25 March 2008

Today we review all the stuff we find when unpacking cars from dog agility.

For us dog agility ladies, our cars are important pieces of our lives. Because we have a lot of stuff to fit into cars. Dogs. And the dog accessories that make our lives soft and cushy on the weekends at the dog shows.

So in my car, Product Placement 1999 Honda CR-V, I have to fit 3-4 dogs, and all their/our stuff if we are going on an agility outing. This may include, but is not limited to: sheets because I am a freak about motel beds, frisbees, jackets for cold days, a little fan for hot days, crates, water, food, shade cloth, xpen, chair, wheely cart to drag it all around on, a blanket for the dogs, sunscreen, soccer cleats, and The Canopy.

The canopy is what kind of ruined it all for me. When I started taking Ruby to agility trials, I just took her, some treats, and a fold up crate and snuck it under a tree or the canopy of anyone that would tolerate us. People are nice. Entirely too nice when you have a Ruby in a crate who used to growl at dogs that got anywhere near her crate. And me who is alternately anti-social or yacking your head off about a piece of property I am trying to buy. Nowadays, Ruby seems to just act invisible and never comes out of her crate until it's her turn. I still have borderline personality issues that may or may not make you want to hang out with me.

But as I started adding on dogs, I started adding on accessories. An xpen, so the dogs could have a little more space. A folding chair, that I use to put stuff on. Just like my non folding chairs at home. A cooler, so I could bring better treats and healthy vegetables to forget to eat and champagne for special events. A cover for the xpen in case one of the dogs is Gustavo who used to want to escape. Although has stopped escaping, thanks to the additional accessory of little clamps that make the cover even more jail-like. A giant purse to put stuff like the frisbees and soccer shoes and hat and extra shirts and snacks in.

So that didn't just fit under most people's canopies, who already had multiple border collies and xpens to fit. People still tried to squeeze me and my small dogs in, thanks Jim and Roxy! But I had to one day, get my own tent thing. You know them. How you spot Dog Agility Trial from the road. Just look for the sea of blue Product Placement EZ Ups and Quik Shades. Ugly, gangling, portable canopies that take up a lot of room in a car. That you breathe a sigh of relief when you have a good one that goes up and down in a flash. And you have your own hammer to pound the stakes in that keep it from blowing off into whatever cow pasture or garbage dump or Lowe's parking lot is next door to the dog agility. And then that whole ugly business needs hanging panels of shade to keep the dogs cool. Functional, but almost so gut burstingly, heinously, horribly ugly that anyone who Takes Design Seriously has almost quit dog agility over them. Right? Like you can barely go back to your tent to get a dog after gating or running or whatever because the blue tent top and hanging shade panels that make your dogs so cool almost make you fall down weeping right then and there.

And then, just to pound that nail down harder into the coffin, you need the Wheels to drag this repellant pile around which are also heavy and ugly and cost you money on your Product Placement Visa Card and take a lot of space in the car. It goes on and on. My set up is minimal, compared to a lot of people that bring little tables. Misting systems. Dog pools. Giant floor placemats to keep all feet from touching grass. Reclining astronaut chairs. I don't know what else. Mine used to all match at least, some crossover from my life as one of the horsey set and the world of horse show tackroom setups. All things were dark red but that just sort of faded away as dogs got added and I'm left with a visual that will someday get worked out, but for now leaves a blotch in the design of my life.


Mary Schultz said...

Dear Team Small Dog,

I'm sure *everyone* wants to hang out with you even though you have told us about potential borderline personality traits. How bad could they be? You and Gustavo visit old ladies in wheelchairs! (Well, maybe you shouldn't have mentioned the purse thing.) RE. *you* not wanting to hang out with everyone: perhaps developing very clear and consistnt signals for "out" (go bother someone else with your need to talk obsessively about your last run) and "take this obstacle (i.e., me and my borderline personality traits involving real estate, etc.)." Just let us know what the signals are!

magnoliafly said...

The new Honda Element commercial looks like it was created just for agility people too. And now I want one for my little agility corgi to go tooling around in.

Woe is me the new agility trialer. Looks like I've got a ways to catch up in the equipment area! Thats quite a haul you have, though I'm sure its minimal compared to some people.

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

Hey, I totally get you about the (ex-)horse-person-who-must-be-sophisticated-and-matchy-matchy. I have this "pink and black" color scheme going, to the point that I squealed when Clean Run started selling pink lock laces that I could then put on my running sneakers (that have a hint of pink).

I did the purse-for-dog-stuff for awhile, but I didn't have a large enoughp purse (and I buy BIG PURSES, dammit) so I got one of those Ariat carry-all bags. It's amazing. I've had it for like two months and I still find new pockets in it. You should check it out.

We need to get some of the horse-show-canopy companies to lower their prices/standards for the agility set. Hello, embroidered director's chairs!

Pacco de Mongrel said...

i would say bring along your champagne, juz incase u need to celebrate your pawfect run...

honda CRV had been my dream car...but too bad, i need to settle for toyota Avanza...

Elf said...

"a blotch in the design of my life..." No one said that agility would be easy. It's a hard, hard life. One must make tremendous sacrifices like this. It's worse when your color is purple. And black. And teal. There are no purple e-z-ups (at least not at Costco) (you can get them in purple or teal--look at the Bay Team canopies--but that's really pricey for something that's likely to end up in the dumpster at Haute TRACS). No purple coolers. I do have a tacky teal cooler thanks to one agility friend who found it for me, although it's accented in white instead of black, and a purple chair thanks to another agility friend who traded my blue chair for her purple one. But someday my purple/teal/black crate that ties everything together will die, and I can't ever get a replacement for that. I will be bummed. Can't find a table in anything except green. I tell you, it's a HARD life.

Before my 3rd dog, I made do with a variety of sun umbrellas over the crates, which I moved around all day. And I had a nice Acura Legend that on weekdays I could pretend to be a real person in. But then I got my 3rd dog, and these aren't Team Small Dog sized dogs, and that was that. On to a minivan and a regular canopy and it went downhill from there.


Cynthia Blue said...

LOL I hear ya. I've been trialing with two dogs (started with one) and now I'm training up a third.. then the husband says we are keeping a fourth (this is in addition to the two non-sport dogs we have at home, total 6). But the 4th guy is gonna do flyball only (I say that now...). But maybe I'll need an ezup in the future. I don't want one! I have a tiny little shade tent that fits 3 crates (was 2, 3 is tight) and I don't want more!

Elayne said...

I love my big blue Quick Shade thingy. I can put it up all by myself in like 3 minutes and the carry case has wheels on the bottom so I don't even need a dolly for it. I don't see what's so bad about blue but I have no fashion sense whatsoever and I never gave a second thought about my gear matching. I'm lucky if I remembered to bring all the dogs and maybe some hair ties.