Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Speed Retrieve & Superheros

Remember this? Well, after going to our second dockdogs competition in the boiling Texas heat shortly after this post, we decided to retire. 

However, the other weekend, I saw that there was a dockdog competition really close to our house! It sorta got my competitive juices flowing and I decided Sage needed to come out of retirement to show everyone that she's a real champion! Once we got there, I realized we were WAY out of our league...  

I totally forgot my tent with Sage's face airbrushed on the side, my matching t-shirt that says "Team Sage," and my monogramed Sage bag...oh wait...

Anyway...once we arrived, I was informed that the only event Sage has ever participated in (and practiced) was closed! There was a spot available in the Speed Retrieve, so we decided to give it a try. I mean let's be honest, this is SAGE we're talking about!

For those of you that aren't familiar with dockdogs and their events, here are some quick facts about the Speed Retrieve:
  • Each dog will take two retrieves in rotation order. For each of the retrieves the dog’s handler will signal to the dog to retrieve the bumper which is located on an rig at the end of the pool, 58 feet from the 20 foot mark on the dock.
  • Dog must start from the starting block with their front paws located in the starting block which is a one foot wide painted box on the surface of the dock.
  • The dog will run, jump from the end of the dock, swim out and retrieve the object from the pool
  • The dog must snatch the object cleanly from the end of the pool before the timer stops.  

Since Sage and I had no idea about the rules for the Speed Retrieve, we got some instruction and I sent Sage into the water with my fingers crossed. 

After swimming around for awhile and having no idea what I wanted her to retrieve, she finally made it to the end of the pool to the bumper! I was so proud!

We had one more practice jump before the competition started and tried to make the best of it, but Sage was still very confused...The problem with the speed retrieve is that the bumper starts at the end of the pool. Sage normally retrieves tennis balls that she sees me throw into the water, so this was a bit of a challenge. After fumbling around in the water again, she finally came back with the toy. I was confident it would click in the actual competition...

In addition to the normal events dockdog puts on, a fundraiser was also going on to raise money for canine cancer research! Sage was so excited to help a good cause so she happily agreed to enter the dog painting contest!

Unfortunately, my flame covered dog superhero didn't quite work out the way we planned. Apparently dog hair isn't the best canvas...who knew?

Either way, Sage was a good sport to endure both my artist failure and the horrible Texas heat as we waited for her name to be called!

Finally our time came and we made our way to the dock. Sage was so excited to just jump in the water, but she knew she had some sort of mission.

After showing her the target and signaling we were ready, the countdown started. Three, two, one, go....and go she did! Sage took a great leap into the water and headed straight to the bumper!

Just when I thought she knew what she was doing, Sage made a U-turn and headed back to me with a puzzled look on her face. After what seemed like forever, Sage finally remembered what she was doing and made it to the end of the pool to get the bumper.

We barely missed being disqualified with our time of 28 seconds (2 seconds short of the disqualifying time)! I was so proud!

When the time came for our second jump, Sage hit the water like a pro and headed right for the bumper!

She smashed her previous time by 17 seconds!

I was so excited when Sage proudly carried that bumper up the ramp to me as I was jumping up and down with joy! As we made our way past the other dog parents with their 7 second speed retrieve dogs, I couldn't' help but smile. I love my 11 second dog. To me, she's a champion!