Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Poor poorly boy

The big man has been hopping lame for a week, it started with what appeared to be a cut at the back of one of his digital pads so I bathed it in salt water a couple of days but it didn’t get any better so then I thought maybe he had something in it, a thorn or grass seed or the like, and applied a poultice for a couple of days, nothing came out and still no better…not swollen or inflamed at all just very sore to the touch and by this time it had turned into a black lump which looked more like a sort of wart than an injury so it was off to the vets this morning where he stayed and had the offending item removed to be sent off for histology. Hopefully it won’t be causing him any more pain or discomfort and fingers crossed it’s nothing sinister. Either way he certainly won't be running at Newark this weekend which is really disappointing when the team is just starting to come together nicely. Ah well, that’s the joy of dealing with dogs I guess.

Here he is...post op...bandaged but happy with his ball :)

The beardie has landed!!


Well, she arrived on Saturday evening and she's settling in just fine. She really likes people but she was a little unsure of the other dogs at first, she's decided Mac will be her new best friend (bless) but he is starting to get a little weary of this constant licky little shadow following him around! lol She's a quiet little pup, happy to go and play by herself or find a nice little hidey hole for a little nap like...

under the sofa...

or under the shoe rack in the front porch...

Too cute! :)

She couldn't quite decide what to do when we did some flyball training this evening though; we heard her bark for the first time as she got rather excited and kept rushing out to join in but then quickly running back to safety again if she thought one of the other dogs was looking at her! lol She has a good play/chase drive but isn't overly confident so this is something we can work on as she grows up.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Birthday Treat?

We had two birthdays over this weekend, my gorgeous Sparky-Boo was 2 on Saturday and DotDot was 4 yesterday and as a special treat on their birthdays they both got a bath and blow dry. Ok, so this wasn’t really a treat, in fact more like torture in Dottie’s case as she HATES the blowdryer but as it happened I had entered them both at Blackpool Champ show so it was a necessity.

I had actually decided not to take Dottie as she’s in the middle of a big ‘pre-season’ moult at the moment and as such looks rather scruffy. I should have known by the fact she looked fabulous when the entries closed that this would happen! So Spark got his bath and blow on Saturday evening and I didn’t bother with Dottie. On Sunday morning I let everyone out and Heather said she thought Dottie looked ok so I decided to bath her and take her after all (the beauty of living just 15 mins from the venue). So poor Dottie started out her birthday with a bath and blow dry too…not her idea of fun!

We arrived at the show shortly after judging had started and I got Spark up on the table to get him all trimmed and ‘beautified’ but I couldn’t find my treat bag anywhere and I didn’t have any pockets so once he was done I had to set off round the stalls to find one and I nearly missed my class!! The judge was rattling through them so quickly! Spark went well but only placed 4th in Mid Limit which was a little disappointing. Dottie was presented beautifully (if I do say so myself… I was trying out some new shampoo/grooming products and was actually rather pleased with the outcome) and also went really really well but did not get placed in Limit bitch.

Now, I’m not in the habit of publicly questioning the judge but just have to comment on yesterdays’. The judging was rather ‘interesting’ to say the least with the dogs barely being gone over and two dogs asked to leave the ring because of ‘alleged’ incorrect bites! (one a champion and one a JW winner with a RCC!). Regardless…as far as I’m aware, a level bite is a fault just the same as any other and should be assessed in the same way…I didn’t see any dogs being asked to leave the ring because they had an upright shoulder or long hocks! Then the shortlisting process was also rather bizarre and some dogs were moved round and round in the generous sized ring in the blazing heat with handlers criticized when they couldn’t keep up with the pace. He moaned about changing of handlers (one to present and another to run the dog), something which is commonplace and even told one exhibitor that she had a nice puppy but it was a waste of time her showing it…how rude?! That said, in complete contrast he did wait for me with Spark which a lot of judges wouldn’t have done. It was a shame because it was a beautiful day and a well organized show but there was a real air of bad feeling around the ring all day.

Anyway…we had a nice day out catching up with everyone. This was actually the first breed show we’ve been to since Crufts! Here’s a few snaps…

Spark, standing with my mum and waiting for me to come back (bless him)

Smiling for the camera

Relaxing ringside with his head in Rachels’ lap

Dottie in the ring…


Some of the rellies…

Cruise – Sh CH Pikkupaimenen Great Pretender at Locheil

Jackie Lavington with Drift – Locheil Stand and Deliver at Sandmont


Erin – Locheil She’s Delightful (one of Sparks’ daughters)


Lexi – (Locheil Truly Madly Deeply)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Sparklers

Thought I’d share these pics of Sparks’ latest babies…

Beautiful, fluffy, chunky little bundles of energy!

The girls…

The boys…


(some of these boys are still looking for homes)

I am loving those dark faces :)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

One Out, One In

Well, I think I have finally confirmed that I am completely mad! Having decided I definitely didn’t want to keep 2 pups from the same litter I sold Monkee and he leaves us this week to go to his new home in Florida where I’m sure he’s going to have a fantastic new life. Meanwhile…in a moment of madness I went and bought…
Maisie…

She’s a 10 week old blue merle working beardie pup and she’s absolutely gorgeous! She arrives home this weekend and I can’t wait!

I just really love that ‘scruffy mutt’ look of the working beardies

Here’s her mum Nell…

And here’s her dad Sky, he’s pretty unusual as he’s a tri blue merle, something you don’t see very often in beardies…

I’m hoping to train her up for flyball, she’s a pretty quiet little pup at the moment, thinks before she acts, she’s actually very similar to Mouse in character so I hope they’ll get along and be good friends.

Another fab weekend on the Wirral

What a fantastic weekend we had at Eastham which is one of my favourite tournaments in the flyball calendar. I must confess, we were all total lightweights on the party front…I think 5 tournaments in 5 weekends including the Euros has taken it’s toll and we’re all completely knackered!! We have this coming weekend off although I will be at Blackpool Champ Show on Sunday with Spark, our first breed show since Crufts! I have also entered Dottie as she was looking fab when the entries closed ( I really should know better) but of course she’s blown all her coat now and to be honest, she’s in prime racing condition at the moment…lean and well muscled and is really too thin for most (probably all!) show judges preference. Ah well, she’s running really well! I’ve been fattening Spark up since we got back from Belgium as he also tends to be a the lean side but he hides it better with his thick coat.

Anyway, we set up camp on Friday evening, I was judging first div on Saturday so had vowed to curb the alcohol intake and as it happened I was too tired to drink anyway. Paul went off partying with the Steve and the Cheshire Set while Alison and I stayed in and chilled, we went to bed about 1.30am…Paul fell in at 4am!! He wasn’t too bright in the morning I have to say (makes a pleasant change…it wasn’t me! lol). Gemma arrived in the morning just in time to help ring party Div 8, the one I was judging, which seemed to take an age to complete! The lower divisions are always more *interesting* to judge as there tends to be a lot more going wrong! We then had 2 divisions off before the Pawz ran in division 5. They were in on a seed time of 19.96 which put them 2nd seed but as they hadn’t got under 20 seconds at Rotherham last week I did wonder how we’d fair. Teal was back having finished her season so we decided we would just swap the cockers in and out with each other and leave the rest of the team the same. So we were running… FaithPipTeal/DrakeEthan. First race of the day I ran Drake and we were faster than the other team but we totally threw it away on lights, just couldn’t get the changeovers right. The electronic time displays showing individual times (thank god for those…I’ve really missed them!) gave us some indication…Faith had gone up about 3 gears and was running 4.3-4.4’s (she has never run these times over 12” before!), Pip was really off form…don’t know why? Drake was usual Drake and Ethan had also gone up a gear and was running 4.8’s. In the second race we brought Teal in instead of Drake and my god she was on fire running 4.9’s, the jump heights dropped to 8” and now Faith was running 4.2’s! They ran 19.21! more than half a second faster than they’d ever run before! The decision was made to move Faith up into the Racers at the next comp (Newark). I was so pleased with the way they all ran. Race 7 it all went a bit *pete tong* with Ethan running out at the first jump, we’ve decided to go back to loading him alternate sides again so he can always turn towards the other lane as this is what is causing it. We pulled him out and ran both the cockers which is something I really didn’t want to do but hey ho. By this time they were running much slower and that turned into a tense 5 legger against our old team, Red Rose Renegades and was really tight racing which saw us just narrowly winning…really good close racing, what flyball is all about. By the last race of the day Pip had gone right off and Paul offered to pull her out and run both the cockers again so Gem and I ran the cockers and Paul ran Ethan….it worked and we won the race but the thrown away first race cost us and we ended up 3rd but had run the fastest time in the division! I’m not sure what we’ll do at the next comp in terms of seed times as we’re taking Faith out of that team so may well submit a time rather than face being thrashed in a division we won’t be able to compete in!

Gem and I dashed off straight after presentation (sorry to all the teams in the division I judged that I couldn’t be there to congratulate you!) as we were heading over to Shirley’s in North Wales to pick up a new puppy! This little man is called ‘Roo’ and is one I am co-owning with my friend Laura Cunningham and he will be going up to Scotland to live with her and hopefully become a super little sheepdog in time. He is 7 weeks old, sired by Canen Wallace and out of Canen Katrina so is line bred on the lovely Canen Baz and therefore also my beautiful Spangle which is where his ee red colouring has come from. As far as I know, he is the first and only ISDS registered ee red which makes him a little bit special. He’s certainly not of the type of ee red I’m used to, he’s much finer and has less coat than any I’ve had before but I know these working lines very well and they are much later maturing so I am sure he’s going to turn out to be a really nice dog. He’s got nice eyes and dark eye rims and I think his nose will fill in in time too. He’s certainly going to have good ears! Most importantly he’s got a super temperament and character, he’s a bold but not pushy pup; very inquisitive and confident but not stupid and he’s already sleeping through and staying clean in his crate…good boy :) We’ll see how he turns out over the coming year.

Here’s some pics of him in the garden at home…
covered in oil from crawling around under the caravan, highlighting one of the main issues of having such a pale coloured puppy! lol

Sunday morning brought showers but it was still warm and bright. Conrad and Jackie arrived with Radley for the starters first in. We were running Spud, Radley, Squirrel and a borrowed retriever…Ollie who was lovely. Viggo also went on the sheet although I have decided to not run him and Squirrel at the same time as they both need my undivided attention at the moment. Spud ran start dog and, although he has aged so much and slowed considerably in the last year, he was his usual reliable self. It’s a real bonus to have an older experienced retired dog in your starter team as it really seems to help the younger inexperienced dogs/handlers. Radley ran 2nd and we were working on tightening up her changeovers running in, she was a bit more focused this week but still had a couple of ‘loopy’ moments like when she smelt the burger van and when she saw a blue roan cocker in the other lane and thought it might be her mum! Lol Squirrel…well, what can I say…where’s my naughty little parson gone??!! She was SO good, it all finally seems to have clicked with her! She was totally focused on what she was doing, only dropped her ball once and most impressively I was able to start sending her in from 20 ft and she was running right in past Radley without batting an eyelid…result!! There is light at the end of the terrier tunnel after all, and after I’ve been telling everyone she will probably never run in open and always be a starter dog…she does so love to prove me wrong! We now need to work on getting her to hurdle lower over the jumps as she’s wasting time in the air. The photos show she is jumping high enough to clear full height hurdles when she’ll only ever be running 8”!! Viggo ran in one race when Ollie’s handler was running another dog against us, it was er… *interesting* but we did manage to get him down and back with his ball…small steps for the blue bimbo me thinks but he will get there and when he does, I have a feeling he’s going to be a cracking little flyball dog…time will tell I guess.

Radley on the way to the box with a look of steely determination on her face…


We were straight in div 2 with the Racers. Again we were second seed in this division and we were still on a seed time of 18.82 from Wood Green with Kiddy Minx’s top seeds on 18.48. We knew we had a chance of winning this having run an 18.45 at Littleport and 18.43 at Rotherham last weekend but we thought it might be tight. As it happens it wasn’t and we won the division, Kiddy’s weren’t on form and we were running better still, with a fastest time of 18.24 (with a 0.1 late start!) and consistent 18.30’s all day. Mac ran a few sub 4.5 second legs and maintained 4.5’s all day, he is a really good start dog because he doesn’t seem to tire between each run and he loves to go first, this is the position he always run fastest in (he’s not patient enough to wait his turn! lol), Bailey was running 4.2’s all day so was a little off his fastest pace, Dottie ran 4.5’s…she’s in great form at the moment but Lexie …was RUBBISH!! 4.7’s and 4.8’s all day, I just don’t know what’s wrong with her? Part of me wonders if it’s the change of handler, I have always run Lexie myself from when she first started competing but now I’m running Dottie (who is not an easy dog to run as the bruises up my arms from her excited nips will testify!) and I just wonder if this has curbed Lexie’s enthusiasm some? At the next comp Alison will start running Faith in this team and, provided she maintains the form she was showing this weekend, she will run every leg and I will probably swap Lexie and Dottie in and out as last dog to keep them both fresh. It will be interesting to see whether Lexie’s times pick up again with me back running her. I will also see if I can fit in a visit to Katherine before Newark and just get her checked over to make sure she’s alright. We *should* be breaking the 18.00sec barrier again if Faith delivers at Newark and we can all get our changeovers right, it often takes a couple of weeks to ‘bed in’ a new combination so we’ll see what we can do.

The best news of the weekend is that Tom had a look at Dylan and said he was looking/feeling totally sound and we can start training him over low jumps…yippee!! We’re all really excited but also a little nervous about bringing Dyl back; 6 months is a pretty long lay off and cruciate injuries are notoriously fickle but we’re keeping everything crossed and may have him running in the Pawz at Newark all being well…can’t wait!

Here’s a little vid of his first training session last night, he could hardly believe he was finally being allowed to have a go bless him!
video
We were just using 3 hurdles with no run in and 8” jumps to keep him nice and steady but…the boy is back!!

We also did some training with the youngsters and had Radley running without netting/wings for the first time…she was a good little girl and ran in but she does seem to have lost some of her drive and focus which I’m hoping is just down to her having been in season recently, she has a few weeks out before we’ll be running starters again so hopefully she’ll pick up before then.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Rotherham

The past week seemed to just fly by so quickly, I was back in work on Tuesday and had a busy few days catching up and Friday seemed to come round again in no time at all. Thankfully Paul and Alison had offered to let me stay with them at Rotherham over the weekend so I didn’t have to get the caravan sorted but I was up at 6am on Friday morning still getting all mine and the dogs stuff sorted for another weekend of flyball. Gemma came over on Saturday morning with Viggo who was running in starters and Bailey of course. Conrad, Jackie and Jess also came over on Saturday with Radley. Unusually the weekend started with division 1 and I was boxloading for Tyne Tailwaggers on Tour in this division which was really nice for me because their last dog, Lexi is a Tammy daughter who has just started competing but wow…she’s good! This also meant I got to watch the rest of the racing and it was a fantastic division with every team running sub 18 secs. Live Wires won the division with a new fastest time of 16.91…sub 17 at last!! Their start dog is of course the fabulous Tarn (Bryning Tarn – Jaff X Spangle) who consistently ran sub 4secs over the day, she’s like a little flyball robot! Lol It’s an absolute pleasure to see her and Lucy run, they’re a great team. Wire Sparks came 2nd in the division and were running Zephyr (Bryning Bounce Right Back) and Nell (Bryning Mayan Prophecy) who are both Mac X Molly kids (wah!! I want a Mac kid!!!) The starters (Demon Cubz) were next in the ring and we were running Squirrel, Radley, Spud and Viggo…well I say we were running Viggo but he really was an another planet!! He had however eaten a bottle of prednisolone overnight (pillock!!) so I think this was the reason he was so spaced out (more so than usual and that is saying something for him!). I’ve decided not to try and run him and Squirrel at the same time because I don’t want to undo the progress we’ve made with her. Radley ran ok but seemed a little distracted, she has just finished her season though and I often find this affects them for a few weeks afterwards. We went NFC and ran Lexie in place of Vi in the afternoon just as a training exercise. The Pawz were running in Div 5 and we ran a slightly altered order with Faith going start dog to save Pip in the heat. Pip usually runs start but she suffers with the heat so we wanted to avoid her having to do too many legs with false starts etc. Faith ran ok but didn’t seem quite as focused as she had been at Littleport, she’s so damned nosey! It was a very open division and we won two races but ended up bottom of a 3 way tie for 3rd so came 5th but since we were seeded 6th this was a bonus! The Racers ran on Sunday and it was already baking hot by 8.30am when we started so we weren’t hoping for much. I was really looking forward to the racing in this division as only 0.15sec separated all 6 teams on seed times so we were expecting some really close competitive racing. As it happened we ran more than 0.5sec faster than anyone else and weren’t pushed at all so ended up winning every race and the division which was nice but not as much fun as I’d been hoping. We had a crack team with help from Nick running Bailey (Gemma was working), Naomi and Sharon on the line and Craig from GoFours boxloading. We had some really nice tight runs and although Lexie was a little off form time wise, all the dogs ran consistent times all day and we stayed in the 18.40’s from the first to the last race which, considering the heat, was really encouraging. The dogs all seem to be very fit coming off our time away although Lexie is suffering with a nasty rash on her right hind leg which seems to be some sort of allergy so I don’t know whether this is accounting for her poor times, she ran 4.7’s/4.8’s all day instead if her usual 4.5/4.6’s which is a little frustrating when everyone else is running so well. I’ll keep an eye on her over this week and see how she is. Teal will have finished her season and be back running at Eastham so we do have the option of resting Lexie if need be. The pups came for the first camping weekend since they went to Anglesey as a litter at 5 weeks old. They were pretty well behaved but Monkee did insist on wandering off exploring and he doesn’t yet understand that not all dogs are friendly so I was worried about him getting himself in bother and ended up tethering them. He is much more independent than Mouse. Although she’s quite confident and happy to explore she much prefers to stay with you and play or just have a cuddle on your lap; I really do adore her. I have decided to let Monkee go so that I have more time to spend with Mouse and he will have a home where more time is spent with him. Here’s a couple of pics from Saturday and a short vid of Gemma playing tuggy with Mouse (and teasing her…poor little Mouse! Lol)
Monkee...

Mouse...

video
Viggo (aka 'Spanner!)...
Eastham next weekend, hoping for more of the same weather-wise!!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Demon Dogz Tour!!

Phew!! Well, a hell of a lot to catch up on from the last couple of weeks!

16 days, 16 dogs, 8 days of racing, 4 people, 3 tournaments, 2 countries = one hell of a blast!!

We headed off down to Godmanchester on Friday evening for the Cambridgeshire Canines tournament at Wood Green Animal Shelter and had 3 days of glorious weather and first class company.

We just had the starter team running on Saturday and I was judging div 4. Kerena and Jordan joined us with the Cocker Circus who performed brilliantly and we eneded up with 2nd place, with no thanks whatsoever to Squirrel who consistenly dropped her ball and ended upon being sent back to the van in shame! Arrgghhh...infuriating bloody terrier...she nearly got left on the doorstep of the shelter when we left for Belgium! lol
Here's Jordan with Magic and his mum and dad...Teal and Drake...

On Sunday we had both teams running, the Racers in Div 1 and the Pawz in div 3. We ran Teal in the Racers to see what the other dogs would do over the 8" and left Mac in the Pawz as he hasn't been running that well at the last few comps but of course...he consistenly ran 4.5 - 4.6 all day! I was seriously regretting having named him in the Pawz on the Belgium team sheets too! Neither team did particularly well, Teal wasn't running great (the cockers really don't like the heat) and we ended up running Faith in the Racers who, I have to say ran really well at her first comp back from the pups. On Monday we were supposed to be running starters with the Racing Hearts who rang Ellen at the very last minute to say they weren't coming leaving the running order 3 multibreed teams short! Between ourselves and Aplhas we managed to cobble together a multibreed team and 2 NFC teams to fill the spaces and actually had a really good day.

Vicki also came over on Monday to run starters with Pippa and she also picked up Dora and looked after her for me for the week we were in Belgium which was really really kind because she's just at that age where I didn't want to leave her home with my mum for that length of time where she'd be going nowhere and doing nothing. Now, I was a bit embarrased by how little I have taught Dora...Diesel could do SO much at the same age and everyoen kept winding me up about it and Vicki too it seems!! lol Looks as though Dora had a very busy and enjoyable holiday too with lots of pics and updates on Vicki's Blog.

Here's a few pics Vicki took at Wood Green...Teal and Drake competing in the multibreed...


Mac and Dottie running in the NFC team...


(these pics are copyrighted to Giruff)

We packed up on Monday afternoon and set off after presentation to take the caravans up to Littleport where the Leisure Centre manager had kindly offered to let us leave them for the week we were in Belgium. This took us a little longer than we had anticipated, for reasons I won't go into (Gemma!!) but we made it down to Dover for our 1am ferry and landed in Calais and drove up to Merchtem where we were staying in Anne's house while she was away in Sweden. Anne is my good friend from Doggone Borders who kindly offered us her home, we just had to work round the decorators! We had a nice couple of days at Ann's just enjoying the local town and restaurants and heading over to Oostende one day to meet up with Wendy and her dogs on the beach. We also took Dino to meet his new family, he was really good and is settling in really well.

Thursday we headed over to Beerzel for the Euros and the weather was still beautiful. Despite being left off the camping plan (along with several other teams!) we managed to squeeze in on the Dolphins pitch which was right by ring 1 where we were doing all our racing and I was judging.

Gemma and I attended a judges briefing on Thursday evening to get our heads round the different racing format and rules. They really did look after the judges with us all receiving a goody bag, free t-shirt and free breakfast and lunch laid on each day along with a 10 euro money card to spend on site too, I spent nothing for 3 days! So we were all set for our first day of European flyball racing the following morning...of course...the Pawz were running in race 1, ring 1 and running back for the first leg I managed to break my toe!! Teach me to run in bare feet! lol just typical!

They run 2 different types of first round competition and we had a team running each so, Demon Pawz were running on a standard 7 team round robin format that we're used to, only difference is that this is run on best of 3 legs. Demon Racers were running on speed trials in an 8 team div. This bascially involves the teams being drawn randomly to 'race' against each other in 4 races only you're not really racing, you're just running 4 legs to get a fastest time. This is quite tactical and is one of the reasons I think the Belgians run such fast times...on this system you can keep pushing changeovers without worrying about lights since 'losing' a leg really doesn't matter. Once you have a good time though you can run a much slower dog in the remaining races and rest your faster dogs for the double elimination stage. Unfortunately not a luxury we had! lol We did at least get to swap the named dogs and put Mac back in the first team which paid off as we ran much better times. We kept Faith on the Racers team sheet but ony let her run the odd leg, I was pleased with her times though (around 4.7) as she's just come back running and is doing 13" for the first time. She's still not as fast as Dottie though who is currently running around 4.5 but if we can get her back to her fitness and times from last season she may earn her place in the Demonz when we have Dylan back running later in the year.

Some pics taken by Tania...
The venue...

Ring 2...

Demon Dogz tour kit...

Pawz lining up...

Pip on the box and Genna our FABULOUS boxloader!!


Friday night we enjoyed the free sangria post-racing and never actually made it back to our tent, we just stayed in the marquee and drank belgian beer and ate our dinner and then drank more belgian beer and wine and sambuca and enjoyed the disco and danced and chatted and ended up being thrown out at 3am! lol I have to say...we were all 'vair vair drunk' and it's a bloody wonder we were up so bright eyed and bushy tailed to be in the ring for the first race of the day...again!

We completed the first stage racing by lunch time and the final positions in the round robin/speed trials are then used to seed everyone and decides where you go in the double elimination draw on the final days racing. We really didn't play the submitted seed times game very well (break out time is 1 sec faster than the top seed time in the division so you have much more leeway than we're used to under BFA rules) with either team so struggled in both divisions but consistency won out and we won the round robin with the Pawz in Div 6 which gave us a bye in the first round of the double eliminations. Unfortunately we lost our first race against a much slower team because they had a big mean Belgian Shepherd that eyeballed everything and was enough to worry Ethan into running out...the little swine! Of course this was our 4 dog team, I was wishing I'd taken Spud 'super sub'! lol We won one double elimination with the Racers but lost the second to get knocked out.

Ann arrived back from Sweden and came over on Sunday and took this video of the Racers final race which is nice for her since she has a Mac son and a Lexie daughter.
The first leg with Faith running...

third leg with Dottie now running last dog...


We all really enjoyed the racing, the help and support amongst the British teams was fantastic, we had Genna boxloading for us with Rachel, Becca, Sharon and Kristian sharing line and dog holding duties. We all tried to watch each others races and cheer each other on as much as possible. I also really enjoyed judging division 4, there was some fantatsic racing in this 8 team speed trial division which featured 2 british teams...Fylde Coasters and Hinckley Hooligans who both ran brilliantly. But the worthy division winners were the Carinthian Flyball Team from South Austria who who had text book starts and changeovers and one of the best parson russell's I have ever seen running!

Me judging div 4 with the 'pink pirates' from the Czech republic in the background (pic by Mark Laros - Jumpers Flyball Team)


So presentation came on Sunday evening, the marquee was packed with most of the British teams sat on the trestle tables down at the front...I think this is the longest presentation I have ever been to (yes...even longer than the British Champs! lol) with awards presented first to all the round robin/speed trial winners and then the overall 1st to 3rd placed teams in each division. Now...the moment of the whole tournament has to be when I went up to receive the trophy for the Pawz winning the round robin of Div 6. Firstly, Stefan had just explained how these were very special hand made ceramic plaques from a avery talented local artist that had taken 3 weeks to make (I think you can see where this is heading), then he introduced a representative from Purina to present these awards as ProPlan were sponsoring the event. So....I go up to receive the award , the Purina guy hands it to me and I turn around...the bloody plaque falls off the wooden plinth and smashes to pieces all over the stage...in front of around 400 people...I was mortified!! There was a collective intake of 400 breaths followed by a complete roar of laughter and I just could not stop laughing, the poor guy from Purina is on his knees picking the pieces up and putting his arm around me reassuring me that he's sure they'll be able to find another one!! lol Of course...Mr Clarke and his 'ever ready' camera were on hand to capture the moment...thanks John! lol

This pic is now on the EFC 2009 homepage so I'm famous! lol

I then ended up picking up the pieces and returning to my bench while the entire GB contingent then proceeded to shout 'Hold it, Hold it, Hold it...'(only flyballers will get this joke lol), at least everyone in the team got a piece of the award! hahaha

At the end of these presentations Stefan called again...'Natalie from Demon Dogz...we're giving you one last chance'....they DID have a spare after all! lol...I sent Gemma to collect it...chicken...ha ha

Here's the Pawz posing with their trophy the next day...

(I'm taking these photos, hence not being in them!)
and here's some pics John took of this team over the weekend...

Here's the Racers with their medals...

Here's all the dogs that competed over the 3 days...

and here's the 'cheerleaders', the dogs that came but didn't race (Squirrel, Spark, viggo and Dylan)


to be continued...

sorry, I got tired of typing last night and left our tour report half done!

I've added the vids to yesterdays instalment!

Anyways...we had a brilliant time at the Euros, we got to meet up with lots of doggy relatives too. Tania came over on Saturday and brought Boyken and Mieken...the two merle puppies she kept from the litter she had when she came over to use Spark

Here he is posing with his Belgian kids...

(I really don't know why he's pulling that face or why he looks so small! lol)

Ann also brought Echo, Bryning Leap in the Dark (a Mac son) and Spice, Bryning Supersonic (a Lexie daughter) to watch the racing and one of Echo's sons, Ty was also there with a member of the Black Brains team so we got a piccie of the 3 generations of handsome boys together...

We also raced againt the team from the Czech Republic, Hop Trop Prague so Dottie got to race against her half sister, a lovely little ee red bitch, Nice of You to Comebye Simply Sarah who is also a Bond daughter.

We stayed on site on Sunday evening and just had a quiet drink in the bar with some of the Jumpers team and then packed up leisurely on Monday morning and waved off most of our fellow British compeitiors who were heading straight back home. We headed over to Ann's and left all the dogs at her house as she took is into Brussels for lunch and an afternoon mooching around the market and shopping which was really nice. When we got back to Merchtem there was some sort of street parade (it was a bank holiday) with a huge gaggle of stilt walkers (some of them REALLY high) and a band and kids with bunches of flowers and stuff like that. We messed about with the dogs and then had chinese takeaway and an early(ish) night so we could pack up and go (beer) shopping before heading down to Calais for the 12.30pm ferry. We had a good sailing back but Gem and I got stopped for an hour in Dover while they checked all our dogs passports because we hadn't booked them all in correctly in Calais apparently...what a bloody nuisance! We then got held up on the M11 due to a vehicle fire and finally made it back up to Littleport to retrieve our caravans and setup camp for about 6pm...hot, tired and a little frazzled!

We basically just spent a couple of days chilling out, the venue at Littleport is fantastic so the dogs had a lot of freedom just pottering around the playing fields outside the caravans and going for nice long blasty runs, something they'd missed while we were away. The Flyers started to arrive on Thursday afternoon and on Friday Sharon and I measured out the racing lanes for the weekends competition and we all just mooched about setting up, it was all very laid back and enjoyable actually. We did some training with Viggo in the ring on Friday evening and he actually wasn't too bad (for Viggo!)...doing full runs with other dogs in the ring and lots of people about...lots of distraction! We decided to name him on the team sheet with the Rotherham starters so he could share a spot with Squirrel since we had no idea what she would do either!

Saturday morning came and the starters were first in and amazingly...Viggo did it!! (bless him) I also had an 'hallelujah moment' and cured Squirrels ball dropping! I realised that she spat her ball the moment I called her back so all I did was stop calling her...hey presto..cured! Although, it is actually really hard to remember not to call your dog back!

Here she is on her way to the box...somehow me thinks she probably doesn't need the 8" jumps she's been measured at! lol


The Pawz ran after that, another new combination because Teal had come in season so we ran Faith and, I have to say, they were all paw perfect and went on to win their division with another new seed time of 19.72. Faith was running 4.6's so she IS getting quicker over the higher jumps...fingers crossed!

Here's some piccies of Drakester from John Clarke (Sunnyside Photography)...



We had a late one on Saturday to seal off our tour...working our way through Paul's Vodka cocktail book but Alison and I settled on the White Russians and, since I was measuring (and not Paul) we managed to get nicely inebriated but not incapaciated! We also managed to keep Dave Long out way past his bedtime too! lol

Sunday morning was rather damp...the first rain of our tour so can't really complain but we ended up running the Racers in waterproofs and wellies and the dogs did suffer with the slippy ground, Mac went from his consistent 4.6 times to running 4.8's and Dottie just kept sliding right up the box front...more boxwork required with her me thinks but we did manage a new (BFA) fastest time with this lot of 18.45 (we had run 18.28 in Belgium) and went on to win that division too...a fantastic way to end our flyball journey! I am sure we can get these four dogs sub 18 with consistent running to we'll see what happens over the next few weeks.

I arrived home about 10.30pm and all my doggies were very pleased to see me. Hardly recognised Mouse and Monkee...they've changed so much!! Will get new piccies this week so you can see. And that's it...back home, back to work...boo hoo hoo. We're at Rotherham this weekend and have a starter team entered so will attempt to run Spud, Radley, Squirrel and Viggo in the same team (I say 'attempt') and see how they all get on!