I was also stressing because it was Giddy's first-ever show weekend. (Giddy is the furball in my icon.) She had a 4 year hiatus from training while I relearned how to stand and walk after the stroke. I started her back into Basic obedience last year, and discovered she was still extra clingy, just as she'd been as a young dog. Regular obedience is still not a possibility for her, since she cannot tolerate me being all the way across the ring from her for Stays and Recalls. (We have managed to get to about 10 feet, but any farther and she gets up and comes to me.) Heeling, Sit, Down, Front, and Finish were all doable, so we started training for Rally.
Yesterday she was very anxious while we were warming up - kept jumping on me, trying to get in my face for reassurance. I was terrified when it was our turn, but she pulled herself together. We ended up with a 94 (out of a possible 100) and 4th Place.
Today she was again really nervous, jumping in my face and professing complete ignorance of words like Sit and Heel. But she pulled herself together again and scored another 94, this time earning 3rd Place. She now has 2 of the 3 necessary qualifying scores for her Rally Novice title, and I have 4 cheap satin ribbons as my Mothers Day present. Two are green AKC qualifying ribbons, 1 is a white 4th place ribbon, and one is a bright yellow 3rd place ribbon. Their monetary value is pennies; their actual value is priceless!
Next month I drive from Houston to Auburn Indiana for the Flat-Coated Retriever National Specialty with Giddy and my puppy Kaylee. With any luck, Giddy will give me another green ribbon there along with a title after her name.