22 May 2007

The antithesis of the Pomeranian Grandma.

In CPE, one of the handler types is the Pomeranian Grandma. She is heavy, with leathery, lined old skin. Her size is a plus plus size, and perhaps her t-shirt, which definitely is graced with a large cartoon dog or realistic montage of her preferred breed, is embellished in some off kilter bedazzler method or some kind of knotting or lacing. Her pants are denim, thin and ill fitting. Her voice is gravelly, and she may be spotted puffing on a camel after her run.

She has a small herd of teensy, tiny, pomeranians. There are 3-4 of them, and they do a damn good job at agility for a little ball of fluff. They're not all that fast, but hotdamn if they're not dead on accurate. Pomeranian grandman carries one up to the ring, runs casually around, qualifies, croaks out a wisecrack to the judge, and carries precious fluffball out. She'll be back in a minute with the next one. Her tent setup is covered in ribbons.

Pomeranian grandma has been doing this for a while. I'm not sure what she does when she's not at a dog show on the weekends. She lives out in the central valley somewhere, and is most definitely a senior citizen. Between rounds, she helps out or hangs out at her tent with other like ladies. She might be running slow, but she is out there running.

She is not at the USDAA trial, where her opposite handler of a paralell universe runs border collies. Kickass handler goes to the gym and keeps a blog of her training journal and all her trials. She is in her early thirties or maybe is still in her 20's, and works a full time job and teaches agility and writes a blog with CSS and dabbles in web design and science research. Kickass is perky, in a hardcore sort of way. Like a cheerleader who also has a masters in physics. She has pink hair and can sport a pink tennis skirt because she goes to the gym. Her border collies are perfect, and win the Grand Prix and are in the USDAA top ten.

Her blog is updated constantly, with photos and videos and in depth text about every run and how to make it better and handling systems and why the rear cross didn't work and where it did when she won the Steeplechase second round. Her blog is about winning and goals and making it to the world team. I am sort of exhausted wondering if I could ever be like Kickass handler. I feel like I am too lazy.

There's a lot of shades in between Pom G and Kick Ass. Recreational professionals and professional hobbyists. A lot of them are really good dog trainers. and some of them seem to be pretty clueless dog trainers. Some of them have great dogs that run well, great dogs that run badly, and weak dogs that run great. Most weak dogs that run weakly don't usually make it to competition level, at least in the USDAA. At the CPE, maybe they do. There's the computer program lady from the mountains that shows up with her gentle, overweight dog and her son and by golly, it can slowly make it's way around a course and heave itself over the jumps. There's the screaming lady with the aussies that never seem to make it around, although they are speedy.

I'm not sure what any of them would say about me. I keep a pretty low profile around the dog show and fly under the radar. Sometimes we do really well, and sometimes I am mortified by how badly we perform. Like when Ruby, who won every other class that day and had some of the fastest times out there, ran away at the start line, and like a bad stage mom, I called her back in and finished the round so I could get the Q. But she also went the whole show without a dropped bar, and had 3 amazing runs, some of her best ever, that were fast and clean and handled exactly as planned. Sometimes I wonder if anyone else out there doesn't pick up ribbons. I see all the other ladies grabbing them up. I stopped a couple years ago, first only picking up Q's with blue ribbons then just starting to write them down. What would I do with all the ribbons?

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