells, toys and socks.

The morning was nice and relaxing, nothing better than an 11am start. I gave Charlie a half dock practice jump just to get ready.

We took the dock for the first wave of the day. Sure enough Charlie was showing off! He hit two new Personal Bests breaking 20 feet on camera! Talk about exciting! He looked amazing too! He was fast and it felt great! We took first place master with a 20’4″.

Next wave, we hit the dock in group four, waiting gets annoying after being in the first group all weekend! But it helped! Charlie was a rockstar! Getting another new Personal best of 20’5″ to take 3rd place master (it was the biggest wave of the weekend!)

Charlie clinched first place in the finals bubble for Semi Pro with that 20’5″

Next up was the final discipline of Iron Dog… Speed Retrieve. Charlie’s favorite.

He was ready. Our first jump was a smooth run, good release, good reaction time, and happy mom. I was thrilled with a 7.563 second run. It got us fourth place overall and 3 place cadet! The second run was a bad release, bad reaction time, I was ready for the light to change and it didn’t! Charlie pulled forward and I head him back and then the light changed… slow reaction time was the result and it was an 8 something second run.

Now it was time to prep for finals. Felt like we waited forever, but it’s always exciting hitting the dock for finals. The crowd was big and loud. The competition fierce!

Charlie was last since he was the first place dog going into finals. We popped out a solid 19’8″…. one inch better than our friend Kuki who got 19’7″.

We got back in line. This is the toughest part… I want to pay attention to the jump distances, but I want to keep Charlie in the zone and excited. As the group went for their second jumps, Kuki hit the dock before us and popped out a 19’6″…. solidifying out first place finish.

We earned ourselves a victory jump! I set up Charlie, annoyed him in our usual fashion of a kiss on the head some annoying chest rubs and a “Jump big!” reminder! He was focused on the end of the dock and that pool.

I took my walk down the dock ready to go. I stood there, Thomas the announcer asked if I wanted noise, I nodded my head, then raised my hand up and down like athletes do to get more noise….. I suddenly go from calm cool collected to crazy mom screaming okay, jumping and going into ready to throw. Charlie flew down the dock, fast, but I was ready this time and threw the toy…. he soared to an amazing jump!

From where I was standing I figured he got 19 feet and change…. Thomas announced it was a 20’3″ jump… I was thrilled! The rush hit and we earned ourselves some credits to start a new season! Always awesome to win some dockdogs credits to pay for our next events!

Needless to say, I am one proud momma!

The drive home felt like it took forever and my bed was the highlight of the return trip. The joys of being #dockdogstired- stiff, sore, exhausted and ready for three days of sleep.

But we cannot wait to hit the dock again already!

MoCo Fair- A Huge Weekend

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Going into this past weekend, Charlie and I were having a flat season. We titled up to master from senior, but continued to jump senior jumps for most of the weekends of competition, with a 20 foot jump here or there. He seemed more interested in Speed Retrieve, which we aren’t completely consistent in, but that’s okay, we love it!

A few weeks ago, we had a Members only crab feast practice. Always a great event and a chance for teams to try their hand at the other disciplines. We learned Speed Retrieve at a similar practice last year.

This year I had the goal of figuring out Extreme Vertical (EV)- The doggy high jump! Last fall, Charlie started to figure out that the bumper was up, but not how to reach it. This practice changed that.

Our president and super involved board member, were the two that help Charlie get it! Charlie was hitting 4’6″ with ease and was able to get to 5’0 but not strong. I was excited! This was huge in our world.

When he did it two practices in a row, it was time… I signed him up for his first EV competition.

We all know how my brain works- nervous, worrier with anxiety…. so the closer Saturday of Montgomery County fair came, the more anxious I got…. okay there was some excitement in there… you caught me.

Charlie and I signed up for a later big Air Wave before EV and the under the lights Big Air wave. I’m not used to having that much time before heading to an event so ended up taking the trimmers to the backyard fence line where a million trees have decided it’s a great spot to grow…. between fences (the other side has a privacy fence… so it’s my problem).

I ended up with a few small blisters but nothing major (yes this comes in later…. it’s not just a random fact for you)

When I was done with my random, energy induced boredom lumberjane session, I packed the car up and the dogs of course and hit the road.

We got to the event HOURS early. I decided to hang out in the merchandise tent to cover while we waited for the secretary to arrive. Charlie of course just wanted to play since he knew exactly what we we there for.

I did let him have one practice jump to cool off while we waited.

The first big air wave he did alright, 19 foot something. I was happy with it, but really wanted to break out of our plateau.

It was time for EV. I was beyond ready and was sure to get him to the dock while the DD staff man was still setting up the rig so Charlie could watch and know what game we were playing.

Charlie was amped! he about pulled me down while we waited.

Hit the dock for practice and he got a huge pop and grab no problem. I felt good.

It was time for compeition we were the second dog. My heart was racing. We had only done this in practice before. I stood at the back of the dock near the 35 foot mark waiting for the rig to swing around, talking to Charlie. Charlie was barking.

The rig swung over into place. The DD staff guy opened the gate stepped out, closed the gate. It was go time.

Charlie nearly pulls me into the pool as we walk to the end of the dock so Charlie can mark the bumper.

I knew he had it and we walked back to set up. As his body tenses and shakes, I feel that moment as I ask him if he’s ready….. “Get it Charlie!” and I release him… he flies to the end of the dock and grabs the 4’6″ competition grab no problem!

Relief, but we have to go again….

As we hit 4’8″ and 4’10” my heart is racing. I lose the ability to speak coherently.

He hit’s 5′ even…. other dogs are entering that I know have it over us, but I can’t tell you who was when…. Dogs missed… but Charlie was still in.

The process was intense. Rushing him off the dock, telling him to drop the bumper and rushing to dry him off, muzzle on and off again. I chugged some water hoping for some relief… nope none. My energy was high, my adrenaline in full gear, heart pounding out of my chest and now I feel like I have to vomit.

Charlie hits 5’2″- Holy Sh!T! We’re still in it. Everyone is cheering us on and I feel like a million bucks. Charlie has already gotten past his practice best.

5’4″ another huge grab! Our towel is soaked…. I ask the merchandise stand if I can owe them $5 for a chamis towel…. rush to get him dried off before taking the dock again.

This time for 5’6″…. my nerves are crazy high, our friends going crazy! Charlie and I get to the end of the dock. Charlie doesn’t seem to want to focus on the bumper. I try to get him focused.

We pulled back to line up. He amps himself up as I talk to him…. and off he goes. A beautiful jump but a miss. We have to go back to back…. Charlie is swimming under the bumper just wanting to grab it, but he’s 7 feet benenth it.

A friend grabs a spare to get his attention over to the ramp. He finally comes up. I grab his collar and bring him back to mark the bumper. Again, no focus. He’s just jumped almost 10 times in a new discipline…. I thought he had it so i brought him back to line up….

Another great big jump but miss. We were out…. but my heart was full and I was all smiles. My goober, my jerkface, smart @$$ dog just rocked out EV for his first event. We both loved it!

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My heart continued to race as the adrenaline slowly wore off. I attempted to calm myself down and come to. Friends continued to congratulate me (which of course feels amazing) but I could hardly speak…. I think it took about 20 maybe 30 minutes to become semi human again…. and a glass of wine. Thank god I packed it!

Next up was under the lights…. I was excited and so was Charlie. It was an easy adjustment back to big air. His first jump was okay, his second was 20 feet even. I’ll take it! Day one, after a long round of EV and hitting our title, even if it was the lowest mark, I was thrilled we hit it!

The next day, we were in the first wave at 10am. I let charlie get the bad jump out of the way and gave him a practice jump. We managed two 20 feet jumps that wave. I decided we had to jump again….

I signed up him for the second and final Big Air wave. Our last chance to make finals.

We hit the dock and he was ready, I could feel it. My throw was okay, but I watched him twist as he slipped off the dock. The announcer explained it was okay, since he meant Charlie was jumping off the very end of the dock. I was worried, but he came out of the pool and walked just fine.

I attempted to play tug with the bumper and keep him interested in it… he does not have a good record focusing and tracking the bumper…. I did the best I could to keep him focused and excited.

We hit the dock. This was it. Our last chance to try to make it into Master finals for a second time.

I lined him up. He sat. I bugged him a bit, gave him the usual kiss on the head and annoying chest rub…

I walk the distance of the dock…. I turn around and look, he’s sitting there, anxiously awaiting the signal. I wave the bumper, release him and he comes running down the dock, I throw the toy (maybe a tad late) and he’s midair flying…. it felt and looked great from my view…. now we wait for the judges to calculate….

the announcer has a tone in his voice as he begins the distance… twenty… one… feet…. nine inches…

This is a foot longer than Charlie’s personal best. I was thrilled! We not only busted out of our 20 foot holding pattern, we crushed it!

We took fourth place and came in as second alternate for finals, but my head was high and I was (still am) super proud of my boy!

Charlie and I have been through so much and for him to show this much improvement and the feels in our relationship. means the world to me. To think back to the first bite and the wild ride we’ve had, this moment felt amazing!

Speed Retrieve we managed an 8.246 second run for 3rd place in our division! I was happy with that!

We hung out, danced in the rain and cheered on our friends in finals before packing up and heading home.

Charlie was super cuddly and slept like a rock. The few times I woke up, Charlie was right there ready for more loving. He knew how awesome we did! He and I are still feeling amazing…. but super #dockdogstired!

A huge shot out to those that supported us. Especially my 1.0, for reminding me that she told me so. ♥

To my future self who gets frustrated at being at the bottom again- get over it, and keep working! Improvement is success, just because you didn’t win or hit the goal or beyond, 6 more inches is awesome!

PS: Find more photos and videos of Charlie on his Facebook page! @TeamSpringingIn

 

Chicken – F—ing Chicken

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If you’re friends with me on facebook you’ve seen “Poop Watch 2018” and the emoji’s of a dog, a dinner plate and fork, and two chickens. Here’s your chance to hear the whole story right from the horses…. I mean Chicken’s mouth…

Charlie and I were off to a great start on Saturday of the Delmarva Dockdogs event in Harrington Delaware on Saturday. We got a 19’4 which didn’t get us anything since we’re title master, but put him in our usually standings to get a good 20 foot jump on Sunday.

Throughout the day there was talk of a chicken pickin’ contest. (I should mention we were at an outdoor show) I didn’t witness this event, but I can picture chicken pieces flying everywhere and Charlie under the table loving every minute of it… I swear Charlie dreams of chicken.

The event gave the left over million and one chickens to our club, Delmarva DockDogs (#Bestclub2018 #handsdown #nocontest…. CDD I love you too!)

The volunteers and club members started emptying boxes of chickens into bags, other members took a whole box to their truck to head home. I smelled chicken salad in my future. So I offered to take two chickens, but needed them to stay in a camper on site to stay chilled.

My bunk mate also took two chickens. Which were put in my cooler to go to the hotel with us.

The rest of the evening the chickens were safe in the comfort of the cooler and later the hotel fridge.

Charlie did well sharing a room with another dog. I was very proud of him. But to add a certain layer to the story each dog in the room peed on my bed…. must have been a scent on the mattress I wasn’t picking up on… THANK GOD! (I think I just vomited in my mouth thinking of the possibilities)

In the morning, I let my roommate get moving first. She was nice enough to pack my cooler up for me while I finished getting ready to head back to the event.

I packed up my belongings into the car, leaving the cooler and my purse and the dogs last. I plopped the soft sided rectangular cooler on the back seat, I was in a rush I wanted caffeine and breakfast. (i’m not a morning person, lack of human functioning is the best way to describe my morning process)

On my way to the event I stopped by Royal Farms (I know it’s ironic in a story about chicken, to my readers elsewhere, Royal Farms is a gas station/convenient store with “world famous” fried chicken). I ran in and grabbed a bottle of water, a bottle of iced green tea, a small coffee for my roommate with extra french vanilla cream, and a breakfast sandwich.

There was one person in line ahead of me. I patiently waited my turn to pay. With all of my items gathered, still no food or caffeine in my system, I head to my car.

As I turn to my car, I see Charlie in his going to town, having a field day, can’t stop, won’t stop, don’t catch me in the act motion…. “OH SHIT! What’d he get!?!”

I juggle the things in my hand put the coffee down. Charlie is ready to murder someone with the angry resource guarding growl. Eddie hops into the back seat away from the drama. I’m screaming, searching for the remote of power.

Charlie is done with whatever was in that bag. I step back to the backdoor, open the door, and look at the cooler. Charlie took no time at all in ripping open the zipper of the cooler (easily fixed, by pulling the zipper back and re zipping… positive thought: cooler bag survived! I looked into to the cooler to see the contents. Apples, ice packs, french onion dip….

I realize at that moment…. it was two whole roasted chickens.

I’m furious. Mostly at Charlie for eating it and me for not putting the cooler in the trunk.

I pull into the event, park my car, leave the dogs in the car and take my breakfast and the hot coffee to it’s owner. The look on my face had to be pure anger and frustration.

I’m asked what happened… so I answer “Charlie ate the two whole chickens.”

I explained I had no idea they were in the cooler, my friend answered with she thought they were mine and that she forgot she took two. I said it’s okay, not your fault! (it really isn’t her fault!)

I ate my lunch and tried to cool off before getting the dogs out. I put Charlie in his crate and Eddie at his welcoming committee/assistant admin station for the day. (#bestcheerleader2018 #vote4Eddie)

All of the standard concerns are flying through my mind… bones, chicken, fat….. I’m trying to work through solutions in my brain with very little resources since I’m at a fairgrounds, and most of our camping friends were just getting up and still needed to stock the campers for the summer. Camper 1- no olive oil, Camper 2- no olive oil, but coconut oil!

I figured grease up the system and lube the gears to push those bones out. I gave that to Charlie.

I also called my vet. I never call her, I always text. She denies my call and texts “Sorry, about to board a plane”

I respond “no worries, Charlie ate two whole rotisserie chickens.”

Then started the advice from all of my dockdog family.

“Try bread. It cushions it and helps hold the bones”

“Don’t feed him.”

“Better keep an eye on him!”

Meanwhile, I’m thinking back to the other times Charlie has gotten chicken, as well as to the following video (there is swearing, but in a cute Irish girl’s accent)

I remembered all of the times he was just fine after eating things he shouldn’t… But what if this was the one time it wasn’t okay.

I walked him. He took a fabulous poop. Almost perfect in the world of Charlie Poop. We were set to jump at 9, 11 and Speed Retrieve.

I went to the handlers meeting. We were the 7th dog in group 1. Let’s do this. I had a bit of concern, but we came to jump.

Charlie and I take the dock. He’s pretty fired up…. 18’8″

Well that’s just getting the dust off. My throw felt good…. hmm…

Back in line. Charlie was barking at the dock, ignoring the bumper (fairly standard).

Back up for jump two….. 17’9″…. hmm… that’s not good….

The annoucer said something, and my response was must be the chicken. Suddenly, the announcer, our amazing club president says, “Megan come talk to me when you’re done.”

What goes through my mind? “Oh Shit, I’m in trouble. Got called tot he principle’s office.”

John looked at me, with this face of concern, and told me I shouldn’t jump Charlie. He explained that what if a bone did get lodged somewhere and Charlie hit the water just right and he didn’t want to see that.

Heart Megan kicked in… super sad, emotional, wanting to jump Charlie. Worried that Charlie was going to miss his favorite event: Speed Retrieve.

Brain Megan, sat back and let heart Megan take the lead, although kicked her and said “what about the money?”

John worked that out. But it was time for heart Megan to cry and be emotional. I grabbed my phone and sat in the car to call my 1.0… she’ll know what to do and what to say.  Our admin, Laura, called her vet.

1.0 and I talked it through. I should go home, spend the time studying rather than sit and hang out and be miserable, Debbie Downer. (I’m overly competitive, and that didn’t help matters)

I told my people to just say Charlie needs to rest, and Megan needs to study, which became Charlie needs to study and Megan needs to rest.

Marian and her husband Marc asked about helping me pack up. All of my people stepped up and supported me, giving me great hugs and helping Charlie, Eddie and I hit the road for home.

Brain Megan knew that was the best thing to do, get Charlie home so he can hang in the yard, and I study for finals.

It was a tough drive home. Leaving our favorite people and favorite activity, leaving the fun because Chucky…. f***ing Chucky ate 2 chickens… f***ing chickens.

When we got home, I was exhausted, hotel sleep never does me any good. I decided to take a quick nap.

The quick nap turned into multiple hours. No studying was done. But I wasn’t dwelling on not jumping and not winning.

I did speak with our vet and we decided on rice and scrambled eggs Sunday night, I did that for two days, light and easy on his upset tummy.

I let Charlie out constantly. I watched his every move. Just waiting for a poop…. Sunday night nothing. Monday morning…. liquid poop. (Gross! I know, but you need the details!) and again, and again…. I was texting our favorite vet by now and she said she’d get him some meds for the diarrhea. I was worried so emailed my teacher and said I wouldn’t make class. Charlie and I went and picked up his meds. Got another poop semi solid, which a bone chunk in it.

Oh and the Farts… NASTY! I think in a contest he could compete with 1.0’s danes in the fart smell division!

Tuesday…. nothing… and I had no plans, so I studied and let Charlie out throughout the day.

Wednesday morning… a solid, very interesting poop… you could see grass, what appeared to be a bone.

He’s been on Beef and rice for two days. He’s acting his normal quirky, special self… snuggling one minute and growling the next, but wiggling his little nubbin.

So chicken strikes again…. I think from now on dockdogs weekends will not involve chicken… especially bone in.

I also wish speed retrieve was on Saturday so Charlie didn’t have time to ruin that for us, but for now, I’ll be putting the cooler in the trunk…. no matter what is or isn’t in it!

Ps- if enough people request. I will share the photos of the grassy poop. Yes I took a photo.

World of Pets- Springing in to action

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The 2018 dockdog season has begun! I would have posted sooner, but I was #DockDogstired yesterday, I slept until class and got home and was asleep by 8 pm. The boys didn’t seem to mind all the rest either!

Charlie and I kicked off the dockdogs season with the first jumps of the year at World of Pets expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Friday we got there early so I could volunteer. Charlie eagerly awaited his turn to hit the dock. He was very impatient being that we got there at 11:30 and didn’t jump until 3pm or after. Eddie hung with the wonderful admin all weekend, greeting everyone and cheering everyone on.

Charlie was ready! He didn’t want to hold a sit stay to save his life. I had to put him back at least 2-3 times each jump Friday and Saturday morning. (highly frustrating)

Charlie managed a 19′ 1″ jump on Friday evening. I’m not going to complain that our first wave of the season Charlie is at his average jump! I wasn’t so happy with the breaking his stay…. He was excited so I hoped it would improve for Saturday’s waves.

I volunteered almost every wave I wasn’t jumping. I helped with merchandise and awards, and wrangling for extreme vertical. It was a long day, with two more to come!

Saturday morning, we got there early again and got ready for the first wave of the day. Charlie was ready again! He couldn’t wait and again broke his sit stays…. we still managed  a 19’3″ though. Again, I’ll take it!

I wrangled some more throughout the day and helped with awards and merch. I hardly sat down again.

Charlie was finally up again. We hit the dock and he broke his sit stay and ended up slipping on the final push…. 17 feet… I started to push sit stay in line and releasing for the bumper. He loved it. He showed the most interest in the bumper in line for first time in awhile.

Back on the dock, I got him placed and rushed to get to the end of the dock. When I felt his self release coming I ran and released and threw (a bit late). Charlie managed to get a 20’5″ jump (4 inches short of his Personal best at a pond event).

This was our fifth master jump, so sometime this week we will receive our master club title. (Still senior in national though!)

I signed Charlie up for an extra wave on Sunday so we could try to get a few more inches and I got back to work helping out. It was another long day on my feet.

When we got home Eddie passed out! I wasn’t far behind him.

Sunday morning again was an early morning to help out and Speed Retrieve was at 9am. Too Early for a good reaction time!

Charlie again was on fire! He was ready to go! He reached a new Personal best of 7.911 seconds. While we didn’t place he still looked great!

I hadn’t volunteered in advance but jumped in to help out! We had full waves and a time crunch to get everything in on time.

Charlie’s jump was at 1. He was breaking sit stays again and only hit 18’11” but we still came home with our last third place senior ribbon.

Then came the moment of truth… the finals bubble. Would Charlie squeak in with 20’5″?

We were the 1st alternates. We knew at least one person wasn’t coming…. and we made it! Our first master finals!

The competition was tight! We were up against a lot of awesome dogs! I wasn’t hoping high knowing what the other dogs were capable of and our personal best.

We hit the dock and got a 19’9″! Got back in line, hit the dock again and we kept the first jump score! I was happy! He is hitting 19 feet consistently!

Our friends, Mocha and Elise timed out both times, which made me sad. I know they would usually get an awesome jump in… so we finished finals in 5th place. (not the way I want to take fifth)

I was happy! Charlie got a new toy and a pretty hot pink 5th place ribbon! I’m still in shock he’s a master titled dog and made finals (all in the same weekend). He and I had some great moments together this weekend! I’m so proud of him!

And after gotcha day 2018, I’m loving seeing the difference in weights! To think he was almost 70 lbs when we started jumping, hitting 14-15 feet to 52 lbs jumping 19-20 feet!

Overall, it was a wonderful event with an amazing turnout! We got to spend time with our CDD family and a few of our DDD family! Eddie was the host with the most greeting everyone and cheering everyone on! Charlie had an amazing weekend! (We’ll be keeping paw fur trimmed and nails trimmed before events from now on!) And I had a blast!

Can’t wait to hit the dock again! (one more time before the March break)