The Final Finish Line
In memory of Mikie
I have lived a full life enjoyed,
The years but a blink gone by;
Bathed in attention, adventure, laughter,
A promise to love me ever after,
I learned to cross the finish line.
Joyous hours spent in training,
The A-frame proudly I climbed;
Oh, to wish those days would never end,
My soaring and dashing awarded then,
By racing 'cross the finish line.
In five years of battling Addisons,
Fought with all my will,
Sightless I grew, and then more ill;
How I longed to run just one more time,
But no more can I see the finish line.
Now my family stands 'round my body weakened,
Sighing soft summer breeze goodbyes,
So familiar and warm their touch;
Upon my well kept coat tears fall,
I bid them silently to well recall:
As I will you, remember me,
In sheer joy I'd bark my song!
Over jumps, flying high and fast!
Not warring an insidious specter and blind,
But as young and strong in a gentle past,
When I crossed the finish line.
My breath falls burdened, my heart a-dimming,
Yet embracing loves strength sublime,
And yes, at the rainbow bridge I'll wait for you;
As I cross, ever happy,
Running freely, and now seeing,
The final finish line.
Dear fellow BAD folks-
9/02/95 Novice B 24" Leg 1 95 9/03/95 Novice B 24" Leg 2 100 10/21/95 Novice B 24" Leg 3 100 NA 10/22/95 Novice B 24" Leg 4 100 5/05/96 Open 24" Leg 1 98 7/27/96 Open 24" Leg 2 100 7/28/96 Open 24" Leg 3 90 OA 9/21/96 Excellent 24" Leg 1 100 10/19/96 Excellent 24" Leg 2 100 10/20/96 Excellent 24" Leg 3 100 AX 3/02/97 MX-1 100 3/16/97 MX-2 95 4/20/97 MX-3 100 2nd/31 5/23/97 MX-4 100 4th/17 5/24/97 MX-5 100 2nd/14 5/25/97 MX-6 100 2nd/14 6/01/97 MX-7 100 3rd/33 7/26/97 MX-8 100 7/27/97 MX-9 100 3rd/45 8/16/97 MX-10 100 MX 3/07/98 MX-11 100 3/08/98 MX-12 100 4/18/98 MX-13 100 4/19/98 MX-14 100 5/03/98 MX-15 100 60.00'/61' 5/22/98 MX-16 100 5/24/98 MX-17 85 8/02/98 MX-18 100 3rd/8 66.00'/68' 12/12/98 MX-19 100 4th/55 58.91'/65'
AKC Nationals 1997 10/12/97 Excellent 24" 88 4/18/98 Excellent A 24" Leg 1 94 4th/18 45.06'/43' 5/02/98 Excellent A 24" Leg 2 85 3rd/8 49.00'/44' 5/03/98 Excellent A 24" Leg 3 97 2nd/6 41.00'/40' AXJ 8/15/98 Excellent B 24" Leg 1 100 1st/3* 8/29/98 Excellent B 24" Leg 2 100 2nd/5 00.00'/43' 10/25/98 Excellent B 24" Leg 3 100 2nd/10 38.00'/43' 12/13/98 Excellent B 24" Leg 4 100 44.91'/45'
4/17/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 20 100 53.20'/68' 4/18/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 21 100 4th/16 56.95'/60' 2Q 4/24/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 22 100 4th/9 66.77'/66' 4/25/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 23 100 67.29'/69' 8/01/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 24 100 2nd/5 55.82'/62' 2Q 9/18/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 25 100 3rd/7 52.96'/68' 2Q MXB 9/19/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 26 100 3rd/7 53.44'/63' 2Q 12/4/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 27 100 4th/15 59.48'/68' 2Q 12/5/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 28 100 4th/17 55.94'/63' 4/29/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 29 100 2nd/7 51.52'/58' 5/13/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 30 100 1st/4 57.43'/68' 6/23/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 31 100 3rd/11 56.80'/60' 9/16/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 32 100 1st/5 52.76'/65' 9/17/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 33 100 2nd/6 59.27'/66' 2Q 10/13/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 34 100 59.35'/66' 2Q 5/05/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 35 100 2nd/10 56.98'/60' 5/06/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 36 94 1st/9 63.73'/61'
4/18/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 5 100 37.15'/40' 2Q 5/01/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 6 100 3rd/4 40.55'/44' 5/02/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 7 100 3rd/6 41.72'/45' 6/27/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 8 100 4th/8 38.44'/41' 8/01/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 9 100 3rd/5 39.78'/43' 2Q 9/18/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 10 100 3rd/5 40.26'/43' 2Q MXJ 9/19/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 11 100 2nd/5 34.69'/38' 2Q 10/24/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 12 100 1st/3 36.80'/42' 12/4/99 Excellent B 20" Leg 13 100 2nd/8 38.07'/42' 2Q 4/30/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 14 100 3rd/5 39.29'/41' 5/14/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 15 100 1st/3 37.41'/43' 9/17/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 16 100 1st/3 37.06'/41' 2Q 10/13/00 Excellent B 20" Leg 17 100 4th/10 38.13'/41' 2Q 5/06/01 Excellent B 20" Leg 18 100 3rd/7 43.16'/43'
4/17/99 CPs- 14 4/18/99 CPs- 5 2Q 4/25/99 CPs- 1 5/01/99 CPs- 3 5/02/99 CPs- 3 6/27/99 CPs- 2 8/1/99 CPs- 12 2Q 9/18/99 CPs- 17 2Q 9/19/99 CPs- 13 2Q 10/24/99 CPs- 10 12/4/99 CPs- 12 2Q 12/5/99 CPs- 7 4/29/00 CPs- 9 4/30/00 CPs- 1 5/13/00 CPs- 20 5/14/00 CPs- 10 6/23/00 CPs- 3 9/16/00 CPs- 24 9/17/00 CPs- 15 2Q 10/13/00 CPs- 8 2Q 5/05/01 CPs- 4 Total CPs-193 2Qs-7 Charles and Mikie, our second MX Beardie, have earned so many placements in all their agility endeavors that Charles no longer keeps track! Both were invited to the AKC Nationals in October of 97. Congratulations for your qualifying score in Jumps with Weaves!
8/9/96 Novice Regular 24"-Leg 1 8/9/96 Novice Regular 24"-Leg 2 8/10/96 Novice Regular 24"-Leg 3 NAC 8/10/96 Open Regular 24"-Leg 1 8/9/97 Open Regular 24"-Leg 2 8/9/97 Open Regular 24"-Leg 3 OAC 8/10/97 Elite Regular 24"-Leg 1 8/10/97 Elite Regular 24"-Leg 2 5/06/98 Elite Regular 24"-Leg 3 -5 6/20/98 Elite Regular 24"-Leg 4 CR 3rd/ EAC 8/9/96 Novice Gamblers 24"-Leg 1 8/10/96 Novice Gamblers 24"-Leg 2 NGC 8/9/97 Open Gamblers 24"-Leg 1 8/10/97 Open Gamblers 24"-Leg 2 OGC 6/20/98 Elite Gamblers 24"-Leg 1 3rd/ 8/09/98 Elite Gamblers 24"-Leg 2 4th/ EJC 8/9/96 Novice Jumpers 24"-Leg 1 8/10/96 Novice Jumpers 24"-Leg 2 NJC 8/9/97 Open Jumpers 24"-Leg 1 8/8/98 Open Jumpers 24"-Leg 2 2nd/ OJC Fifth NAC 8/10/96 Fourth OAC 8/9/97 Third EAC 6/20/98 Third NJC 8/10/96 Tenth OJC 8/8/98 Second NGC 8/10/96 Second OGC 8/10/97 First EGC 8/9/98
6/8/96 AGI-Leg 1 1st Place 6/8/96 AGI-Leg 2 4th Place 5/9/98 AGI-Leg 3 200 10 points 2nd Place 42.00'/60' U-AGI 5/10/98 AGI-Leg 4 200 10 points 3rd Place 42.00'/60' 7/18/98 AGI-Leg 5 200 10 points 1st Place 7/19/98 AGI-Leg 6 200 10 points 1st Place 9/12/98 AGI-Leg 7 200 10 points 1st Place 9/13/98 AGI-Leg 8 200 10 points 1st Place 6/8/96 AGII-Leg 1 3rd Place 5/9/98 AGII-Leg 2 194 67.56'/70' 5/10/98 AGII-Leg 3 190 66.00'/70' U-AGII 7/18/98 AGII-Leg 4 200 10 points 1st Place 7/19/98 AGII-Leg 5 200 10 points 1st Place 9/12/98 AGII-Leg 6 200 10 points 1st Place U-ACH 9/13/98 AGII-Leg 7 200 10 points 2nd Place 9/19/98 AGIII-Leg 1 200 10 points 1st Place 9/20/98 AGIII-Leg 2 200 10 points 1st Place 10/11/98 AGIII-Leg 3 200 10 points 2nd Place 6/5/99 AGIII-Leg 4 200 10 points 1st Place 6/5/99 AGIII-Leg 5 200 10 points 1st Place U-ACHX 6/6/99 AGIII-Leg 6 200 10 points 1st Place 6/6/99 AGIII-Leg 7 200 10 points 1st Place U-AGI 5/9/98 U-AGII 5/10/98 U-ACH 9/12/98 U-ACHX 6/5/99 FIRST BEARDIE U-ACHX HIT 6/8/96 HIT 7/18/98 HIT 9/19/98 High Combined 9/12/98 High Combined 9/13/98 Second to HIT 6/5/99 You need a 196 or higher to earn points toward the U-ACH title. 196 is 1 pt; 197 is 2 pts; 198 is 4 pts; 199 is 6 pts; 200 is 10 pts. You need to accumulate 100 points, with at least 40 coming from AGII. You need 5 AGIII legs for the U-ACHX.
From: Charles Gibson <email@example.com>
Thu Jun 14, 2001
Dear Agility Friends -
Since so much good news has been coming down the BeardieAgility e-pike lately, I was initially hesitant to share news of a different nature. However, as Red Green would say, "We're all in this together." The following needs to be told.
For the past month or so, I've been a bit suspicious of a change/problem with Mikie's vision: he'd occasionally bump into things and have difficulty finding the "can do" ball when it was thrown out on the lawn. So, last week at his monthly vet visit (for his DOCP injection), his peeps got a prelim exam; the vet noticed "some changes," but not being a board certified vet ophthalmologist, she recommended that he be seen by one.
He was, and the Dr. found some damage to both retinas, irreversible damage: "Sudden Acute Retinal Degeneration, simular to macular degeneration in people, where peripheral vision persists but central focusing vision is lost." She explained that this sudden on-set damage is often associated in Cushing's syndrome dogs (just the opposite of Addison's) which COULD mean that the doses for the prednisone (part of Mikie's replacement therapy) MIGHT have been too high, POSSIBLY allowing this damage to happen. For brevity, I'm leaving a lot of the details out. She ordered a complete blood panel, and tests to check triglycerides and cholesterol levels, which will provide a more definitive answer of what, if any, course of action to take to prevent further retinal damage. It's too soon to know if he will become completely blind.
Last year, I noticed Mikie gradually slowing down just a bit, something I just assumed would naturally happen to an 8 year old Addisonian Beardie. It was then I began to ponder my requirements for retiring him from agility: simply, it would be when he could no longer make SCT. However, his not being able to see as well as he'd like to certainly sheds a different light on his cautious (read 'slower') behavior out on the course.
While he's already entered in an upcoming trial, this is not how I wanted to end his career in agility, if, in fact, I decide that it would not be in his best interest to run him again. To make an informed decision, he'll run a simple, controlled "test" course in a few days.
In years past, when I was running all-out with him on a course, I'd completely forget that this Beardie is Addisonian, especially when he'd clear the jumps by a foot or race all others to the finish line earning a class placement. And, like all other Beardies, the delight he took in agility was boundless.
With all that he's accomplished in the sport of agility, far more than I ever thought possible, this is not to lodge a complaint. Yet, I cannot deny the sad pit in my gut knowing that such a determined and cheerful Beardie will likely soon have to stop doing what he loves doing most. And, of course, knowing that our team will soon be calling it quits, I couldn't have asked for a better teammate.
Because he will be relying more on his nose for direction, long-time Beardie friend Ann Krafcheck suggested he focus on tracking. Luckily, there are a couple of experienced tracking people in the area; and I had the good fortune to be able to take the tracking class at Camp Beardie. Hey, aren't Beardies simply the best??
I'd say, with no reservation, our group of agility folks (including BAD members) with their shaggy countershoppers, is the most talented, and above all, fortunate, group in the world of agility. When your Beardie runs a course, be it the 1st time or the 100th time, just take a moment to look back at your partner and know you have an immeasurable fortune by witnessing the miracle of happiness in motion.
Best wishes to you and yours,
Dear Beardie Agility Friends
The response I received, after I posted Mikie's story last week, was both unexpected and overwhelming. I was deeply touched by your words of concern and caring. At the very least, I feel I owe you all an update.
Over the past 10 days, it appears that Mikie has lost more useful vision, due to his outward symptoms: more occurances of bumping into things, and short-lived spells of disorientation. However, he is able to manage quite well when following either Gillie or me during our daily walks on mowed trails thru the woods. I keep a watchful eye on him. If there ever was a good reason for teaching one's dog basic obedience (sit- stay, down-stay, and recall), living with a visually impaired Bearded Collie would get the award of reason.
Then, after the walks, both he and Gil thoroughly enjoy playing tag in the yard: Gil seems to sense that Mikie has 'changed.' He willingly keeps in close teasing range of Mikie. It's really heartwarming to watch them interact: no shyness, prejudice, or pity-me with these two! If I didn't have other worldly responsibilities, I could watch 'em carry on for hours.
As far as I can tell, Mikie appears to be handling/coping with his visual challenge quite well, probably a lot better than me. Unlike dogs, we humans become emotional and all sentimental under these adverse situations. It's been hard on me to watch a beloved family member lose his eyesight. Yet, quite honestly, I have yet to see Mikie's cheerfulness droop: tail still going strong, kisses all around, barks out of sheer joy, the same ol' Mikie as always.
Nonetheless, sadly I pulled his entry from a 3-day agility trial this weekend: his agility career is finished for sure. No Bush/Gore recount on this one.
Right now, my main concern is getting his liver back to processing within a normal range, as a compromised liver can mean big trouble for other bodily functions. Mikie will have another blood chem. profile done in a couple of weeks to see where the levels are at. Then we'll be able to tell if the lowering of Mikie's daily doses of pred had any positive change on the profiles/liver functions.
Again, I thank you all for your concern and
And for now, that's about it.
Best wishes to you and yours,
Charles Gibson >>
My daughter, Karen, along with Gillie, Mikie, and me, are all going down to watch the very popular Kalamazoo (MI) AKC agility trials either tomorrow or Sunday. We're looking forward to see Ann Krafcheck's notorious Drake (I refer to him as either "The Tallman", or "Drake-In-A-Crate"), Tasha ("The Naush"), and Simon ("Mr. LeGree"). This will be the first agility trial that I've gone to in 6 years where I will not be running Mikie. I'm steeling myself for the anticipated onslaught of proverbial questions, all in the form of: "Why aren't you running Mikie today?" But, as Jerry Bergen put it, eventually, all of us running in this sport will have to face the day we retire our beloved partners.
With all that's happened to ol' Mikie, both phenomenally good and dreadfully bad, I will always be proud of what we accomplished together, as a team.
Best to you,
The BCCA 2000 National Specialty marked a 6
year anniversary of my agility career shared with Mikie. In looking
back, I wondered, "What draws me, and what keeps me in agility?"
The entire experience of being able to grow in an activity that
both Mikie and I thoroughly enjoy is the answer. The following
"top 10 list" allows a deeper look into the recesses
of this experience.
1. The essence of a personal best:
I am very competitive! Yet, I avoid competing
against my fellow competitors. In my earliest agility experience,
I made a commitment to a personal decision: This competitiveness
would be channeled by focusing on competing with myself. Aiming
to improve my handling each and every time we stepped into the
ring became priority No.1. Such improvement was often elusive
and met with either frustrating, hilarious, or mediocre results.
But, whether or not we beat so-in-so, or placed, was always second
to doing my best. Personally, that's aplenty on my plate.
2. Discovering the essence of true teamwork:
Agility is, after all, a team effort. Here's
my favorite analogy: The handler is the captain of his ship (dog)
and, as such, he carries the full responsibility to see his ship
make a successful voyage; his ship will run aground if his commands
are unclear; the ship will be aimlessly adrift if the captain
doesn't study the maps; the voyage will be in peril if the captain
doesn't know how to navigate (handle) his ship. The most exciting
journey awaits the captain who sets sail confidently prepared,
not, mind you, three sheets to the wind.
3. Time stands still:
For just a brief fleeting moment that we're
out running a course, I am secured in the freedom of escaping
troubles and worries, and I've aplenty of those.
4. A sublime bonding:
Agility is, for me, the unequaled opportunity
to be emotionally and spiritually connected to a Beardie who is
my picture of eagerness, joy, and grace.
5. The challenge of change:
Each course presents a new crop of possibilities
and variations. As such, they require new perspectives and adaptability,
all to help keep the brain rust at bay.
6. The commonality of community:
As a group of like-minded people, we participate
in a shared time and space experience unique to any other.
7. A rollercoaster of emotional diversity:
Countless variations on the theme of anxiety,
frustration, joy, excitement, disappointment, panic, hopefulness,
confusion, all are telling adjectives of the agility experience.
8. Learning the essence of forgiveness:
When a penalty is incurred whilst running a
course, the real fault usually lies with the two-legged team member.
Yet, I cannot begin to count the times, after I have made a unclear
signal or just plain mishandled, that my dog wagged his tail at
9. A defining moment of our limitations:
While it's important to know one's strengths,
the agility experience helps me to acknowledge and accept my limitations.
10. Agility helps sharpen my perspective of why I do agility in the first place:
See Nos 1 thru 9!
Off to a BAD Start
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