On the Doing of Things

On the doing of things…

Sometimes life piles up so fast it’s hard to keep up–and it’s hard to remember why you’re doing what in the first place.

cb.bone..506I started this blog while listening to the grind of merry little hound teeth on a Nylabone, while the hound in question (Connery) happily sprawled over the world’s ugliest hotel carpet.

Not kidding. World’s UGLIEST.

We went to Colorado for one more try at Dart’s TDX title before the bitey snakes wake up and put an end to TDX tracking season.

Last weekend we went to an agility trial, where ConneryBeagle ran his first trial at his new post-MACH3 jump height of twelve instead of sixteen inches. He loved it to pieces and he ran for six of six, which means 3 QQs and 95 points toward a PACH (the preferred version of the MACH). That’s a weekend we’ll have a hard time repeating any time soon…if ever!

Dart Beagle ran in that trial too (and so did Chase Cardigan, the boy I guest-handle), and he hit a QQ on the first day and, um, tried real hard after that. Mostly.

Chase gave me a lot of back-talk, once gave me the paw, and ended the trial by earning his first excellent Q in a couple of trials. All of which I can take with equanimity when I’ve got my Connery boy back in the line up.

dart.uglycarpet.491Before that, life was about finishing ALPHA ENTANGLED (the current contract book for the HQ paranormal line, Nocturne). And last week, it was about taxes. Turns out I’m already too late to get them to my accountant in time for April 15–surprise! So hey…extension time, but I’m determined to get the doggone things done anyway, you know?

Anyway, back to the ugly carpet.

You know, you want a weekend like this to go perfectly. It’s a long drive to south Denver from our place, and it’s time and energy and money. I don’t travel well (understatement), so I feel a lot of pressure to make trips like this successful–especially when we add an extra hotel day so I can recover for the test and return drive home.

It did not go perfectly.

P1020568SMMWithin thirty-six hours, I got poisoned by hotel cleaning chemicals (Long-Term Lyme: Just Say No); frantically cleaned up after the dog who nearly midnight-horked at my ear; met an important long-distance Friend for the first time; went out with Friend to lay a motivational track in what turned into horizontally driving snow and a covered track…

…cleaned up (more) after the dog hork, ditched dinner plans due to exhaustion and logistics; tried to learn Windows 8 (also, Just Say No), and woke up on track day to discover mystery dog effluvia on the hotel pillow but HEY. We already had the cleaning supplies. Which was good, because then the other of us got sick.

(I swear, these are all firsts for us! We are not a traveling emissions club.)

On this foundation, off we went to the track, where we did not pass. Dart worked with great enthusiasm and accuracy until a certain point, when for no apparent reason he…well…he became stoned. “Whut am I doing again?”

I tend to think that he could address the tall grass, the remains of a dead deer and its coyote scat collection, the snow-soggy goose poo zone…even the swampy zone and the woods with actual TREES–but only for just so long. And then…magically stoned dog!

This is very much a Dart thing. This boy lives with such intensity that sometimes he uses himself up.

Can you see it in his expression?  That is one stoned little dog.  DONE.

Can you see it in his expression? DONE.


But nonetheless, it was something of an epiphany, and probably not a bad one at at that.

Because I think that these tracking tests aren’t something we pass.

They’re something we do.

Yes, it matters that we do or don’t pass along the way. And the thrill of following a strong working dog through beautiful corners and rugged terrain can’t be overstated (and neither can the disappointment of watching that gestalt evaporate).

Immediately after the track.  Tell me this dog isn't stoned.

Immediately after the track. Tell me this dog isn’t stoned.


But in the meantime, we had an adventure. I’ve been to a new state, a new place. I saw new mountains. I experimented with new ways to organize the packing and the traveling. I cuddled with dogs, I hugged a new-old friend, and I spent time with my partner. I met new tracking folks, I saw some awesome tracking dogs at work, and Dart and I faced new things together.


What is this thing called "water"?

What is this thing called “water”?


We went and we did, and my world is a little bit bigger and maybe I’m a little bit wiser. And I think maybe that’s what these trials are all about.

You know what I mean?

(PS But can we have a do-over on driving eight hours home with the post-pukey dog funk, maybe? Please?

Starting the track.  Yep, there's a dog there somewhere.

After the first corner. Still hoping…


Now you see the dog...

Heading down the third leg, about to hit the wall. Now you see the dog… (sort of)


Now you don't!  (Fourth leg, after the flunk.)

…Now you don’t! (Fourth leg, after the flunk.)


See that little dog?  He's about to find the GLOVE!

See that little smudge of a dog? He’s about to find the GLOVE!


At the glove, gearing down--tracklayer on one side, tracker friend on the other.

At the glove, gearing down–tracklayer on one side, tracker friend on the other.


In the end...we're still us!

In the end…we’re still us!


A Feral Darkness by Doranna DurginDoranna’s quirky spirit has led to an eclectic and extensive publishing journey across genres. Beyond that, she hangs around outside her Southwest mountain home with horse and beagles who compete in agility, obedience, and tracking.

She doesn’t believe in mastering the beast within, but in channeling its power. For good or bad has yet to be decided…

Doranna’s ongoing releases include Nocturne paranormals and joyful new indie efforts–like the special BVC release of the Changespell Saga, and reader favorites like Wolverine’s Daughter and A Feral Darkness.  Whee!

Not coincidentally, Doranna’s latest release at BVC has DOGS in it!



On the Doing of Things — 7 Comments

  1. He looks so happy, so intent in the pic with the person holding the glove. He is so expressive!

    Loved this, though I couldn’t quite parse the opening graphs (QQ?)

  2. You know, I only just now realized that glove pic was sort of misleading. That’s just me *removing* my tracking gloves (worn to protect my hands as with riding gloves), not me with the article glove. I had already returned that to the tracklayer. (If we had passed, we would have kept it and the judges would have signed it.)

    Dart looks at me that way all the time…he is a really focused little dog. (Which is how he uses himself up so fast sometimes!)

    “QQ” is agility lingo. AKA “double-Q.” It means the dog qualifies in both standard and jumpers courses on the same day. 8)

  3. I always enjoy your dog posts. Glad there were good moments to the trip!

    Serious sympathies on the Windows 8 and taxes. I am constantly sighing over the first and about to tackle the second…

    • Definitely some good moments there. It’s all in how you look at things sometimes…

      Windoze 8 is a constant surprise in its fail factor. It really is. There’s a solid operating system in there beneath it all, but getting there is just stupid hard.

      Good luck with taxes! I need to deal with the quarterlies this week…

  4. My bathroom carpet was uglier, till we got it replaced for an anniversary gift (yellow mustard, used to be shag in a previous life…trust me on this).

    But that puppy is such a good boy!

    • I had one of those carpets once. Mustard shag. Awesome. (Combined with deep maroon walls.) I feel your relief in having it replaced!

      He is a very good boy. Just a little bit vibrational. 8) If he can learn to rate himself for longer tracks (and the more complex demands of Open obedience), we’ll be in good shape…