Today is a landmark day, it's MD’s agility debut. I picked this slightly obscure low key indoor show, where we have entered something degradingly called Grade Zero, so that I could craftily sneak his debut in under the wire whilst no one was looking... so obviously L is attending, my parents are attending including my mother making her debut at a winter show (just for MD), as well as half the members of the two clubs I train with. His ring will probably have the biggest attendance figures outside the main arena at Crufts. L even does a 30 mile plus cycle ride to get there. She calls it training, I call it avoiding the early start I made and trying to get an extra half an hour in bed. I’m being unfair there; she’s training hard for this Cheshire Cat thing. Harder than me as it happens, as I’ve been concentrating on my running. Even to the extent of getting the Battenberg in on a BOGOF offer... well she says it's for her cycling.
As it turns out neither L nor my parents arrive in time to see us queue up with the other grade zeros, known affectionately as the noughties, for our first run. In my father’s absence I have to get someone else to video MD’s first ever run for posterity. We don’t go clear or anything silly like that but he does well, loads of enthusiasm, doesn’t embarrass me and gets everything right although admittedly not always at the first time of asking but we’ll get there.
He has four more runs and all his fan club are there in time for the rest of them. Eventually we get the faults down to ten, that’s two lots of faults (five points for each). I am very proud of him. These are small steps but promising ones.
Doggo, now reduced to a supporting role, has the same number of runs and puts in his usual steady but in no great hurry clears. L quips, as they all watch Doggo for the first time that day; that this is how the expert does it... or rather doesn’t do it. Whereas MD has been totally focused all day, Doggo sees my father watching and not realising he was even here goes to say hello, and why the hell didn’t you come see me earlier?, mid run. Embarrassing or what and all recorded on video. Thankfully we have a second run on the same course and I clear the spectator area of anyone he might know before we run. This time we go clear.
It’s a satisfying day, that I even skipped a match for, Derby’s 5th Round FA Cup tie with Birmingham City. This was after all MD’s long planned debut and Doggo’s only event pre-Crufts. Unmissable really. In the game, Derby lead in their cup game against Birmingham but concede two late goals, one in injury time, to lose 2-1.
Back home, Son has arranged another party so we’re exiled to the local tonight, no bad thing really. The dogs are too tired to party anyway.