We started off with Fullhouse Level 4 and it was a wild ride. Wish I had a video! She was wild and fast, she blew her contact, I barely managed to stay in control. An improvement I see from last year is that I am able to keep moving and not stall out when she blows my plan. Keep Calm and Handle On. We started on the left side of the map. Bar-Bar-Tunnel-Tire (she almost ran out this but when I said JUMP! she veered back and took it. I was amazed she didn't break it)-Tunnel-Walk-TripleJump-Bar-Tunnel-Walk.... The details are hazy. I am pretty certain after the first dog walk that she did the straight tunnel. Or some tunnel. It was a blur! Either way, we got all of our required obstacles (you can bet I made sure we got those three bar jumps this time!) and earned 35/25 required points, and that finishes Level 4 Fullhouse. Which means that she got her Level 4 Fun title. FUN!
Next up was Standard Level 4. If you never ever have watched nor plan to watch a video on this blog ever, you should definitely watch this one. It is Molly's finest disaster work ever and I have watched it probably 15 times already and I laugh every time. WOW. Zoomies, off courses galore. I just gave up at the end. Why stress her out and drag her through things when she had already NQ'd three times over?
Next was Colors Level 4.
I chose to do the circle course, to avoid two contact obstacles and also the 3-Jump to 5-Tunnel trap. That's just too much fire to play with!
It was okay. Molly came flying out of that tunnel and nearly took me out. She spun in front of the 3-Jump. She hooked off to the left for reasons I do not understand. Since we had no momentum our 180 handling was flat and strained. She did the weave poles and I front crossed and she came running with me. Suddenly she ran behind me for some reason to go sniff a propane heater. The rest of the course was acceptable, Aframe contact and all.
Last was Wildcard Level 3. Well I will ruin the surprise, we NQ'd. I wanted this Q so very much because it would have been another new title (CL3-H) but it was not to be! Molly started off great, she did the 3-4 180 fine. I wish I had this on video because she somehow then ran out away from me, ended up on the opposite side of the next jump and back jumped it for an Off Course. The rest of the run went well, with no other trouble, but the damage was done. No Off Course allowed in Wildcard Level 3. (It really was a nice run otherwise, but I felt too sad to feel good about that.)
I was...frustrated after the Wildcard course. The craziness in Standard was funny. The wacky erratic behavior in Colors was a little more frustrating, but whatever, it's Molly. The Wildcard course was a "pressure on" course for me and sometimes my patience for Molly's ridiculous off shooting , her hooking off of lines for no good reason and her general craziness can be seriously challenged. Today was one of those days. Today was a day when the two friends that I was talking with and hanging out with all day had perfect days. And not just Q's on paper, their runs were very nice and solid over all. Molly and I are always the class clowns. We are the ones that seem to be NQ'ing while others get to feel and do great. And I congratulate my friends and I am genuinely happy for them and I brush off my latest crazy stunt in the ring and pretend I don't care. But...why us? I do care! Why can't we just get it? And of course I spiral into the obvious conclusion that I am the absolute most hopeless and worst handler in the entire universe and that I will never ever get this right and I should probably quit right now. If Molly had a better handler, she would be just fine. Right?
Just after my Wildcard run another handler came up to me as I was exiting the ring and said, "I love this dog." I mumbled a thank you. I don't know if people feel sorry for me. I don't know if they want to cheer me up. I don't know if they want to be that voice in the abyss that keeps a sad handler from quitting agility altogether. I don't know if they genuinely enjoy the comedy show of a naughty pitbull running around and sometimes doing good, sometimes not so good. But people tell me all the time that they love to watch Molly run because she is so happy. Judges have told me what a cool dog she is, what a gorgeous dog, what a happy dog. Sometimes I don't think Molly seems all that happy, but maybe that is just because I am too intense on the inside. Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees. That even though Molly herself is a wildcard, she is different. She is fun. She is unique. And we need to Enjoy the Journey.
And when I came home and watched that Standard video a few more times and drank a glass of wine I remembered all over again how in love I am with this quirky dog. This dog who only wants to please me, even if sometimes she is too excited to figure out how to do that exactly the way that I want her to. And I laughed and laughed and kissed her big skull and her lips and thanked her and told her that I love her so freaking much. Because I do.