Maddie was the Q Queen. Not at first. We struggled when we first started Agility trials. We NQ'ed in every run at our first trial. We met some success at the next two, but when we got into Level 2, we NQ'ed a lot. There were some runs where she was distracted, sniffy, and just not interested in running. It took time to build our skills. I was new to handling in competition and sometimes she was more interested in hanging out than in the Agility itself.
But as the years went on and we got more experience, Maddie became a very solid Agility dog. As long as it wasn't too hot for her, she would pretty much qualify in almost every run. She rarely made mistakes on course and as long as I didn't get lost, we usually did well.
I dubbed her the Q Queen because I was almost always going to the drawers to pick up Q ribbons for her!
Of course, with Q's come titles, and Maddie and I collected more than a few of those.
And now, through the Dogs Can Dance Challenge, the Q Queen has one more - a Freestyle title!!
Maddie wasn't really a Freestyle dog. I started class with her when she was about 8 years old, just for fitness and fun. I figured that the day would come when she wouldn't be able to run Agility anymore and I thought that maybe she and I would do some Freestyle at that point. I do believe that Freestyle helped her to stay fit and be able to run Agility almost until the end.
Maddie enjoyed dancing. She had power and enthusiasm. Her tail thumped back and forth the whole time. She liked to move and spin and do leg weaves.
I tried putting together a routine for WCFO with her, and I entered her in exactly one competition in Sassy Seniors. She made it crystal clear at that competition that she was an Agility dog, thank you very much! I never tried to compete with her in Freestyle again after that!
But she did enjoy dancing for itself. She took part in a couple of Dogs Can Dance workshops with me, and had a very good time.
She also performed exactly one public demonstration. In February 2011, I took Maddie and Dean down to the fundraiser for canine cancer research at Kamp Kitty. She and Dean performed a brace routine that Maddie had never even attempted before. It was actually a routine that Speedy and Dean typically performed together.
It just so happened that a friend took a video of the performance.
The Dogs Can Dance Challenge began that summer and I made Maddie part of our team. I began working on a routine with her that I hope we would be able to video and enter as Beginner Classical Freestyle. She died before we could ever do that.
Afterward, I remembered the video of the demonstration. True, it was not made to meet the Challenge criteria. Even though food use is allowed in the Honor Class, it is supposed to be concealed in a pocket, not held in the hand. But that would be points deductions - I knew that if I submitted the video of the demo for Opening Act Entertainment Division, Maddie could at least earn a few points and be part of our Challenge team.
So, I submitted it for Giving Thanks 2011. We got 76 points, which was more than I had hoped for! Of course, we got nailed because of the food, which was perfectly fine with me. We didn't have a theme and the video quality is not the greatest in the world. Had I had the opportunity to make a video of Maddie for the Challenge, I never would have submitted this one.
Still, I am grateful that I happened to have the video to submit. It was a real-life entertainment event. It was Maddie's one and only public Freestyle performance. It was a great memory of a time with Maddie and Dean that I will always remember well.
I am proud to have it be part of our Challenge!
Over the summer I did a video of Tessa performing her Scorchio routine to finish off the category.
And with Speedy completing Feature Presentation in one fell swoop, my entire team of Speedy, Maddie, Dean Dog, and Tessa all contributed to our DCD-Ent!!!
This is something quite unique. I've never earned a title that all of my dogs who have studied a particular sport have been able to take part in.
And, of course, it's one more for the Q Queen!! Actually, two, because all of our DCD titles belong to the whole team!!
Maddie CTL1, CTL3-F, CTL3-R, CTL4-H, DCD-Ent, DCD-CF, CGC
When we finish our Championship, she will be part of that, too.
I am so grateful that the Challenge is allowing Maddie to always remain part of what we do. I can't have Tessa jump in and finish her CT-ATCH, but she will always be part of our Freestyle team! It is fitting. Even though she wasn't a "Freestyle Dog", per se, she was always part of it, and now she always will be.