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RRD Tales:  The Adventures Of Gwinn-Dell's Don Quixote

Quixote has provided me with many funny stories.  I call them RRD Tales (Rotten Rubber Dog) and have written a series about the fun of running Xolos in agility.  Here is a sampling!

RRD Tales:  Quixote's View

Quixote here!  We got to play agility this weekend!  Crammed into the Trooper and pulling the little tin can with the giant air conditioner hat on top, we headed to the fairgrounds in Corvallis.  The big house on wheels is still being fixed. Five of us dogs went; we 3 RRDs, the Chugster, and Dad's BC, Laddie, as 20 week old Dublin puppy is over 90 pounds and just doesn't fit in a Golden Retriever crate any more. Since there was no room for a bigger crate, Dublin stayed home with Grandma and the rest of the Gwinn-Dell Gang. 

I, Quixote, started the trip by getting asthma right as we were load'n to leave.  I got rushed in to see the vet.  As it was an emergency visit, we saw a different vet. The vet asked if I was always so good and Mom said "Yes, unless he's behind a gate."  We had to stay outside the office cuz we didn't know if I was contagious, but I'm not, just allergic.  When the vet brought out my medicine I was in my crate so I helped by growling and barking to show that Mom was tell'n the truth!  See they sprayed the field across from us wiff rott'n smell'n stuff and I started coughing and my eyes kept watering.  The air smelled terrible from the spray.    

Back to the trial!  I really wanted to play agility so Mom decided since the medicine stopped my asthma I could.  Our first class was Snookers.  It's a game of strategy and Mom planned it really well.  It was our first time in this class. I was soooooo good!  I did exactly what I was told and then on the last obstacle, the teeter, the judge moved at me!  I gave her a scared look and jumped off.  I started coughing and Mom picked me up and walked off the course.  The judge had told everyone NOT to carry a dog off, but I was choking so Mom had to explain and then it was okay.  The judge kicked another lady out of the trial for leaving the course.  She said it was okay for Mom to carry me cuz I was cough'n from the dust. 

In the Regular Novice Course, I was fine, but I messed up the weaves poles and had to do them again.  It was Mom's fault.  She's always writt'n the RRD tales and tell'n how bad I am, but she's the one who messed things up this weekend -- well mosly!  She pulled away toward the next obstacle and so I followed.  Then she turned wrong and pointed me to the A Frame so I followed where she was facing instead of the tunnel.  See!  I'm not the one who goofed!  Then we had this really long and heavy chute thing and Mom ran way ahead of me, so I backed out.  It's her fault, not mine!  Of course I was able to use the Xolo finger to prove I was feel'n better.  She told me to "Wait" and headed into position and as she turned, I flew past her.  I tested her skills!  She was able to get me over the 3rd jump (I'd just done 2, all on my own) and into the tunnel. I did a perfect teeter (no wigglin judge) but I stopped on top of the A Frame, looked down at Mom, and then leaped and missed the contact!  Then I went to the mesa and lay down like I was told and raised my elbow, just a little bit on the last second.  That started the count over. If'n I'd been a hairy dog the judge would never have seen this.  Dang, Nekked Dog Discrimination!  

Then came Gamblers.  I tried really hard and got lotsa opening points, but that was a bad gamble.  Here's how Mom told one of the lists:  "The gamble section was a handling nightmare.  Out of 55 dogs, including advanced level dogs, only two dogs passed.  For the gamble section, the dogs had  to go over a jump, run into a tunnel, and from 10 feet away be pushed into a second tunnel, come back over a jump to the handler and then be sent out to a table, all while the handler stood 10 feet away behind a line.  Baalche took the jump, flew into the tunnel, ran to the 2nd tunnel as told and started to go in.  The crowd cheered, and being a baby dog to agility, he pulled out.   He was so close to qualifying though!  He got all his necessary points in the opening sequence. Quixote placed 2nd in this class (he was able to run more obstacles and get more points, but couldn't do the gamble either) and Baalche placed 3rd.  Neither qualified, but both ran very well." 

I had to watch Baalche do well.  He's really, really fast and he's start'n to listen.  Everyone thinks he's so cute and he thinks so too.  He gets on Mom's lap and growls at me, the little monster.  Now his ego's gonna be even bigger than his mouth! 

Laddie, our Border Collie bro, did a good job too.  He even did the teeter!  He's been so scared of it and he did it.  He couldn't do that gamble, so he didn't Q.  In Jumpers, Dad messed up, so he didn't make time.  (And you thought agility was all glory.) 

In Jumpers, Baalche and I were awesome.  We listened and did everything perfectly.  The dumb blonde handl'n us named "Mom" ran us through the wrong course!   We did 'zactly what she told us to do and took wrong jumps cuz she forgot a whole section of the course --  twice!   

I'm a bit worried as RRD #2, the Balch-A-Roo, is look'n pretty good and that obnoxious Quetzal puppy is starting train'n too.  The audience loves us Nekked Dogs and they all gather to watch.  Ebbrybody knows my name and people walk around try'n to pronounce "Show low eats queent lee."  Mom's new Xologear sweater shirt is help'n by teach'n 'em to say our breed. We also have pins that we wear on our coats.  People walk 'round practic'n.  It's like a chant.  Then they show us to their friends and look sooooo proud when they tell their friends our breed.  We luv bee'n ambassadors cuz we get lotsa scruffles.  One man asked about me so I jumped up on his lap before he could do anything.  He had a comfy blanket and I sat on his lap and pawed his hand every time he quit pett'n me.  I let him know that *I,* Quixote, control things. 

Our Sheltie friend, Aunt Traci, added another spinning yapper, named Slick.  Why duz a hairy dog have a name like Slick and lotsa Nekked Dogs have names like Hairy? She says she's try'n to keep even with us RRDs, so now she has 3 Shelties -- theyz noisier than macaws, but really cute and fun to play wiff.  Baalche did a little Sheltie imitation and barked going up the dog walk.  The Shelties taught him well. 

So that's our weekend!  Tune in inna couple of weeks for the next RRD Tales agility weekend report.

- Quixote, Baalche, Quetzal

& the rest of the Gwinn-Dell Gang 


RRD Tales "He's Back!"

Quixote's back to his bratty self.  He was a terror at class last night, running laps and ignoring my demands as we attempted to conquer our instructor's course. LOL.  He was a Rotten Rubber Dog in zoom and ignore mode.  Everyone was laughing as he was so funny!  He'd leap off a contact zone; I'd tell him "Touch" and he'd throw his butt up in the air, balancing on his front legs, back up, touch, escape, and zoom through a tunnel and then add a few jumps, tuck his butt in zoom mode, and repeat the antics.   

When we got home, the Rotten really came out in him. Quixote escaped when I let him out for his last outing for the night.  He hit the barrier that directs him to the potty run and Baalche zoomed after him.  Now, 2 black Nekked dogs, running rampant in total darkness, are my worst nightmare. Neither has a speck of light reflective white. Thank goodness Quetzal, the totally impossible to catch if he hits escape mode, had followed old Chug into the pen and I was able to slam the prison gate behind him in time. 

As I stood there in bare feet, (real smart - NOT) I heard 12 Xolo hooves tearing turf and roaring past, along with the telltale sound of Xolo screeching and knew they were in hot pursuit of some furry victim. 

I screamed COME!  Prey drive overcame compliance, not that compliance is in their vocabulary. They zoomed by, hot after a rabbit.  I ran in to get shoes on and heard them fly past again.  We have few lights in our acre plus yard and the rabbits have tunneled under the fence, creating freeways of escape.  Our compound has buildings and since the house and they are in the middle of the area, one has no clear view of the whole area.  Thus as I ran to the front, Xolos streaked to the back, behind buildings and around corners.  At night, the whole yard is saturated with rabbits.  Panting I ran to the back and one passed me, leaving the only lit area. It headed to the front, screeching Xolos grabbing for the cotton ball tail.  I was panicked that the Mexican Monsters would dive under the fence.  Actually, there are few places where a Xolo could escape, but in my panicked mind, I just KNEW the rabbits had dug tunnels over the winter large enough for a Wolfhound to walk through. I kept calling; the Bald Brats kept ignoring.  I could occasionally get a sound update as they looped around the area.  My demands to come became commands to run faster in their bratty brain mode.  I rather imagine my tone added to their desire for flight!   


"Ball- Chay! SIT!"


"DOWN!" I shouted in desperation as Xolos continued their laps.   Luckily we live in the country, because "$$**$%#%# I'm going to KILL you" is not real neighbor friendly and the air was probably blue with my oaths at this point. 

Using my stressed to the max dog training skills, I got down low; I coaxed; I did the run away to create interest; I called "Cookie."  Xolos screamed by like torpedoes.  Occasionally I was updated as to their location by the sounds of their high pitched hunting yell as they sent rabbits hither and skither.  Suddenly I heard the telltale sound of screaming rabbit coming from the agility field.  As I rushed to see if I could catch the perpetrator and save the victim, I heard more rabbit screams coming from the front, meaning my mini Sighthounds had separated.  Quixote zoomed past again and I yelled SIT! He paused and did, so I had to praise him!  Dang it hurts to follow my own training rules!  Putting him in the run, I heard nothing as I tried to find Baalche.  I screamed for Don to help, grabbed a flashlight and began to search.  Finally a slinking little Rubber brat came out from under the deck. I scooped him up, thankful that he had not followed a fleeing rabbit under the fence.  Today, I'll look for rabbit carnage and install another clip on the "Xolo be good barrier." 

PS.  My Wolfhounds slept through the whole adventure!   

Poor Laura, one of my Wolfhound friends, had the misfortune to be online when I came in from the RRD chase and got an Instant Message "earful" as I saw her online right after catching him. Thanks for listening Laura!  BTW, Quixote's cut foot was just a scrape and my nerves have settled. 

Both Xolos slept on Don's side of our bed last night as THEY were mad at ME. In retrospect, if I were a Rotten little Rubber Dog, coming to an hysterical, p*ssed, mad woman probably would have triggered my avoidance mechanisms! 

Gwinn-Dell Irish Wolfhounds and Xoloitzcuintli


Update!  All rabbits appear to be fine; thus they can continue to eat anything green, save me from any attempt at having a garden and pretty flowers, and continue to add more to the current over population.  When I went out this morning the usual hopping crew was annihilating greenery, I saw no carnage, and all appeared well.  I did see, to my horror, that the gate up to the barn was open (I had left it open to unload feed and not closed it or I would have really panicked). My little RRD darlings could have headed off and been in real danger as the pasture fencing is not RRD proof.

Barbara, breathing a sigh of relief


RRD Tales:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Part 1 of 3 

With many hopes and much excitement we got ready for several weekends of agility trials.   

In June 2005 at Argus Ranch in Washington:

Quixote was wonderful and well –- a little monster.  Lining up for the first run I commanded “STAY!”  As I told him “Climb It,” the fleeing Bald Brat gathered speed and launched over the yellow contact zone for flunk #1.  Adding a few extra jumps and more missed contacts, he zoomed over the finish line in record time.  I calmly left thinking of how I might add Xolo to the menu for the evening potluck.   

We walked round 2 and I planned my strategy – - even to the point of where I would correct.  I decided to use this next run for training, in hopes of saving the rest of the weekend.  I figured jump, dog walk, and then a repeat of the dog walk, if Quixote blew the contact.  I was pretty sure he’d give me another reason for correction.  Carefully I practiced where I’d call him off.  Our turn came.  With confidence I lined up, knowing where I’d surprise my little partner.   

“STAY!”  I stepped forward and headed to the dog walk.  “Jump!” Quixote flew into action, soared over the jump, ran up the dog walk, and as predicted, launched upward and outward, missing the yellow zone and heading for the jump in the corner, a big grin on his face and ears in his defiant mode position. 

“NO! Come!  HERE!” I commanded.  Sliding to a surprised stop, he turned.  “HEEL!”  Surprise showing in his face, the little RRD fell into heel position, back arched, he headed with me back toward the start.  The judge signaled a flunk, but NADAC allows us to train.  As we approached the dog walk again, suddenly Quixote dove away and into the tunnel.  “SH*T!!!!! Foiled again!  His little face peeked out as I told him to come.  I moved forward; he embedded.  Great! Sewer Rat!  I knew I was dipped.  I began to call sweetly.  “Come on Qyote. Goooooood Boy.  That’s my goooood boy.”  He didn’t buy it.  He knew I was not happy.  I could hear people laughing.  This was my dread.  If Quixote thinks he’s in trouble he becomes a sewer rat and coaxing does not get him to leave his sanctuary.  I could feel the stress well up inside me.  Everyone always has such great advice.  Just use the class for training when he screws up.  Well, they are dealing with regular dogs, not Xolos!  I remembered the time we had to tear down a tunnel, compress it and shake him out.  I moved toward the tunnel exit.  Quixote borrowed in further.  Picturing having to crawl in myself I began to beg.  Quixote peeked out and retreated.  No longer smiling, the judge motioned us to get moving.  I pictured the laughter from the audience if *I* had to crawl through the tunnel and also pictured paying the consequences the rest of the weekend for angering the judge as we tore down her course.  I turned and began to run and it worked.  Quixote popped out and the audience was spared the sight of my fat butt trying to crawl into the tunnel.  We headed for the rest of the course.  Quixote blew the teeter contact so I tried to make him repeat it.  He skittered past me and up the wrong side and the judge signaled me to leave.  Now, I had a Xolo crawling up the wrong side of the teeter.  He was heading for the top to bail as he had spotted his sewer rat sanctuary.  His intentions were clear.  My foot was holding the teeter down to keep him from being catapulted and I  stretched as far as possible in an attempt to catch him. To make it worse, I was  attempting to catch a fleeing dog with no hair to grab and still keep my balance.   Finally, I got him.  Boy did he look surprised when I carried him off the course! 

The rest of the weekend was great.  Quixote got lots of Qs, many placements and added to his titles.  He also reminded me that Xolos rule unless owners are on their guard.

The good:  Ladd and Quixote did well

The bad: RRDism prevailed on several runs

The ugly:  the image of me having to crawl through a tunnel

 RRD Tales:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Part 2 of 3

Cataldo, Idaho: 

Excitedly I looked forward to the trip to headquarters of NADAC, the agility venue in which Don and I compete most often. The courses are fast and flowing, perfect for my Xolos.  We looked forward to our four trials as we prepared to leave.  To complicate matters Dublin, 144 pounds of 8 month-old Wolfhound puppy, was an unexpected addition since he broke his toe and had to accompany us to Cataldo, Idaho – - the agility Mecca.  That meant stuffing a 700 crate into the motorhome – - without tearing the leather couches and then finding a place to fit it; few places existed so between the couches was the only choice.  Every time Don wanted me to fix him a snack, get him a drink, check what had fallen, I had to climb up, balance on top of the crate and then walk on the couch -- real fun while going around sharp mountain curves.  Letting the other dogs out at rest stops proved challenging too.  The Xolos immediately learned to leap on the couch and over; so did Laddie; but old Chug had to be carried while one of us balanced.  

Cataldo, a gas station and an agility field, surrounded by pop up tents, was our homesite for the next few days.  A beautiful creek flows though the field and horses and ducks are the local residents.  The atmosphere is calm and relaxed. 

With both Quixote and Baalche entered, I had 28 runs in 4 days; Don and Laddie had 20.   

Baalche took over the RRD title!  He had a blast!  He flew around the ring, but focusing him toward the correct obstacles proved challenging, and at times impossible.  One of the owners left a crucial gate open and as Baalche launched 3 jumps ahead of me toward the finish line, he was out the gate.  The owner lives in a big bus and that is HER area.  We had been told NOT to venture there.  Her Border Collies live there too.  Not knowing if the BCs were out or if the fence kept the dogs from the highway, I was panicked.  As I ran around the corner I saw Baalche sniffing a blanket.  I yelled for him to sit and luckily he complied.  The owner was not happy with me when I asked permission to close the gate before the next run.   We squeaked a Q in Tunnelers but most of B’s runs were used for training.  He’s a baby dog and my goal was to get practice.  We needed lots!  One Jumpers course was super.  I was able to steer him from behind and direct.  He’s so dang fast!  In the last Jumpers class I left him but before I could turn to release him, Baalche was over the 3rd jump and past the tunnel.   

The Border Collies that live at the site, climb on top of their dog house and peer over the 6 foot fence.  Quixote was on top of the A Frame when suddenly 2 BCs chose to observe.  Qyote froze and stared in disbelief that there were 2 dog heads in the air, as that’s all one saw.  It was not a pretty run.  He missed jumps, ran around tunnels and sniffed out Border Collies. 

Laddie, Don’s BC, was awesome!  Eleven of his classes required proficiency on the teeter totter.  This was his first venture into Novice Regular and Touch and Go, both classes with a focus on contact equipment and that includes the dreaded teeter.  Don has spent 3 years, inch by literally inch, in trying to build Laddie’s confidence.  The teeter freaks Ladd.  When he does get on the teeter monster, he bails.  It terrifies him.  This weekend things clicked!  Laddie not only did all 11 teeters, he Q’d and earned his Novice title and consistently placed.  His classes had 14 – 20 dogs and he took first place several times. 

Quixote had some RRD moments, but came home with 13 Qs and many placements.  He and I clicked and he had some awesome runs. 

Cataldo was fun.  We came home with lots of titles, good memories, and plans to return. 

Animals at home did fine thanks to my wonderful vet tech, Laura, who cares for them while we are gone.  On the 4th of July, Pompass (you got it, one of the asses –- er --donkeys) had to have surgery to put his head back together.  When Laura arrived blood was gushing into his eye.  He’d slit his head and bone gleamed through.  As we had no phone service in Cataldo (remember, the owner lives in a bus, even though it’s a nice bus  . . .) Laura made the decision and called our vet and Pompass was stitched.  The gash just missed his eye.

We got home safely, in spite of horrid winds which rocked the motorhome the entire 10 hour trip. 

We had a great trip!

The good: 

Laddie was awesome and finished several titles.  He overcame his fear of teeters.  Quixote had some fantastic runs and left with 13 Qs and we were a team.

The bad:  Baalche terrified me when he headed for the highway.

The ugly:  The headwinds were unbelievable and made the trip home very tiring!

  RRD Tales:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Part 3 of 3 

The beach, Newport Oregon, this past weekend: 

As we parked the motorhome and stepped out, the Oregon skies opened up and attempted to drown us.  Slogging through saturated grass, we put up a shelter and covered it with tarps.  I loaded RRD crates onto our cart and surrounded them with a plastic tarp.  The coastal winds tried to claim the tarp as we headed toward our pop-up canope.  Welcome to the Oregon coast! 

Quixote was in the first Touch and Go class and needed this leg to earn his Touch and Go Superior title. Laddie was in TNG too.  Quixote and Baalche also had Tunnelers and the rains continued to increase.  Dogs dripping with hair were now dripping with water.  People were shivering and complaining and their dogs have hair!  I knew the Xolos would hate this;  after all, shoving them outside for a minute to pee, in the winter, takes major convincing.  I contemplated pulling them. 

TNG is a class filled with contacts.  Quixote excels in “GO,” but “Touch” is often non-existent.  We approached the line and the sky sponges accelerated; the downpour increased.  Shivering Nekked Dog cringed on the line as water flowed into his squinted eyes.  His bald pate offers nothing to stop the flow.  I leaped forward toward the first obstacle and called “Okay, Jump! Climb it! Touch!”  Qyote stuck the contact, paused, and waited for direction.  We flew through the labyrinth of obstacles in 35.89 seconds and took first!  He had 57.26 seconds allowed for the course and more than beat the required time.  That completed his TNG Superior title!    

Tunnelers came and the rains increased.  Baalche was first.  He shivered on the start line and burst into the water- logged tunnel, zooming to the exit.  Poking his nose out, he retreated back in.  “Go tunnel!” I called and he slogged into the 2nd, again poking his nose out the end.  This time he retreated back in –- way back in.  I called; he slithered in farther.  I coaxed; his nose poked out and retreated.  I called again and snagged him and carried him off, deciding to cut my losses while I could catch him.   

They say that if one doesn’t like Oregon weather, wait 5 minutes.  Morning dawned and the sun rose.  The grass, still saturated, proved challenging though.  Quixote’s first run started with a blown contact, a loop though a tunnel set there as a temptation, a skid on his side, after negotiating the teeter, 2 jumps on his own, and an angry handler.  As the RRD grinned and zoomed past I yelled “NO!”  “SIT!”  It was enough to make him pause.  I scooped him up, called out to the judge “thank you” and told my dejected brat “If you can’t behave; you can’t play!”  He looked shocked and then crestfallen as his crate door closed behind him and I left with Brady, my Golden. 

Brady! OMG, was he a disaster!  Guess he’s heard that Golden Retrievers are blond!  His first trial in a year and he had a blast.  He leaped, he bounced, he barked, he flunked  -- all 4 runs!  I think he holds the record for knocking down jumps!  They practically had to rebuild the course.  Brady aimed and in good Golden fashion, plowed, sending poles in all directions.  In Tunnelers, Brady banked the tunnel, fell in the water that filled the tunnel floor, and slid out sideways.  On his last run he managed to grab a chunk of turf and gallop around the ring, flinging it and catching it while plowing down jumps.  My goal in entering him was for him to have fun.  Goal accomplished!  (Good thing I didn’t set a higher goal!)


 Brady getting ready to crash!


Laddie had a brilliant run in Novice regular.  Dogs were having a horrid time with the teeter, his nemesis, because of the heavy rubber matting on it.  Many of the little guys didn’t have enough weight to make it drop.  The big fast dogs did fly offs.  Laddie was awesome.  He clung on and rode it down.

Two more obstacles to go and the run was awesome.  Don stepped in pointing to the dog walk.  The slick grass got its victim.  Watching outside the ring with Brady, I saw Don’s feet fly above the dog walk as he became airborne.  One could hear the thud as his back and head pounded the ground.  Ladd froze, the judge rushed over, and Don lay there.  The fall knocked him out for an instant.  Yelling “down-stay” to Brady.  I jumped the ring barrier.  Don was staggering up and I rushed to grab Laddie.  Don was fine but embarrassed and disappointed.  People commented on what a good wife I am to rush to the dog. 

Baalche, the baby dog in agility, is unbelievably fast -- even faster than Quixote -- and Quixote is beating Border Collies as far as time.  You can imagine how fast a small dog has to be in order to make faster time than a big long-strided dog.  Quixote does!  Once Baalch gets focus, and boy does he lack that, LOL, few dogs will be able to touch him as far as time.   

Baalche had 2 absolutely amazing runs!  He stuck his contacts like a pro.  He nailed the weave pole entry and flew through the weave poles.  In Jumpers, he was awesome.  Driving out ahead, he flew over the jumps, turned like a seasoned cutting horse, switched leads to make difficult turns.  He was fantastic in both of his last 2 runs – except . . . . 

If I am late on commands or slow to turn, Baalche leaps up and nips – loudly growling and announcing his displeasure.  As I tried to redirect him on a jump entry, Baalche began to leap, bite me on the butt, tug on my jeans, and voice his frustration.  Even air biting is frowned upon, so the judge was not happy and he got an “E” (elimination) for his efforts.  In Jumpers, with 3 jumps to go, I propelled forward, holding my arm out to direct.  Baalche leaped up, latched onto my sweatshirt sleeve, and swung like a mini Pit!  So much for Qs!  

Quixote came through, completing many titles.  His good runs were wonderful and he won lots of firsts.  This weekend finished 5 of his 6 Novice Superior titles (it takes 100 points in each) so he now has 20 agility titles, in addition to his CGC.  Quixote, the Walla Walla death row rescue, proudly carries his wins.  He is now

Gwinn-Dell’s Don Quixote CGC. TG1. NAC. O-NAC. S-NAC. NJC. O-NJC. S-NJC. NGC. O-NGC. S-NGC. TN-N. O-TN-N.  S-TN-N. TGN. O-TGN. S-TGN. OJC. RS-N; JS-N; JS-O.

 The good: 

Don was okay in spite of his spill.  Brady had a blast.  Baalche stayed in the ring and had some super runs.  Laddie stuck with the teeters.  Quixote had superb runs once we arrived at an understanding.  I survived running 3 dogs in the same classes.

The bad: 

Don’s crash and burn.  Baalche’s herding dog nipping fest.

The ugly: 

The weather was wretched.  Between severe wind and severe rain it was pretty miserable!


Eugene AKC Trials Sept 2008

We did 4 AKC agility trials this weekend.  Here is the “diary.”

 We left 3 hours later than planned.  It is always a challenge to get things set up for our pet sitter with this many animals.  Added to this we had some extra hurdles.

Don's doing fine in spite of the swollen black eye from the racquet ball racquet whack in the head that knocked him cold and bled all over. The injury has stayed glued. We went to the emergency room prior to leaving.

My back has been miserable for the past couple of weeks.   It actually did well, considering I have been hobbling around in pain.  I even skipped agility classes on Monday.  I think sitting at the computer is the major irritation, as it felt pretty good by the end of the weekend, but is now acting up again after being back at the computer. 

Three hours late, packed and dogs loaded, the two cripples set south for Eugene.

 Thursday and Friday
No Q’s. Some good runs though. Quixote has blown weaves but finally came through and did them in Jumpers. The weaves are spaced 24” apart and it blows his rhythm as he’s used to 22.”. In addition, I couldn't turn in time thanks to my back so he got a wrong jump.  His first run was in Standard and in RRD fashion, he created his own course.  I could see the grin and crinkled ears.  Dirt flew, his cheeks puffed, and muscles strained as he zoomed around the ring in sheer joy, butt tucked and Xolo zooming.   I could hear him woofing in pure delight as he designed his own course, taking a few extra obstacles.  

Baalche did his own thing in Jumpers.  He was really good in Standard but went past the tire, then came back and took it, but in Open that's a fatal.   It took a couple of restarts to get through those blasted weaves so no Q’s for the Baalche-A-Roo. 

Quetzal has been focused and done some good sequences and has come when called and has listened. This was a huge improvement.  Tuesday night at class he was so horrid Don finally caught him and put him out in the car, skipping the rest of the class.  Quetz put it together this weekend.  A few wrong obstacles but he has run well.  He made the goals we set for him – - doing obstacles in sequence, coming when called, and being focused.  He gets nervous and spaces out, then he does the Xolo shake, ears flapping and appendages flipping, followed by staring at the audience while standing in the center of the ring.  Competition in the agility ring is very new to him and he runs off and then freezes.   He did none of that this weekend.  He listened, did most of the obstacles and came when called.  Most important he was relaxed and had a good time.  People commented on how athletic and fast he is and how nice his runs were.  This is a first.  I’m sure they are usually thinking “Why on earth have they entered that dog?” This weekend we felt proud instead of embarrassed.    One small close call occurred.  I got the Xolos new agility leashes.  Basically, they are kennel leads with a slider that tightens.  Xolos are adept at shaking and getting centrifugal force going to spin chains and slip leads off their neck.  Don was next on the line and Quetz was in his arms.  He put him down and had moved the slider up because he wanted a quick release when ready to run.   Shake, ear flapping, -- naked and loose!  Quetzal zoomed into the ring as the other dog was exiting.  Quetzal made it to near the end of the obstacles.  Don called “COME” and he flew back happily.  The judge didn’t see this, thank DOG!  We’re quite proud of how Quetzal did.  In fact, fellow competitors commented on how good his runs were.  He blew by the weaves but that’s okay; he was good and his runs were respectable all weekend. 

Two days down, happy dogs, no Q’s . . . .

Saturday and Sunday

Quixote got his rhythm back and was spectacular.   I wasn’t, however.  My timing sucked as my back injury really threw me off as far as where I needed to be.  My next shirt needs to read AWESOME DOG on the front and AWFUL HANDLER on the back.  “Qyote” was really on!  He scored a Q in Excellent Jumpers at B level.  That’s the top class where dogs work toward their MACH title (Master Agility Champion).  I think he got points toward his MACH but as this was our first attempt in this class I haven’t figured out the scoring yet.  Sunday we got the first leg of his Excellent Standard title with a 2nd place!   This was our first weekend out at this level.  People commented on how awesome his run was.  Quixote earned a perfect score.  Jumpers was equally awesome.  However, thanks to my back I couldn’t get where I needed to be, and turned too slowly.  We had a near collision which pushed my little partner slightly past a jump and he spun to avoid getting stepped on.  That killed a beautiful run.  That’s okay.  He knew he did a great job and left happily to rounds of applause, a big grin on his face and tail wagging.  That’s what really counts!  Best of all, he ran as fast on his 8th run as he did on his first.  He held up beautifully all weekend with no signs of being tired.  As he’s 9 years old and was so injured in the abuse he received as a puppy, I worry, but he was totally sound. 

Now for Bad Boy Baalche.  He had some spectacular runs too.  Unfortunately most did not match the course map.  I worried he’d blow the tire as he was going under it at class and on his first run he shot under it.  Not to worry, he took it beautifully – - several times, but instead of the correct obstacle.  His weaves overall were lovely.  He flew through them.  That has been another nightmare for us, but this weekend for the most part he tore through them, nailing the entry and exit perfectly.  His contacts were great and so were his start-line stays.   Like the weaves, these have been a problem, but the little guy was great here.  His Open Jumpers run on Friday was designed for him.  It was open and flowing and the perfect set up to show off his speed and skills and distance work.  Baalche created his own zig zagging labyrinth, ignoring me, and flying happily over anything he spotted.  Another Q bit the dust.  Saturday the course was tight and filled with circles and serpentines.  He was perfect!  As we flew toward the last jump I called out “Turn Jump” and he slid to make that turn, following my command perfectly.  Unfortunately “Turn” was the wrong command and sent him away from the jump and another Q bit the dust – our theme song for the weekend.  Sunday in Jumpers, the Devil Dog surfaced.   With a zig zagging jumpline we headed for a corner tunnel.  Baalche flew past me and took a jump to the right.  I yelled “COME!” and he gave me the kiss-off look.  “COME” and he began to sniff the jump standard.  “HEEL” and he slinked in to position.  “Tunnel,” “Weave,” and we were back on course, with the Q possibility history on obstacle four.  Flying through the weaves toward a tunnel trap, I successfully called him off and we headed to the circle of jumps.  As I crossed his path I heard his angry bark and knew trouble loomed.  Stupidly I decided to practice some distance skills and attempted to send him past a jump to a tunnel entrance he couldn’t see.  Bad idea.  I called him off and his ears flicked in frustration.  He slid and spun back to see what the crazy lady wanted, took the right entrance and we turned toward the zig zagging final jumpline.  I could hear him muttering.   He had pushed the envelope through much of the run, in my view, but in his, I was the culprit.  As we neared the last jump Baalche bit me; okay it wasn’t really a bite, he nipped me. It was just a light frustration pinch. Luckily the judge didn't see it, as he probably was looking off at the next ring hoping that the debacle would be over and my temper would hold.  The Roo was not at all cute in Jumpers.  No Q’s for the Roo! 

As the two young ones need to learn to chill out I spent three nights sitting at the Group ring watching judging.    It was great training.  Chica’s tongue hangs out when she’s stressed and on night one it was dragging.   Saturday she relaxed and slept in my lap and her tongue was in.  She even held her ground when people reached down to pet her as we walked through vendor booths.  Sunday I decided to take Tarasco.  He was quite the hit as most have not seen a Standard Xolo.  His red Mohawk really causes “ooohs and aws.”  Handlers were asking questions about Xolos as they stood in the ring waiting their turn.  Some offered him treats but he is quite picky and the busy environment killed all temptation.  As the Groups progressed he settled.  He even put his paws up in the lap of a man in a scooter and took treats from him.  He posed for cell phone pictures, handled being petted, and finally settled down and lay by my feet as I visited and watched judging.   When the lady next to me left for a bit he immediately claimed her comfy chair as his throne.   It was a great training and socialization experience for my two young ones.

Now for our guard dog experience. We were walking the dogs before settling in for the night. It was dark and we had Baalche, Quetzal, and Quixote on this shift.  A kid about 8 years ran up and started stomping her feet and swinging her arms at Quetzal. He was terrified and tried to climb over the pen where he was being walked (on lead) to escape this maniacal child. Don asked the kid to back off and she argued. I told her to leave the dog alone, she was scaring him.  She said "So what, he's just a dog" and then began laughing as she continued to kick at him.  I yelled for her to quit scaring Quetzal.  I was about 15 feet away and she turned and ran toward me. Baalche barked a warning and I told her to leave. She laughed and stomped at us and Baalche hit the end of the lead snarling. I kept him in control and far enough away and yelled at the kid to get out of here. Quixote just growled, clearly scared, but Baalche showed no fear.  When the brat started toward me a second time, flailing her arms and stomping, he hit the end of the lead again and sent her packing.. Obviously I made sure she didn't get closer than about 10 feet. I can't imagine a parent that let's young kid approach strangers in the dark and wander loose at night. 9:30 is way too late for a little girl to be in the dark by herself.  It's harder to imagine a child the young that was so aggressive and so awful.  Guess heredity surfaces.

This is the second time Baalche has gone for a stranger at night. This is my therapy dog, who visits nursing homes and is as friendly as a Golden Retriever; he really adores people and is so gentle with both old and very young.  Yet, his ancestry comes through. He is very protective of me when someone is threatening and stands his ground. A man came at me out of the shadows at a motel the week after a judge told me that Baalche did not fit the Xolo profile of being “aloof and suspicious of strangers.”  She added that he’d never make a good guard dog. The man left very quickly as Baalche launched and went for him teeth bared and ready to nail the enemy. He has an impressive set of chompers!  The kid left quickly too, once she saw that either Baalche or I planned to bite her. I’m proud of my little guard dog.  Too bad it wasn’t that judge.  On the walk back to the motorhome all 3 Xolos wagged at people we passed, as usual. 

Few Q’s for the weekend, but the dogs had fun and we did too!  That’s what really counts! 


The Impossible Dream

Photo by Creative Indulgence

Quixote’s Story

Terrified and cowering in the corner of a cage at a run down shelter, an 8 month old Xoloitzcuintle puppy awaited his doom; surviving a traumatic puppyhood and a life of horrific abuse, his life was now set to end.   Turned in as a Chinese Crested, deemed unadoptable because he was hairless, the shelter marked and scheduled this puppy for euthanasia.  Hearing about his plight a few hours before his short life was to end, I begged for him to be spared.  He was real close to hearing "Dead Dog Walking." 


A “surrender” because his first owners couldn't deal with him, the shelter immediately decided he be put down, as with NO hair the shelter deemed him defective and thus unadoptable.  Crestie Care, with our Gary Armitage at the helm, heard about a Chinese Crested in the pound and a representative went to check it out.  Instead they found a terrified 8 month old Xoloitzcuintle puppy.  They tried everything in their power to find someone willing to rescue “Snoopy,” including an e-mail campaign.    People from all over the world wrote in an attempt to save the “Walla Walla Xolo,” as he became internationally known.  A Borzoi breeder who lived near Seattle, and who also has Cresties, saw his listing on the shelter’s website and contacted a friend in the area who started searching and scanning until the end result of saving this puppy was accomplished.  All hoped for a miracle.  Unfortunately time, an eternal enemy, had run out and the little guy’s fate was sealed with the stroke of a pen.   No one wanted a terrified, sick, hairless dog deemed “special needs.”   And the clock wound down . . . .


When I heard about a male Xolo on death row, I immediately made contact and pleaded with them, promising to adopt him sight unseen.  The shelter personnel told me the dog was going to be put down the next day and release appeared doubtful.  I e-mailed and called again and said I wanted him and again begged for them to spare this dog.  I prayed that I was in time.  I was so relieved when they said I could have him and I began to figure out how to get him from far away eastern Washington to our home in Salem, Oregon as I had a much prized litter of Irish Wolfhounds due in a week.  The timing could not have been worse.  


Fate smiled.   We excitedly drove to eastern Oregon to meet the kind rescue lady half way to pick up the terrified and very sick little dog, known as the "Walla Walla Xolo."  No one told us that this dog was special needs, that he was turned in for “being impossible to house break,” that abuse made him fearful, that he hated the world. Not knowing about his abuse, we had no idea where this journey would take us. 


I pictured a Mini, as the only 2 Xolos I had ever seen were the little guys.  We met the rescue lady at a truck stop, I signed some vague promises, handed her some money - - it felt like a drug deal - - (the main concern of the pound that had him was the “$66.50 IN CASH”) and she brought out a shaking dog in an oversize sweater.  He was much bigger than I pictured, at 21 pounds.  He slinked up to the treat Don held and allowed Don to pet him.  One of the rescue lady's Whippets came forward at the scent of food and the Walla Walla Xolo attacked him, so we quickly stopped a small dog fight.  That was our introduction to "Snoopy" the Walla Walla Xolo, turned in as a special needs Chinese Crested.  He sat in the pound for 3 weeks, with rescue groups trying to spring him and the shelter wanting to kill him, not knowing of the tug of war over his fate.  Thanks to Crestie Care, who recognized that he was not a CC but a Xolo, and the efforts of a wonderful Borzoi lady who drove him halfway to meet us at the truckstop, the sick little Xolo was spared. 

 Later in talking with this rescue lady, she confirmed how dire his situation was.

 “You are correct in stating that Quixote was saved from ‘death row’ by you.  Most everyone wanted to euthanize him right away as abnormal-being hairless. Several turns of events kept him alive until he found you.  Most everyone in the shelter thought he should be euthanized within a couple days of his surrender-by people moving, who listed him as a crested.  One woman there, had owned a xolo for several years-also a surrender-and held out for a miracle, which was you . . . many dogs, including Quixote, were coming down with the ‘blowing green snots’ that year in particular.  Our shelter is abysmal.  Animal welfare is just not a priority in this area.  Our WWII era munitions storage building, converted to a shelter in the 80's, serves all of wallawalla county and as far south as Pendleton OR.  This year, even city animal control was cut from the budget.  It's pretty pitiful.”

 The shelter where he sat had some sick dogs; he was one of them.  He was blowing green yuck and when I took him in the following day on an emergency visit to my vet, she grimaced at the infection and botched surgery where he had been neutered 3 days before.  He wasn't even allowed to stay at a vet hospital when they neutered him.  He went back to the pound while still groggy.  My veterinarian could not believe his surgery had been performed by a licensed vet.  His incision and the cavern left by the “surgery” were badly infected and he was blowing green slime.  Years later when we  x-rayed his hips we saw worse abuse than we had imagined.  His right hip shows an old fracture, probably from being kicked . . . .  From puppy mill -- to pet shop -- to pound . . . .  His first 9 months of life taught him to hate. 

 The adventures began.  We had to quarantine the wailing Walla Walla Xolo downstairs in the family room because we could not jeopardize the new IW puppies.  I lived in Clorox and changed clothes frequently as I cared for new puppies and a sick Nekked dog.  We would hear his howls as I descended the stairs to take care of the little prisoner.  It reminded me of the scene in my favorite musical, Man of La Mancha, as the guards go down to the prisoners; hence his name became “Quixote,” and this rescued Xolo became  the love of my life.

Two weeks later and now out of quarantine, Quixote was introduced to the upstairs and the rest of the Gwinn-Dell Gang.  Unfortunately I had hired a puppy nanny to take care of the babies while I worked.  She hated Quixote and physically attacked him, trying to kick him, and flailed and shrieked at him as she chased him through the house because he stole some dog food.  (He saw her at an Irish Wolfhound specialty years later and hit the side of the ex-pen snarling.  He remembered!)  He was terrified and became very aggressive any time she walked into the room.  One evening he was sitting on top of the Lazy Boy chair behind my head.  Puppy Nanny from H*ll walked into the room and aggressively stomped her foot at Quixote.  He flew off the top of the chair, nailed her ankle and flew back up to the safety of my lap, teeth bared.  It was then that I knew I had an agility dog - - great mouth - eye coordination!  He received no reprimand, although she did . . . .

Quixote was terrified and aggressive to all but Don and me.  He would hit end of the lead snarling like an attack trained animal if a stranger approached, and no, he was not retreating; he tried to climb what or whoever he perceived as a threat and go for faces.  Visitors to our home were met with a small torpedo launching himself up the door, snarling.  Luckily he was only 22 pounds.  He is still aggressive if he is behind a fence and he is still terrified of morbidly obese people.  Those ghosts live on.   House breaking took over 3 years of constant diligence, routine, and patience.


With the “need to know” I attempted to trace Quixote’s roots.  Obviously little could be confirmed, but from what I discovered this is the most likely account:  His background goes way back from what I can piece together.  Almost 35 years ago a woman in California bred and showed Xolos.  She sent a bitch to NY to be bred and while the dog was there, the woman died.  Her granddaughter, here in Oregon, inherited the pregnant bitch.  Three hairless pups were born and all the granddaughter knew was that she heard they were rare dogs.  She took them to the Portland zoo and there they were put on display.  The zoo finally decided dogs didn't belong in zoos and a woman took the three.  They were the foundation for her puppy mill, near here.  She kept a pack of about 30 and it's survival of the strong.  They live as a pack, get food, water, and a patio cover.  She harvests pups and ships to pet shops.  When I contacted her she stated she couldn’t keep track of where all of her pups went.  She proudly stated she’d had 6 litters in the last 3 months and all were heading for pet shops.  They receive little socialization and she sells them as Cresties.   Most are Quixote clones.   We figure he was one of this zoo dog line, unsocialized, shipped to a pet shop, purchased on a whim, and dumped when impossible.

 Quixote was a challenge.  At times I felt I was tilting at windmills in trying to train him.  He hated strangers.  In my obedience classes people dared not walk within range of his crate as he’d launch forward with such force the crate would leap toward them as their occupant dove to bite.  My assistant trainers hated him and he hated them.  Housebreaking was extremely frustrating.  Things would go well and then he’d slip back.  Quixote began agility to help build his confidence.  He loved it and he blossomed.  Channeling the energy of such a strong-willed dog proved challenging.  He zoomed around courses, did his own thing, launched through the air using my body as a catapult to do back flips, and then zoomed away in Xolo defiance.  Coming when called was not even a possibility.  After zooming around a course he’d lie on his side, or play bow out of range then grin and wave his paws or do the territorial hind leg scuff as he barked in defiance.  He quickly earned my affectionate name for him “The Rotten Rubber Dog” or RRD. 

Agility grew into our passion!  As he and I fought for control we emerged into a team.  The death row throw away dog is a phenomenal agility Xolo.  No longer Snoopy, the Walla Walla Xolo, he blossomed into Gwinn-Dell’s Don Quixote and set many records for the breed.   His accomplishments are epic as are his many titles. 

                                                                                    Photos by Joe Camp




                                                                                    Photo by Tien Tran


Quixote has earned 56 agility titles, won in NADAC, ASCA, USDAA, TDAA, CPE, and AKC.  He is the first Xolo to compete at Elite level and the first Xolo to earn a Triple Superior award in NADAC.  He achieved #1 status for his breed in NADAC, the first Xolo to achieve this.  In AKC trials, Quixote has competed four weekends and has moved up to AKC’s Excellent level.  He is the first and only Xoloitzcuintle to achieve this.  


Photo by Joe Camp

Nine years have passed and Quixote is the light of our lives.  He has earned his CGC, is friendly and outgoing, adores people and even models in the art classes at the school where I teach.  He has been “guest speaker” in the Special Ed classes when the kids read a book about dogs and has taught the students in the Honors genetics classes about the genetics of canines and about the unique aspects of this wonderful breed, so he does much to educate young people. Quixote is no longer aggressive.  He struts down the halls where I teach, being petted by thousands of students.  The kids adore him.  He goes to dog shows with us when we show the Wolfhounds and helps to educate people about how wonderful Xolos are.  He brought in $1000 for the state's poor in a food drive.  He was the poster dog for the "Kiss Quixote" contest.  People donated money to nominate someone to kiss him.   Once terrified and vicious, Quixote is a marvelous ambassador for the breed. 

Quixote  quailfied for the AKC Agility Invitational.  He is the first of his breed to earn this honor and will compete with the top agility dogs in the U.S.A.  His is AKC's Top Xolo. 

 Thanks to Quixote, I have gained many friends in the Xolo world. Thanks to Quixote, I got involved in this breed.  Thanks to Quixote we have four more Xolos in our lives.  Thanks to Quixote we have Xolo parties to attend.   Thanks to Quixote I have met many wonderful people and their wonderful Xolos.  Thanks to Quixote there is a Registry for the Xoloitzcuintle in the USA.  He was the driving force that drove me to do the research and develop the XCUSA registry.   He was the driving force that pushed me to put my life and soul into XCUSA and the welfare of the Xoloitzcuintle.  I have gained so much through adopting this little Xolo.  He brings Don and me much pleasure and we are so thankful that this little rescue dog is part of our lives.  

Yes, Quixote is now the conqueror of windmills and the love of my life. 

Photo by Matt Sachs

The Impossible Dream


To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Together, Quixote and I have reached that star.


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