By time it was time for August's 3rd run it was after 4:30 and I was fading fast. Remember we were there at 7:15 AM. I was tired, my body hurt and this day was getting a lot longer than I anticipated. I knew that if I stopped moving in the ring, so would August. Time for the back up plan - or should I say, the back up handler, Paula.
Paula and August have worked together before in our classes. Chemo simply wears me out and there were classes that I just couldn't do and Paula took him to class. He knows her and loves her so she was my back up.
We had a plan to make the change. I would go into my office with August and Paula would come take him from me. We have tried to have me hand off August to Paula and leave and August thinks I've gone to the ladies room or something and looks for me. We didn't want that, so if Paula takes him away from me, he seemed to think I was staying behind and he would go off with her and do whatever. So we had it all planned out. Remember, we are working with a not-so-confident dog so we plan a lot.
Paula took him and I snuck around to watch without him seeing me.
The game was "Wildcard."
The object is to successfully complete the course, including enough "wildcards" to qualify. The wildcards are optional obstacles that you have to choose to take. When the course is set out one obstacle will have an "A" while another will have a "B". The wildcards are 2 obstacles placed parallel to each other. For our level we needed to complete 2 "A" obstacles and 1 "B" obstacle.
Paula and I talked about our options, what obstacle to take and what to use as a back up in case he didn't want to do our plan.
Paula is a competitor in agility and has several agility dogs with titles. I knew she could direct him to the correct obstacle to make his "wildcard". She did.
Even though he was getting tired, she was able to redirect him, get him to shake off the stress of the day and the very long day and still make it fun for him.
In the end, he came in 2nd place for his level and again we got a ribbon (although we left as soon as he came off the ring, we were all so tired and I really needed to lay down - badly -so we never knew he got another ribbon until the next day)