Five years ago this weekend, on March 13-14 2004, Jadzia and I had our debut weekend of flyball competition. We had adopted her almost a year previously, and discovered flyball six months before her first tournament. On top of that, we had brought a crazy little purebred border collie puppy boy into her life just three months before this tournament. We loaded up the Impala (this was just before we got the Subaru), and headed up to Cloverdale to attend the Kings "March Madness" tournament.
Jadzia was utterly terrified, but really wanted to make me happy as her owner, so she did her best. Even with six months of practice, we still couldn't put a harness on her due to her history of abuse, so I ran her with just a regular collar for this first weekend. Jadzia was worried by all the dogs, all the noises, and my own nervousness at running her in competition for the first time. Despite having a crate to herself (this was before we got an e-pen), she was so high-strung that she could only relax if she was curled up in my lap. Finally, to add even more stress to the mix, she was debuting as a savage height dog to bring the jump height down from 16" to 14" - not your typical debut plan. We had not practiced the concept of a rerun, so the first time she had to rerun due to a missed jump she was so scared she just flattened and peed on the mats from fright. I was so embarassed about that, as I knew that meant a forfeit, but Randy (the judge) came up to me and said "I can tell she's terrified and that was not a failure to potty your dog, so that will be a "no time" and not a "foul" on the race record." We cleaned up the mess and moved on with the day.
Jadzia ran with Scooter, Bear, Rudy, and Rainey, all running on 14" jumps in Division 2 on both days. We placed 6th on Saturday with a best time of 20.20, and 6th on Sunday with a best time of 20.38.
Jadzia earned her FD title in her first heat, her FDX title in her first race, her FDCh title in her first day, and her FDCh-S title in her first weekend. I know no other dog in JCJ has done that, I'm not aware of any dog in Region 7 that has managed it, and probably few dogs anywhere have that sort of debut weekend to their credit. Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, Jadzia rose to the occasion and was truly a rising star that began her ascension into flyball that day.
As of today, Jadzia has earned 34,247 points in NAFA competition and 3110 points in U-FLI competition. She was the first dog in JCJ history to earn the FMCh, ONYX, and FGDCh titles, with the last one earned at 30,000 points at our tournament last June. She has run in 47 total tournaments (44 NAFA and 3 UFLI) across Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Jadzia's personal best time is a 4.51 on 8" jumps, and she was part of the club record-setting team that ran a 19.54 on 14" jumps on May 31, 2008 - the lineup was Curzon, Jadzia, Zoey, and Skye.
More important than the ribbons on the wall and the letters after her name, however, is the confidence and accomplishment that Jadzia has earned for herself. Gone is the terrified little border collie who cowered at a discouraged word, gone is the dog who could not handle the level of crazy at a flyball tournament, gone is the dog who was too afraid to make a noise. Jadzia gleefully barks out her impatience in the flyball ring, sings in the morning when she wakes up, and growls to put the puppy or the terrier in line at home. She still skitters in fright upon occasion, and she'll never have the happy-go-lucky attitude of Curzon and Ezri - but the strides she has made are amazing nonetheless. We are blessed to have this little bordergirl in our lives, and I look forward to continuing to race with her for another five years or more.
Photo 1 is Jadzia running on March 13, 2004.
Photo 2 is Jadzia sitting with Joy, with Bill in the background, on March 14, 2004.