2012 Americas Y Caribe – CHILE
Dog agility has taken me many many places I would NEVER have gone otherwise. Not that those places aren’t nice, but really, despite all my travelling, I’m not much of a traveller. I’m not interested much in museums, and once I’ve seen something for 10-15 minutes, I’ve usually had my fill. I do enjoy those 10-15 minutes, though 🙂 Despite having a bit of a short attention span when it comes to ‘normal’ sightseeing, I seem to be able to be at a dog agility event for hours upon hours, and if it’s an event with an international flavor, I never seem to get bored. Maybe it’s because every minute or so, something new is happening? I don’t know.
In any case, this past Tuesday, I packed up Juno and Solar for my second trip to South America. This was Juno’s maiden international voyage, and the second trip South for Solar and me. Chile is a little bit further South than Bogota, Colombia! It was a 5 hour trip from Seattle to Atlanta, and then another **10** hour trip to Santiago, Chile. That’s about the same as a flight to Europe! Oscar, Karen, and I met up in Seattle, and arrived with no problem. We had a 5 hour layover, so we got the dogs out of cargo, and pottied them in the Atlanta airport’s off leash “park” (read: patch of grass that’s WAY better than any other airport patch of grass). Then, we met up with Linda, who had Wonder (a Solar littermate) and Scopey (a Juno littermate), and proceeded to head down to Santiago.
It was a loooong flight with no wifi, and grumpy flight attendants, one of whom had some REALLY long fingernails (REAL ones, not acrylic, it was kind of creepy, not all ten fingernails were long like that). We got to Santiago around 8:30 or 9am Tuesday, and were met by a really nice bus driver who even had a sign! I’ve always wanted to be met at an airport by somebody with a sign, sounds silly, but it was really neat.
Our bus was pretty cool, most of the seats were taken out, so we didn’t have to worry about crate space. The Colombian team and the USA team rented buses from the same company, and the bus drivers got to stay at the event all day every day; I think they rather enjoyed it. We got to our hotel in Renaca, about an our from Santiago, unloaded all our stuff, left the dogs in the rooms to decompress, and then headed to the beach, just a couple blocks away.
The beach was gorgeous. Just stunning. HUGE waves, fresh air, sunshine, it was really amazing. And loose dogs everywhere. I’m not sure they counted as strays, I get the feeling some of them were ‘pets’ that were just left to live their own lives during the workday or something. But they were everywhere, and watching them have their own social interactions was really fascinating. Several times, I saw a dog waiting to cross a busy street, waiting until a group of people clustered at the crosswalk, and then joining up with that group of people to cross with them. Oddly, there was virtually NO dog poop anywhere.
Chile was expensive. Just about as expensive as France or Germany. 1000 Chilean Pesos was about 2$, and a bottle of water, for example, cost 1500-2000 Chilean Pesos. I think I liked the food better in Colombia, although maybe I never got to see the best that Chile offered. I did try a Pisco Sour, and that was good, and I bought a bottle of Pisco brandy (which David will enjoy, if it’s not shattered in Oscar’s suitcase), but other than that, since I was trying to at least maintain my current level of health, if not improve it, I didn’t really splurge on food much. Plus, did I mention it was expensive?
One of our first orders of business was to buy dog food. Luckily, there was a pet store just around the corner from our hotel. Everybody visiting was in the same boat; nobody could bring dog food in from outside the country. And of course nobody wanted to lug their food back to their home countries, so I imagine those street dogs (most of whom already looked pretty well fed) got some nice dog food out of the event.
Wednesday, we all relaxed, mostly. In the morning, we headed out for a walk with all the dogs – I’m not sure what we were thinking, between all our intact males, and Oscar’s dog, who JUST came in to heat the day before we left, every street dog around was interested in our party. One in particular walked with us for quite some time. He figured out if he stayed a particular distance from us, we didn’t mind. Those street dogs, they really were something. All very friendly, dozing in the sun, getting petted by everybody, getting FOOD from everybody – how silly are we to think we are all such great dog trainers, when really, they would all figure out how to coexist with us just fine – crossing streets and everything. It was really such a strange instance of two parallel cultures, human and canine.
Anyway, so that was the only walking the dogs did with us on the beach.
Thursday, we headed to the event site nice and early, so we could set up our crates and decorate our team
room closet. Then, it was the vet check, and training. After that, a Grade 1 competition for those not yet qualified for the event to have one last shot, and then, opening ceremonies!
Friday started with Open Individual JWW. I wasn’t quite quick enough to believe that Solar was on the correct side of a jump, and we earned a refusal on what was an otherwise really nice run, with still a very nice time. I’m working hard to improve my JWW frame of mind this year, and it really showed all weekend – we did GREAT on the JWW courses.
Juno had a nice run as well, not terribly fast, but she was game to try.
Things are already becoming a blur to me, so I guess I’ll just post the rest of my videos as a playlist, for your enjoyment. Overall, Solar and I had some really good results:
- Open Agility Individual, 1st Place
- Open Individual Combined, 8th Place
- AC Jumpers Individual, 1st Place
- AC Agility Individual, 1st Place
- AC Individual Gold Medal
- AC Team Jumping, 2nd Place
- AC Team Bronze Medal
- Fastest time in AC Grand Americas Agility (missed up on the dogwalk)
And Juno didn’t do too bad either:
- Open Agility Individual, 5th Place
- Open Individual Combined, 5th Place
- AC Team Agility, 7th Place
- AC Team Jumpers, 9th Place
- AC Team Bronze Medal
It was once again a lot of fun, the people are great, the courses are challenging, my teammates were a lot of fun and I’m proud to have participated in the event. Looking forward to ARGENTINA next year! Congrats to Linda for her great showing with Wonder and Scopey, and to Karen and Graham as well – Karen and Graham got a bronze medal in a team event, and Graham got a bronze medal in an individual event!