Friday, April 15, 2011

The National

What a week. I don't know where to start.

My first American Whippet Club National Specialty was in Vermont in 1996, and I've gone every year since. Last year it was in Tucson, AZ, which was a long, weary drive. This year it was in Lexington, KY: a mere four and a half hours from home. Piece o'cake!

While showering before work on Tuesday morning, I thought, "Huh. I must have slept with my mouth open. My throat feels funny." While showering before work on Wednesday morning, I thought, "Hmm. Now the back of my nasal passages are kind of burning. I couldn't be getting a cold. Nah. Not right before the National."

I got a cold. No biggie.

I packed the van including Swede William, Lindy Loo, puppies Jabber and Alison, and my pink hoodie footie, and went to pick up Lee and Dee and older puppy Mia. We left on Saturday so that I could watch Lindy Loo's sister Simmer run in the Lure Coursing Field Trial on Sunday, and see my dear Laurie from Minnesooooooooota. (Bill told me that when I drove off, leaving Sam and the Dear Old Ones behind, Sammy threw his head back and howled like a broken-hearted Lone Wolf in the dining room. That made me die a little bit.)

We got to Lexington in no time. The puppies were stellar. No one would guess this was their inaugural road trip, or that they were just fourteen weeks old.

Minnesoooooota Laurie could stop and join us for an early dinner in Lexington. (She would spend the night an hour further south, so that the 6:30 AM Roll Call wouldn't be quite so onerous. We would drive down in the morning.) Sure enough, she arrived and oh how wonderful it was to see her, and there was Sam's sweet brother Rivet, and Lindy Loo's glamorous sister Simmer. Only...

Breeders are strange creatures. I open my arms to hug my dear friend, whom I haven't seen in ten forevers. "Oh Laurie," I exclaimed! "It is sooooo good to see y..." My eyes widened in horror as I gazed down at my Simmer, my little pup-pup.

"She's FAT!!!" I just blurted it out. Right like I was saying "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!" or, "You have an ax sticking out of your skull!"

Simmer was entered in the Triathlon at the National. The Triathlon is a Big Deal. Whippets entered in the Triathlon combine their scores from Lure Coursing, Obedience, and Conformation. You have to have your dog fit enough for Lure Coursing, trained in Obedience, and they have to conform to the breed Standard. Mama Pajama had twice finished second in the Triathlon; accomplishments of which I am enormously proud.

Luckily Laurie is a forgiving sort. "Well, we do live in Minnesota, and it's been a horrible winter, and I've been working her on treadmills and doing everything I can," she reasoned. Using all my gracious tact I said, "But she's FAT!!!" (Do remember this later, Dear Readers. Do remember how I carried on.) Laurie, being a Kind and Gentle Soul, just smiled and hugged me and said it was so good to see me and let's eat.

Sunday morning I really didn't feel well at all. The right side of my face burned like fire and my neck was stiff, and maybe I had a little fever? Lee and Dee had never seen lure coursing and I had never seen Simmer run, so I didn't care how I felt, we were going. The day was sunny and windy. We got to the field and oh the memories. Giacomino had been Best In Field at the 1998 National in Temecula, California. And oh the friends! Folks I hadn't seen in years! "Don't hug me," I warned. "I seem to be a little bit sick." Well that was pure torture.

Fat little Simmer ran her heart out and finished with quite a respectable score. In fact, her final run was just beautiful, so much so that she reminded me of her famous cousin Mama P.

Simmer at the National - Photo Steve Surfman

"Laurie," I gushed! "That was awesome! She was fantastic!"

"Not too bad for a fat dog," smiled Laurie. "No," I agreed. "Not too bad at all. And I think she lost three pounds today. She ran so fast she ran away from them!"

I don't remember all that much of the evening. We went back to the hotel and fed dogs and we went out to eat. I don't remember where but I remember I had hot water with lemon to drink and it was like heaven. Laurie and Simmer would do Obedience in the morning and conformation in the afternoon. Sweet Sammy's brother sweet Rivet would do Rally in the morning. I couldn't wait to see it all. But ugh. I couldn't wait to get in bed.

We got back to the hotel and I called Bill and told him what was going on. "You better go to the Emergency Room," he said. "Okay, if I'm not better in the morning I will."

I woke up at 3:00 AM. Oh boy. This wasn't better...

to be continued HERE but obviously I lived because I'm not writing this posthumously so go ahead and hug your hounds


  1. Hurry please! I can't stand the suspense!! :-) It truly is so fun to hear you tell a story, no matter how many times I've heard it, P!! Your talent and your emotions just leap off the page and grab me... dontcha know?!!

  2. Can't believe you left me hanging! Know you're busy but write more ASAP.

  3. Unfair! To be continued is not FAIR.

    kisses from Teka Toy

  4. I LOVE cliff hangers! I'm waiting on the edge of my seat...even though I know some of the ending. ;)


  5. I forgot to add that I love the plate. Horses and whippets together. Could it get any better?


  6. What..........???? Not fair P.


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