Seriously, like I said before, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the results. Never did I think that we would wind up as National Champions. Apparently other people thought so, but they did a pretty good job of hiding it from me :) (Thank you!)
And I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support & kind words & congratulations... I did not know that so many people knew Porter & me! :) Actually, I want to thank you all again. And I will continue to thank you all again & again... :)
So before we get to the videos, let me thank you all again! :)
- Thank you to John for believing in us. And hanging out at home while we took class after class & seminar after seminar... And thanks for chilling with Stout on the couch while we were in Pennsylvania :)
- Thank you to my mom & family for watching at home. I was only nervous the first couple runs when I thought of you all tuning in...
- Thank you to Megan (& Dally)! You two are the best road trip partners ever! And you carried all our stuff & loaded up the car & you filmed these great videos! I can't thank you enough for everything you did (and continue to do) for us!
- Thank you to the Small Dog Posse! Both those that went & those watching from home! You made the trip a blast - and agility in general so much fun!
- Thank you to my Team Daily Corgi members! And my fellow corgi owners that I met at Nationals!
- Thank you to Porter's breeders - Vivian & Molly Moran and Dana & Rick Hasemeier. You bred the best cardigan EVER! :)
- Thank you to all my teachers & clinicians & online instructors. And not just agility, but herding & obedience & clicker stuff too. Every little bit I use for every single thing I train.
- Thank you to my students! You have no idea how much I learn from you all every week.
- And thank you to all my friends & blog readers!
I know I'm forgetting people... But trust me, I'll thank you again when I see you! And again. And again...
So you all came for the videos, right? :) I'm posting the Finals day first, because that's the most exciting one. And I have these great photos & videos that Megan shot that have all the emotion in them. You may want to turn down your volume :) I'll post the "official" ones another day.
A little background: Porter & I had one bad run (out of 3) that eliminated us from going straight into the Finals round. They automatically took the top 3 dogs into the Finals, as well as the winner of the Challenger's Round. So yes, just like everything that Porter & I do, we did it the hardest way ever... :)
We were slated to run in the Challenger's Round.
Walking the course for the Challenger's Round. That's me in the pink jacket :)
I was a little nervous going into the Challenger's Round. I think I would have been more so, but I really didn't think I had a chance to win it anyway :) It was by far the hardest course that I have ever run. And Porter & I had already screwed up that morning round... And Team Daily Corgi member Maddie was on fire...
I walked it a bunch of different ways, settling on the way that played into Porter's strengths. And allowed me opportunities to pull my pants up :)
Video: (Seriously, turn down your volume)
That was one of the best runs that Porter & I have ever had! It just felt good.
I immediately ran out & started treating Porter, kind of listening to the other dogs running. They would announce that I was still in the lead a couple times. But when they finally announced that I was the winner - Porter & I ran back in for a little victory lap in front of the Small Dog Posse :)
And Megan came tearing down the ramp, knocked over a set of weave poles, and tackled me! She was so excited! And that's when it hit me. As she hugged & cried, I felt the tears coming. That was my first little bit of emotion :)
But no crying for me right then, I needed to do a TV interview! I think you can tell just how freaking excited I was :) And how many ginger snaps did I feed Porter??
So Porter & I did our usual "corgi cool-down." He even got to watch the cows being washed next door. It's the little things...
But apparently they were calling my name inside to come get my finalist shirt. Oh yeah, the Shirt!
Posing with my coveted Finalist shirt!
This was the whole reason I wore those stupid black pants that I kept having to pull up :) I was lucky that I bought some this year!
I can admit now that I cried in the bathroom stall when I put on the shirt.
Anyway, a few hours later, we ran in the Finals.
So I said the Challenger's course was the hardest I have ever ran? Well, this one was equally hard. There was a backside jump. There were numerous call offs. There were more wraps... While the Challenger's course called for being clean, this one called for being fast. And clean. :)
All I wanted was to finish ahead of 1 dog. Because I thought they only gave ribbons to the top 3 finishers. I picked a path that no one else walked. But I knew Porter. And I knew where he would struggle.
But he rocked it!
Porter's doggie chiropractor asked me afterwards if I knew when I ran it that I was going to win. No. I knew that we ran the absolute best that we could have though. There was nothing that felt wrong or awkward or slow (except pulling up my pants). We did the best we could. Winning was in the hands of the other dogs & handlers.
I was the 2nd dog to run (out of 4). We beat the first finalist's time (shout out to our fellow 4" Cardigan finalist - Cleo & Janice!) so got to sit in the "hot seat" while the next dog ran.
Sitting in the "Hot Seat" while the 2 finalists after us ran
I had no treats for Porter (didn't know if that was allowed) and he was PISSED! I tried feeding him dirt clods & mulch to quiet him. He's no fool...
The 3rd finalist did not beat our time, so we stayed in the hot seat. The last dog, a speedy little corgi took the course. I continued to try to quiet Porter, I had no idea what was happening in the ring.
I heard a gasp from the crowd, then the Small Dog Posse started screaming. It took me a second to figure out what was going on... Megan was a little excited :)
That scuffle was totally my fault...
And there you have it. The remarkable day when a little corgi from Waddy, KY became the first Cardigan ever to win the National Agility Championship.
Um, and I just teared up again.
Which is why I took so long to post this. It chokes me up to watch these videos. I needed time to soak it in & create the memories & relish in the feelings from that day. And now that time has passed, watching the videos & seeing the photos brings it all back again.
I am very sentimental.
The way I felt & the look on Porter's face & the way everyone screamed (especially Megan!) are things that I will treasure forever.
Then calling my mom & calling my dad & hearing that other people watched & cried... those things I also covet.
Thank you again to each & every one of you.
More recaps of the other runs will be forthcoming :)
Here are some links that some of you may have missed: