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Poor Old Blaze

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The next chapter...

Blaze before agility (2004)

You may remember Blaze, a large black and white Papillon (aka Fat Boy Slim) who was featured on Agilitynet a few years ago. He had  been rescued twice. In his first home, he was kept in a cage while in his second, he was cooped up in a flat. He'd had no training, precious little exercise and when he was rescued the second time by Denise Welsh, he was very dangerously overweight. Enter Richard and Sheila Partridge.

When we got him he was four years old with the attitude of a grumpy old git, but with that background who could blame him?  As we are an Agility family, it seemed logical to introduce to the sport. Apart from anything else it gave us a way to measure his fitness.  At the same time. it was a form of training where we could monitor his progress, mentally as well as physically. 

Sheila usually runs him. She has another Pap, Smokey who took to Agility like a duck to water. Keeping up the poultry analogy, Blaze took to Agility like a turkey takes to Christmas! To make matters worse in Blazeís eyes, Smokey has won out to Grade 3, dragging the reluctant Blaze with him.

 This is the tale of Blazeís triumphant run at C-Side recently.

Sheila and Blaze stepped up to the line. The trumpets trumpeted. The tannoy blared 'the next competitors are Sheila and Blaze.  An expectant hush fell over the crowd. 

Sheila gave Blaze a firm 'sit and stay.'

Blaze sat.

Sheila marched confidently to her mark to make a good recall. She turned and called 'come on, Blaze.'

Blaze looked!

In a higher pitch and with a little more enthusiasm, Sheila tried again, 'Come on, Blazeee!' 

Blaze rose to his feet and started forward to the first jump which he peered over. Imagine if you will a horse looking over a stable door and  you will have the picture.  

Sheila shouted and jumped up and down a bit and eventually our lad hauled himself over the jump. He was on his way!  He cantered for want of a better word over a few jumps and then, suddenly, lurched into full flight.  He passed Sheila, galloped into a tunnel and completely ignored the weaves on the way out.  With a screeching of brakes and a flurry of sand he was called back and at the second attempt completed the weaves correctly.  He then lurched back into turbo boost and hurtled round the course.

But... isnít there always a but... in his fervour he then took off too early for a jump. Disaster! He hit the pole with his front legs when he was on his way down, and at that angle the pole stayed in place. Our hero bit the dust, literally. His little legs were tucked up under him and he landed on his nose. Ouch!

Sheila rushed over. The judge rushed over. The crown stood shocked. Blaze lay still.

'Poor Blaze,' the crowd cried. 'Is he injured?' 

Blazey bravely attempted to stand. He took a tentative step. The pain was clear to see. He limped.

'Poor little thing has hurt himself.' declared the judge, with great sympathy.

'Yes,' agreed Sheila. 'I will take him out.' She gently led the ailing Blaze to the finish line. Poor old Blaze, with head and tail down and an anguished look on his face he bravely followed.

As soon as the clock was stopped, the tail came up, the head came up and the limp disappeared, and Blaze was jumping around looking for his reward. The little s*d had done it again!

Postscript: Blaze piddled in the ring at Just Minis!

About the authors...
Richard and Sheila Partridge came into Agility about six years ago quite willingly. Their rescue Papillon responded to various movements and commands, and on investigating learned that he had been trained for Agility.  Deciding that they needed more exercise and that the dog enjoyed the activity they joined Just Minis.

It was not too long before they discovered that they might have made a grave mistake! The car was exchanged for a van. Their two dogs increased to five. The front garden gates were removed to allow for the caravan to come and go, and the families complained that they never saw them at weekends. Hey ho, have we hear this before?

Bandit, the original dog, is now 13 and retired this year, but Richard has a full time job training and controlling Murphy, the original Irish Twerphound.  Somehow they have won through to Grade 2.  Sheila has Smokey, a Papillon, and together they have reached Grade 3. She also runs (or is run by) Blaze.

Both Sheila and Richard are keen supporters of IMCA and PAWC. They both went to Holland in 2006, Richard went with a small team to Italy this year.

First published December 08