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PACH2 Quest
2011: The Year of the PACH
Soren's MACH3 Quest
Soren's Nationals Quest
2010: Soren's MACH2
2009: The Year of the MACH
Soren's Incredible 2008
Soren's Amazing 2007

 

2009: The Year of the MACH


MACH Soren -- First MACH French Bulldog
Photo M. Nicole Fischer Photography

On July 4, 2009 (and on my birthday no less), with a beautiful STD run at the Blue Ridge DTC trial under judge Donna Gomer (on a June Ebert course), Soren became the first French Bulldog in history to earn a MACH!!!


ROFL!  Soren -- can you believe we got a freakin' MACH?!?
Photo M. Nicole Fischer Photography


MY MACH Bar!
Photo M. Nicole Fischer Photography


MACH Soren -- July 4, 2009

 

Video of Soren's MACH Run

 

Soren's MACH Slideshow
(with photos, music and video of his MACH Run)

>> Click here to view slide show <<

I hope you enjoy the slide show, as with it, I have tried to capture all that Soren has meant to me.  It is so full of my wonderful memories, of an incredible dog, and my incredible journey with him. 

Soren is the dog I tried hard not to take (I don't want a Frenchie for agility I thought), but clearly the dog I was meant to have.  And I am so very grateful that, with the help of fate and some persistent friends, we ended up together.  What a shame it would have been to miss this adventure, which has been one of the high points of my life.  We may not be the usual agility team, but I am sure no one has had more fun running agility than we have.


Photo Barry Rosen Photography

The connection I share with Soren extends beyond the agility course.  Besides being an incredible agility partner, Soren is just an incredible dog.  He is the dog we all dream of having ... the one who adores us with endless devotion, who would give his heart and soul for us if we just ask, and even when we don't ask.  The one who makes us laugh, who seems to read our minds, and know what is in our hearts. 


I Love Soren!!!
Photo M. Nicole Fischer Photography

Something about Soren just draws people to him.  Wherever he goes, he makes new friends, and consequently, so have I, and that has been as much a part of the fun as anything else we have achieved.  I am truly touched by how many people love this little dog.  And I am so proud of him, and so glad to see him grab a piece of history for himself -- one that will be his for all time -- because he is that special and he deserves it.


Photo M. Nicole Fischer Photography

I hope this is only the beginning of our journey together, but for today, I will just gaze in awe at the beautiful star Soren plucked from the sky and gave to me for my birthday, with a MACH ribbon on top.  And I will thank my lucky stars for the day he came into my life.


Photo M. Nicole Fischer Photography

Soren's MACH Course...

 

The MACH Run, with Photos by Herefordogs ...

On July 4, 2009, Soren and I waited by the gate for our turn.  With 45 double Qs and 741 points, only 9 points stood between us and breed history.  Linda was at the gate and reminded me to breathe, twice ... it was good advice, and timely because I believe I had, in fact, stopped breathing.

Standard Course Time was 71 secs, so we needed 62 secs or less.  We stepped to the line, and after some negotiation and compromise regarding a sit at the start line, we were off and running.  Soren was focused and fast, and it appeared he was on a mission.

We survived a tough A Frame - Tunnel discrimination with ease, blew through the next tunnel and over the dog walk, and took advantage of the 5 second count on the table to try to regroup.  So far so good.  And one and GO ... off to the teeter...

From the teeter it was into the tunnel and then a loop back to a 180 entrance to the weaves ... always a source of stress, but with only 3 obstacles to go, more so than usual.  I smiled as Soren aced the entry and quickly hit his weave rhythm...

10, 11, 12 ... Whew... I can breathe again as he exits the last weave and ignores the tempting off course tunnel.

The double, and then that last beautiful bar.  WOOHOO!  I hear a scream and turn to the clock behind me .... it reads 61.34.  It takes a moment for that to sink in, and then it does and I am amazed -- EXACTLY 9 POINTS.  It seems surreal, but I can tell from the cheering that it is true. 


OMG -- We did it Soren!!! -- Photo by Herefordogs

The rest is really a blur... Soren leaping over the last bar again as I went to take it, wondering, I am sure, what all the fuss was about.  Some switching around of the MACH bar, Jacqui appearing with the MACH ribbon.


Jacqui brings the MACH Rosette out -- Photo by Herefordogs

Some hugs, and a somewhat awkward victory lap on a course that really wasn't set up to go in he opposite direction :o)


Thanks partner!! -- Photo by Herefordogs

A "moment" with my amazing little buddy, and then some more hugs, and then Soren's favorite part ... some MACH cake, thanks to the thoughtfulness of the O'Neills.

The MACH Party Part Une...

 Barb Miller and Andrea Kelly made an amazing and appropriate banner:  "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" and it certainly has been that.  And having Peg, Andrea, Jacqui, Sandy and Ann there made it all the more special.  The VA crowd was very gracious and made us feel we had MACHed in our own backyard instead of several states away.  A kind exhibitor was nice enough to take a picture of "the locals" (sans Ann who was probably running her Novice dog).


From Left to Right:  Sandy Mainardi, Peg Forte, Andrea Kelly, Jacqui O'Neill, and me (Deb) down in front, and of course, Soren in the middle.  Andrea and Peg came all the way from NJ just to be there in case Soren got his MACH !!!

 The cell reception was lousy so I stepped outside to call Suzanne (Soren's other mom) and give her the news.  She answered from her car, and I said, "Suzanne, he did it!"  "Did what?" she replied, thinking I meant he had qualified.  "His MACH," I answered.  And then the screaming began.  She told me later she had to pull over.

So after some celebration and a trip to the Red Roof Inn to check out early, we headed off to MD to Suzanne and Ron's 4th of July (now slash MACH) party, with the promise of champagne and crabs and the excitement of a chance to celebrate with our MD friends, especially some (like Ron, Suzanne, Carol and Brenda) who have shared this journey with us from the very beginning.


The MACH Party Part Deu Was in MD


The  Return Home:  Soren Surveys the Beautiful View from His Old Stomping Grounds

 The MD party was awesome.  As we approached the house there was a "MACH Soren" sign already on the front door, and I wasn't 5 steps inside before there was a glass of champagne in my hand.  Soren was off mingling, but with an "I'm Somebody Special" balloon tethered to his collar and hovering above him and the crowd, I could tell where he was at all times.  I did misplace Peg temporarily, but she was already off learning how to crack crabs, and was fully trained and ready to assist Andrea and I when we arrived at the table.

And just when I thought the birthday couldn't get any better, I finally got to meet Soren's kids, Audra and Sagan, now almost 6 mos. old.  It was amazing to see them in person and get to hug and smooch them finally.  They reminded me so much of their daddy that I felt I already knew them.


Peg and Sagan Get to Know Each Other

After dinner, Andrea decided to head home and rescue her wonderful husband Patrick from all the rescues -- bullmastiff rescues that is -- he kindly volunteered to care for them alone so Andrea could come to VA for Soren's MACH.  Peg and I were staying in the Readmond's motor home, so when the party quieted down, Suzanne, Ron, Peg and I had a little more champagne and a nice visit, Ron and Soren did some serious male bonding, and we said goodnight.  After a less than successful search for light switches to turn off the lights in the motor home (without accidentally retracting the slide out where Peg was sleeping mind you), we gave up and collapsed for the night with some of the lights still on. 

The next morning we played with the puppies, which was heavenly.  And brought Soren and Lulu over to play with them too.  A nice lounge in the hot tub, and then some more puppy play time.  Finally it was time to tear myself away from little Audra and Sagan, say goodbye, and start the trek home.

 

The MACH Party Part Trois ... Agility Class

 A slight side bar is necessary to explain the cheese fest that follows.  We have often joked during training that Soren is simply "in it for the cheese."  If it's really good cheese, large, anticipatory bubbles actually form at the corners of his mouth.  Andrea's agility lesson is right after ours on Mondays, and she comes with a huge, bullmastiff-sized bag of cheddar cheese cubes that would be Soren's treats for a year.  This is the stuff Soren's dreams are made of, and about half way through his lesson, whenever there is a pause in the action, you can find Soren sitting facing the door, intently waiting for "his Andrea" to arrive with "his" cheese.

For Christmas, Andrea bought Soren his very own "big bag o' cheese," and for his birthday, she bought him (imported from Wisconsin no less) his very own cheese hat. 

 As Barb astutely remarked when she saw this photo of a somewhat peeved Soren in his cheese hat, "Clearly Soren prefers his cheese inside rather than on top."

So when we arrived at agility class on Tuesday night, pizzas in tow and prepared for a little MACH celebration, in walks Andrea with a large cardboard box.  In black marker on the side it is suspiciously labeled, "Cheese Hats."  Note the plural.  Yes... cheese hats for everyone!  And so, as you can see, the fun ensued  :o)


Lucky for us, Andrea has a Wisconsin Connection -- Cheese Hats for everyone!!


Our agility instructor extraordinaire, Barb Miller avec fromage, holding Soren 

THANKS BARB FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!!  YOU ARE THE BEST!!!


Ahhh ... The Power of Cheese
Soren rests atop his bed of cheese, next to the beautiful flowers with the stuffed froggie

 


MACH Au Gratin
Photo M. Nicole Fischer Photography

Also in 2009 ...

Well, most other accomplishments this year take a back seat to the MACH.  But still there were many worth mentioning. 

At the top of the list ... Soren made some more breed history by becoming the first ever French Bulldog to qualify for the AKC Agility Nationals.  The requirements are 6 double Qs and 400 points.  Soren blew this out of the water with 40 double Qs and 713 points in the qualifying period.  This also makes him the Top French Bulldog in AKC Agility again this year.

Even more amazing to me, Soren ranked #9 in the country in Agility in the Non Sporting Group for 2009!!!  

It's incredible to be the top ranked French Bulldog, but for a French Bulldog to make the top 10 rankings in agility in the Non Sporting group, against far more athletic breeds like Poodles, Schipperkes, Boston Terriers, Keeshonds, American Eskimo Dogs ... it just blows me away.

Just when I thought the firsts couldn't get any better, I got a note from photographer Nicole Fischer, letting me know Soren's photo was selected for the elusive cover of the October 2009 issue of Clean Run Magazine

Thanks to Clean Run for selecting Soren for the cover, and thanks and congrats to Nicole Fischer for a gorgeous photo.


Photo (featured on October 2009 Clean Run Magazine cover) by M. Nicole Fischer Photography

He also earned his 100th MXJ leg (and then some).


Soren earns his 100th MXJ Leg in Staten Island on 11/1/2009 -- Photo Barry Rosen

Soren also earned his Silver-ROM from the French Bulldog Club of America.

In USDAA agility, Soren became the 3rd Frenchie ever to earn a Performance Dog I title.

And in UKC Agility, Soren started the new year on 1/1/2009 with two perfect 200 scores with first places to finish his UAGII title.  And an amazing High In Trial Award besides!!


Jan 1, 2009 -- Soren starts the New Year with an Agility HIT

In his spare time, he also fathered two beautiful puppies who finished their Championships at only 7 mos of age.  They have their own page if you'd like to see more pix as they grow up.


Sagan (left) and Audra (right) born on 1/20/2009

And finishing out the year in true Soren style, in December we headed out to Long Beach CA again to compete in the AKC Agility Invitational. 

Soren put down some lovely, clean runs in ALL 4 ROUNDS, to finish 16th overall out of over 80 of the top 12" dogs in the country.  I was incredibly proud of him. 

He also earned the Top French Bulldog medallion for the tournament, and the Top French Bulldog award for 2008.

See videos of Soren's Invitational runs here (many thanks to Kennel Boy Video Productions)

Round 1:

 

Round 2:

 

Round 3:

 

Round 4:

 

You are awesome and I LOVE YOU Soren!!!  Thanks for an amazing 2009 buddy!!!

Home | Soren's Story | Soren's Accomplishments
PACH2 Quest
2011: The Year of the PACH
Soren's MACH3 Quest
Soren's Nationals Quest
2010: Soren's MACH2
2009: The Year of the MACH
Soren's Incredible 2008
Soren's Amazing 2007

 

 

 

2010 Deb Stevenson -- All Rights Reserved