A Year in Review 2020: When Life Gives You Lemons Edition

Updated: Jan 3

A hike with a gorgeous view during qurantine

Everyone knows that 2020 has been a disaster of a year. There have been some bright spots: yay Biden! And some personal difficulties: the van we bought had a whole lot of issues the seller hid from us. Leaving my old training center was extremely hard. And, of course, the perpetual difficulty that is COVID. I'd taken January and February off to focus on raising Amalu, and then in March everything shutdown, so timing was bad. The dogs were plenty happy to hike 20-30 miles a week on deserted trails during the heart of quarantine however.

I had a whole lot of goals for this year. For Anubi and Amidi my big goal was to debut them in flyball and LGRA straight racing. For Anu, I also wanted to put an agility title on him, finish his Scentwork Novice (and Novice Exterior) title, and go for his Rally Excellent and Rally Master titles. For Ami I also wanted to debut her in agility, get her Rally Intermediate, get her Senior Courser, and finish her Scentwork Container Novice title. For Amalu I ideally wanted to earn her SPOT (the UKC version of the Canine Good Citizen test) and get her qualified to course in ASFA and race in LGRA if I could. For Ash I wanted to debut him in LGRA and get his Senior Courser title.

At the end of the year my dogs ended up earning the following:

Argos - Trick Dog Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced, and flyball foundations, a new home where his absolutely thriving.

Ash - Senior Courser, Trick Dog Novice(!), Junior Straight Racer, Best in Field, Virtual Home Manners, first AKC point, first LGRA point, and two-thirds of the way to his ASFA FCh, and #7 ASFA Saluki!

Anubi- UKC Championship, Junior Straight Racer, Senior Straight Racer, Gazehound Racing Champion, Agility Course Test 1, Agility Course Test 2 videos submitted, Trick Dog Performer, Virtual Home Manners, legs toward his Master Courser, one Q away from Regular and Jumpers Novice NADAC titles, points toward his AKC FC, halfway to his ASFA FCh, #1 UKC and LGRA Azawakh, #3 ASFA & AKC LC Azawakh.

Amidi- inches away from finishing her UKC CH, Junior Straight Racer, Senior Courser, Agility Course Test 1, Rally Intermediate videos submitted, Trick Dog Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Performer, Virtual Home Manners, Best in Field, points toward her AKC FC, points toward her LGRA GRC, halfway to her ASFA FCh, #1 AKC LC Azawakh, #2 ASFA & LGRA Azawakh, #3 UKC, ASFA Azawakh, finished her health testing

Amalu- UKC CH as of this evening!, Junior Straight Racer, SPOT, Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced Trick Dog, ASFA coursing certification. #2 UKC Azawakh, #3 LGRA Azawakh, #5 ASFA Azawakh, started her health testing, AKC registration!

Wow, in some departments we've blown my goals out of the water and in others we never even made it to a trial. With COVID, the number of events that could be safely held was limited in scope. This meant sighthound running sports such as lure coursing and racing where you had very limited close contact were primarily the events we attended this year.

Anubi's biggest love: racing

So, not only was I able to debut my dogs in LGRA this year. Anubi actually earned his Gazehound Racing Championship, the first Azawkah to do so in over a decade, and all three of the other dogs earned points toward their GRC. We only made it to three AKC lure coursing weekends this year, substantially fewer than normal, but we got to help finish up Ami's half-sister's Field Championship for AKC, which was pretty special and both Anu and Ami picked up points toward their FC.

Ash and Amidi's Best in Field picture

What was not really planned at all was the number of times that we coursed in ASFA (American Sighthound Field Association) this year. Last year there were very few ASFA trials in the region and I was looking at traveling out of region to get Amalu certified in September. However, with the dearth of dog events, there were actually substantial number of ASFA trials hosted in the region this year and my dogs made huge progress toward their ASFA FCh and Ash and Ami even earned Best in Fields!

20+ miles and 3 runs later, Anubi trotting back to me

One of the absolute highlights of the year was meeting up with a friend to try Open Field Coursing for the first time. To my knowledge, we're the first Azawakh to try Open Field Coursing in over a decade and our dogs loved it and took to it with instinct honed for thousands of years. The wide opening terrain of the West. Falling in a badger hole (which get HUGE by the way). Walking 23 miles in two days (yes, my Fitbit did break after that). Seeing my dogs get to run in that beautiful terrain and test themselves in a far more natural way than lure coursing was spine tingling. We will most definitely be back next year.

No Scentwork unfortunately. There were a few trials, but nothing we could make it too, so we'll be finishing up those titles next year instead. We took full advantage of the virtual title submissions that were available this year, which is the only way Ami was able to earn her Rally Intermediate title. And Anu and Ami even managed to get the Agility Course Test titles, which I had never been planning on because those are never options offered in my area at trials.