‘Deeds – The ‘Walk Up Kid’….’ June 2008
God knows we’ve had some memorable and excellent times this working test season so not complaining But coming out of last week and Deeds winning the Reserve CC, we had been going better and better all season in Novice and Intermediate tests, knocking on the door and then damn near hammering on it, and I just wondered if ‘him upstairs’ just might smile on me a little longer to (probably) be able to add something extra good to the pot (and the breed notes advert – grin) regarding a show win and a decent working test place in the same week
How could I possible have been so silly! I patently swore (as I am want to do) at an angel at some point or something….
Novice test Sunday. You know sometimes you feel the dog is as good as its ever going to be, the field was a nice average 30 and not some ridiculous number, the weather was cool, the dog was in a blinding mood having had a bitch the day before – chuckle – and the judges were people I like very much indeed and know would set realistic novice tests – if taxing – but not ‘trappy’.
So tests 1, 2, 3 and 4 see the dog going well. Really well. I say so myself. Two marks of varying difficulty, one slightly tricky blind, and a blind with a mark distraction – bread and butter stuff. The dog was operating cleanly, minimal handling, and after those 4 tests the old stomach started to just ‘tweek’ a little…. You know how it is… you see other people coming back shaking their heads after lots of whistling and some shouting and you just gently glow on the inside – just a litle flutter….
So after lunch we gather and they tell us we have a walk up. Damn, damn, I was hoping for a Drive instead, but never mind. The dog is marking well, his heelwork is as good as anyones and he is steady as a rock…. walks ups have been no problem this season. The flutter continues….
Then the first EIGHT dogs are called forward into line and they decide to run it on Field Trial lines with 4 dogs with one judge and 4 dogs with the other, with two guns and throwers infront, with the left hand thrower chucking for the right hand dogs and visa versa. So basically an eight dog walk up, marking across the line in long grass.
Now…. the lad is a good dog. He is an honest dog. But he will never win University Challenge and even with ‘left and right’ written on his paws I KNEW this might get a little…. cough…. taxing. I kind of knew, before it happened, what would happen, and it happened….
We walk on. Jade and Allan are walking up next to us (gulp) so we have to both agree to send our dogs quite quietly, just another little hurdle, so as not to send the other spinning into the distance too Jades mark comes down, Allan sends, she bowls out at her hand canter (whilst knitting bootees as she ran, as, even if she isn’t ‘with child’ she patently THINKS she is by her ‘safety first’ speed currently – grin). Hunts, picks, comes back. Nice one. Walk on! Dog in the right hand group gets his retrieve come out…and….a dog who had been going really well too runs in! I am great mates with his handler but just can’t help feel the old adrenaline kick in even more at his bad luck – ‘Another one bites the dust’… ohhhhh!
Dog on the right gets another shot and retrieve and picks with some handling as they are now falling over a drop in the field so the dog is working out of sight. The judges will take that into consideration in their marking. Happy days….
Walk on!! Shot comes out… mark comes out… falls over the drop again…. judge says ‘number 6’, I send Deeds as fast as possible, he goes out quick… but as he approaches the top of the hill I can see he is going the wrong side of the ‘considerable’ wind and will not scent the dummy from there! I take two steps out of line forward quickly (allowed and sensible) and blow a stop whistle. Forward motion stops, he turns, and looks….. and looks…. and sees the longest walk up line he has ever seen, plus two judges, and never even looks my way…. he stares intently at the dogs on the right of the line, looking up and down them quite frantically…. I blow another ‘peep’ to try and get him to look at me… but his little brain has gone into ‘Oh S**t’ mode…. I clap my hands and he glances at our end of the line quite frantically, but stares straight back at the right end again….. I decide to take a flyer as this Mexican standoff could not continue…. and just shout ‘back’! He turns left as he spins and goes back… he needed to turn right! ‘Not THAT back the other damn back you twonk!’ I mutter…. So now he is even further the wrong side of the wind, AND is over the brow of the hill.
Well…. I shall draw a veil over the next two minutes I would blow him to recall to the top of the bank in sight, he would obediently appear…stop…. scan the faces, and despite five foot seven of me and a bright pink jumper (I knew!! I KNEW when I got dressed that morning!) two paces out of line, he never clocked me once! Poor mentally challenged little donkey
Finally in hunting an (embarassingly) vast area he winded it, puppy bounced on it (Christ THERE you are!) and charges back – towards the right hand side of the line (of course) meaning I had to clap and whistle and call him to me like a blinking puppy with him patently muttering about me ‘vanishing like that and leaving him to it, alone, out there!’
The flutter vanished like a damp squib at a rate of knots.
But hey, we have a walked up working test this Saturday…. run on…. you’ve guessed it….field trial lines again…. Can’t wait. I feel a flashing neon sign on my baseball cap might be in order, or, possibly some of those huge pink foam hands you get at the Football to handle him with He might see me then!
Diana Stevens – June 2008