The five fastest dogs of each breed in 2021 were invited to run in the nationals at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Also going on at the same time is the national agility invitational. Ziti received her FastCAT invitation in October and on December 11, 2022, Ziti began her adventure!
Left: Lots of people ask us about the car decorations when we stop for breaks. Right: Ziti and Don at the South Carolina border.
We make it through Georgia and the weather gets warmer and warmer as we head south. Unfortunately, it gets cloudy and rains a little when we reach Florida. We decide to take a lunch break in Flagler Beach and see how Ziti likes the seaside. Once a wave sneaks up on her and gets her wet, she decides she doesn’t like the ocean.
Left: Ziti on Flagler Beach. Right: Ziti very suspicious of the water sneaking up on her.
Ziti runs a respectable 8.034 on her first preliminary run in the morning. A worker tells us the track is considered slow because it has a sand base instead of a dirt base, so the dogs don’t get as much traction. We then take Ziti to a state park that allows dogs for a hike in the afternoon.
Left: Ziti posing on the podium after a qualifying first run. Right: Ziti having more fun posing at Wekiwa Springs State Park.
Ziti runs a 7.862 in the afternoon when it’s warmer, for her second preliminary. We also learn that she is currently 11th in the “Speed of the Breed” list after the first preliminary run! We then take her inside the Orange County Convention Center to check out the vendors and watch some of the agility trials.
Left: Ziti’s Speed of the Breed ranking on the monitor. Left: Ziti in front of the Orange County Convention Center.
Ziti has the day off, which is good since it’s supposed to rain today. We take her to Lake Louisa State Park for some hiking. It started off great but then the rain came and Ziti wasn’t so happy to pose for photographs after that.
Left: Ziti having fun on a trail at Lake Louisa State Park. Don and Ziti in the rain on a boardward over the Green Swamp.
Ziti has her final run in the morning and manages a decent 7.986. Ziti definitely runs faster when it’s hot, and with yesterday’s rain came a cold front. Her run time makes her the #1 beagle of the event. Her final run also earns enough points for an FCAT5 certificate, which comes with another big rosette ribbon. As a reward, we take Ziti for a long hike back at Wekiwa Springs State Park, where we all get wet and muddy slogging through some flooded trails.
Left: Ziti and Don on the podium with today’s rosettes. Right: Ziti in front of the park bobcat sign after a 4+ hour hike through the swamp.
During the awards ceremony, we’re surprised (and thrilled!) to hear the announcement that Ziti places 9th overall in the Speed of the Breed listing and gets another big rosette for a top 10 placement!
Left: Ziti and Charissa being presented with a Top 10 placement rosette in Speed of the Breed. Right: Ziti knows she made an impressive showing at her first FastCAT Invitational!
We pack everything up, including the six rosettes Ziti won (#1 Beagle, #9 Speed of the Breed, FCAT5, and three qualifying runs) and start the two-day drive back to Ohio. It’s sunny so we take her back to Flagler Beach, but she still doesn’t like the moving waves of the ocean. After a four-hour drive we stop at the Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. The Eighth Air Force was stationed in England and conducted bombing runs all over Europe during World War II.
Left: Ziti still not happy with Flagler Beach. Right: The B-17 bomber is the centerpiece of this museum.
After nine days on the road, Ziti is very happy to be back on her own couch! Fittingly, the 2023 Ziti Calendar is all about happiness. Click here for a copy.