Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Ok - I have been slacking in my tale from WT tryouts. But here it goes!

Departure – Dulles Airport
We left Friday morning, My husband took off of work to drop me off. We got there about 6:15
and the flight was at 8:43. So I had it all planned. I had Cheetah’s Crate all decked out in yellow and black Safety tape, Her Name in 3” letters, reflectors – the hole nine yards. It looked like it should be handled by people in HAZMAT suits. (I didn’t want them to forget to put her on the plane) . I had a little back pack put on the top, and a furniture dolly strapped to the bottom, so that I could move her around myself and not rely on the sky cap (?) people. Well, we rolled the crate on the sidewalk, and I swear that I got it about 5 feet away from the van, when one of the bolts holding the wheel on, sheared off. GRRRRHH!!! So off it goes and I’m back to relying on a little help from my new paid friends!

Luckily the second guy that came over was really nice. The first came over, started to pick up the crate…put it down, and walked away to talk to the other guy. He brought in the crate and all of my bags up to the counter, then after we took care of the paperwork and got rid of my checked bags, he rolled her crate over to an area where we could wait out of the way until it was time to check her. He then came back about 45 min later to help us get her through security and then take her down to the plane. The security check was kinda odd, the TSA guy tapped on the sides of her kennel, looked under her bedding, but almost forgot to look in the back back. Then HE had to put the zip tie around the door after we put her in.

I then went through security myself (oh what fun!) – remember I’d never flown before, so I am just looking at what the masses in front of me are doing so that I can get through as quickly as possible.

I then follow the endless stream of signs – looking for my gate ( B14 ) I feel like Dory in finding Nemo, just repeating my gate over and over again, turning left here, down the escalator, over the moving hall ways, up the escalator.

I met up with a friend, Barbara who was on the same flight as me. She is a very experienced flyer and dog traveler. I think it was very helpful to have her there to walk me through the rest of the process. There was “moderate” turbulence as she put it, because we had to go over that big storm in the Midwest.

Arrival - Minneapolis Airport
We landed and collected all of our stuff, Cheetah came out of the oversized luggage claim, she came out of the crate in good shape. She was happy to be out, but seemed to be OK.

We had to get another guy to assist us getting everything down to the car rental place. I am glad we had him with us, because we had to go down two sets of elevators and a tram ride. I have no idea how we got there! I picked up my mini van and we loaded everything in and we were off.

The Room – Red Roof Inn
I got to my room about 11:30 and ordered lunch to be delivered ( I was not going anywhere else for a few hours) We relaxed in the room until about 3:15 then we went to the trial site to get set up and have our practice session that was at 4:45.

Practice Session
Cheetah seemed to be fine during practice, but she was a little confused as to why we were out there for 6 min with out any cookies. The way it was set up was there were 3 set ups and you had 2 min at each station, then you rotated. You could bring toys, but no food in the ring, and Cheetah is a food hound. So she was a little bummed about that .

We then had a meeting and we drew for our running order, I was # 32. But to make it fair to all, the 1st round we ran in order. The 2nd round we ran in reverse order, the 3rd round we ran in reverse seeded order. The Next day the 4th round would be start in the middle, work your way back then start at the beginning. And the 5th round would be in reverse seed order. The way they do the course time is weird, it is the time of the fasted dog in the class + 10%, so about half of the class or better is going to have time faults.

Saturday Round 1 - 207 yards - standard course time 36.660 - Cheetah’s time 43.084 rank 28
The first round was a standard course and she did good, except that she landed really long after the broad jump (international broad jumps look like a moat!) and had a hard time collecting to get on the teeter so she went by it. She has tried to get on them before when the footing is slippery and her timing is off and she scuffs the inside of her knee, so I guess she just didn’t want to do that again. I restarted her she did a quick head bob ( a 2nd refusal) then got on. Our time was at least 5 seconds slower than it should have been because of it. The rest of the course was flawless. I was very proud of the fact that she didn’t even look at the weaves going from 2-3.

Saturday Round 2 – 155 yards – standard course time 26.79 – Cheetah’s time 28.129 rank 17
This was the jumpers round were there was a really long lead out (I was between 3 & 4)with a very depressed view of jump 2. She did a great job there were several places were she could have taken a wrong course, but she listened really well.

Saturday Round 3 – 181 yards – Standard Course Time 34.820

Cheetah’s time 36.078 – rank 22
This was the last round of day one, and another standard course. I did a lead out push from 2-3, then a FC between 6 & 7. She landed too long off of 14, and took about 2 extra strides, but other than that, it was a really nice run.

Sunday Round 4 – 180 yards – Standard Course Time 32.55 – Cheetah’s time 34.303 – rank 31
I was concerned that she would see the weaves coming off of 2, so I didn’t think enough about the 4-7 transition, I was just about a step behind through that whole process which was ok until #8. I needed to be up there to pull her through the gap on the threadle and I wasn’t, so she read it as a serpentine. A 50 point WC penalty. I just let her take the tunnel from the wrong end, no need to bobble her up any more, I just wasn’t were I needed to be. The rest went very nicely.

Sunday Round 5 – 189 yards – Standard Course Time 35.44 – Cheetah’s time 37.25 – rank 20
Another chance to get the treadle right, this time it was at the beginning. I chose to be on the landing side of 2 and do a lead out push. Cheetah pushes better than she pulls, so I knew that she would push through the gap. She is also a really good jumper so I wasn’t worried about the #3 bar, like some others were discussing. I let her drift out to give her a good approach to the teeter then I drug her to the tunnel. She handled the 11-13 combo very nicely and she even stuck her a-frame contact until I said yes. She wasn’t temped by the tunnel as she came around 16 -17. She was a good girl!

I don’t really get how they did the scoring. They sorta had a day one ranking and a day two ranking. I sorted the data so that the over all times/faults determined the ranking. According to that data, Cheetah ranked 26th out of the 34 large dog participants.

The trip home
On the way home, I again was on the same flight as Barbara, so that was nice. We got Cheetah loaded pretty much without a hitch, she had gotten through the security check pretty easily, this guy was much more casual about things ( I’m not sure that was a good thing). The only problem was when they went to take her and the other two dogs going on different flights, they were concerned that the backpack would be rejected when it got downstairs to the plane. I assured them that it had cleared security and she had flown from Dulles to MN with it and it would be fine. They finally agreed to take her down ( which made the other dog owners happy, b/c they were holding up there dogs too.) Barbara and I went through security, they confiscated her applesause ( FYI – it counts as a liquid) and put our shoes back on. We then went to the food court, and I grabbed a salad for the plane. I suddenly realized just how much shopping you could get done if you had not had a dog with you. But I don’t understand, you can only access this after going through security, and then all you have with you is a carryon bag. How much stuff could you buy if you can only fit it in your carry-on?? Do they really make money in these stores? Anyway, we boarded the plane and we lucked out, no one had the middle seat, so I got the window, she got the isle and we had some elbow room to boot.

We arrived back at Dulles about 9:40 pm and we all crammed into this tram-thing and got over to the arrival gate where Sheli and Joy were waiting to pick me up. It was very nice of them to offer to drive up 2 hours and back to pick me up so I wouldn’t have to get home all by myself at midnight! Cheetah was very happy to see everyone when we got her out of the crate. We drove home via the senic route, because we thought we knew what we were doing ( appearently not!) but it only took us about 20 mins out of our way, so it wasn’t too bad.

All in all, I think Cheetah and I handled traveling pretty well, and had fun at Tryouts. I think I am planning to go again next year.