2018 AKC Agility Invitational

The Invitational is a strange beast. Exciting, disappointing, emotional, fun, exhausting, thrilling. It’s an experience.

This year was extra emotional, because Nina’s pancreatitis flare-up in November was just improving and then flared again the day before I left. So I left her home with Jim rather than subject her to all that driving, crate time, strange places, etc.

She qualified this year for the fifth year in a row, and I know that, at 11 1/2, this could easily have been her last year to go (plus the official color this year was purple, Nina’s color!), but leaving her behind was the right choice for her.

I had high hopes for Zhora this year (last year, the Invitational was her first trial back after the puppies, so I knew we wouldn’t be competitive). She’s been within shouting distance of the finals twice now and I thought this year (her fourth consecutive) could be her year. She’s been fast and accurate and laying down perfect weekend after perfect weekend. She came out on Friday and dropped a 7 point Time 2 Beat run, which is excellent when running with some of the fastest dogs in the country.

Then Saturday was hot and muggy, I think Nina’s absence really started to get to her, and in our Round 1 Jumpers she bobbled in the weaves, looking at me while I was looking ahead, and that moment of disconnect caused her to pop. Right off the bat we were out.

Round 2 Standard was a Q. Slow, but a Q.

On Sunday, Round 3 Hybrid started to feel more like running with Zhora.

And then Round 4 Jumpers was my favorite – three blind crosses, two misread turns but no big deal, she ran fast and happy and I cried at the end, so thankful to this awesome little teammate for coming through for me once again. 

HUGE crowd pressure this year.

So Zhora finished 3/4 plus Time 2 Beat, not bad at all!

Then we made the traditional stop at American Beach on Amelia Island for some much-needed R&R:

Alice on American Beach
Thank you Zhora!

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