13 November 2008

A scarey tale, post Day of the Dead.

This comment appeared late last night from Mary, one of my Dirt Nite Pals.

>>Pre-tomorrow advisory. Laura, no one meant it! I swear to you, no one meant it! Small dogs count! Each small dog counts as much as one big dog! Big dogs are overrated! I swear. You don't *have* to write about the Dirt Night Zombies who invaded Gustavo's run and dissed Small Dogs. Ruby was perfect! Big Dogs, not so much! <<

Cryptic, yes? Let's set the scene.

Full moon. A thick fog moving it's way up from the sea to the ranch where the Dirt Arena is. Just some bare tree skeletons sticking themselves up out of the thick, wet mist. You know that full moon is up there, but it's pretty much obscured by now. Sometimes you see the owl that sits in the rafters and stares down, beady old eyes, up to no good. It's dark. And it's quiet. Save for the barking of the most obnoxious dogs. Who all happen to be tied up together and not naming names unless their names are Otterpop, Gustavo, and Hobbes.

Let me tell you about the makeup of Dirt Nite. Heck, dog agility in general. Lots of big dogs. Not very many little dogs. In Dirt Nite, basically is me and 3 dogs and one lady with one. Pretty much the same proportions at dog agility everywhere. Small dog division, 15 dogs. 22" dog division, thousands and thousands of dogs. Endless classes at the dog show. Pages and pages of gate sheets with oodles of border collies over and over and over again.

I like big dogs. I run one. In a different real estate world, I would have my very own. Hobbes is very, very big. Actually a 26" dog, which is a nice, tidy division, much closer in size to the 12" dog size. But still, counts as big dog. As big as you get in the world of dog agility. Yes, is a different thing to run one. I would agree. Sometimes, those little dogs can get you out of tight spots that you are freaking out over on the big dogs. HOWEVER, my big dog friends, it goes both ways. You try getting some of those gambles with things four hundred miles away with your teensy tiny dog. Your little dog fast? You still have some HANDLING to do out there my friends. I do HANDLING with them all. What the heck you think I am out there practicing? You ever noticed my dogs do the same off course things as the big dogs? Yep. It is true. There is HANDLING to do.

So I am out there on the course last night with a small dog. Gustavo, to be exact. A very small fast dog. Who also is very new to doing the super hard courses of Dirt Night. I break them down for him, let him restart things if he misses a hard turn or when he does something so fabulous that I want to stop and reward him for his fabulousity out there doing a new kind of turn he hasn't done yet or whatever. Maybe his turn takes a split second longer than the other dogs. But he runs fast. We make up for the time. And that's how I run. I give a lot of prizes out there when someone does something I like. And, ahem, I make it my business to try not to make many errors. Although, I still do. But generally, use my course time effectively and wisely, I would say.

So I'm halfway through a course. Coming up to the a-frame, which is a giant V made out of wood, my non dog agility friends. Upside down out there in the dirt which must be climbed at blinding speed and involves toes touching yellow paint brightly slapped along it's side with dog toes, large or small. We've gone over this before. A place I like to hand out prizes liberally, because you gots to put a lot of savings in that contact bank so they hold up forever. Basically like an IRA and you do not want the stock market to tank during the Steeplechase Finals. And as my small dog comes down the side and I am planning a tight turn, one the dog has never done, I look up and here comes a zombie army.

They are drooling and they are walking towards me, all so methodical and calculated. Out of the fog. Eyes have that glaze of the undead with one thing on their minds. A chill goes through my spine. What do the zombies want and why out here now? Definitely up to no good. Coming to scoop out my brains via my eyeballs and eat my flesh while my heart still beating in my skin? Chewing on my carcass with their rotten teeth, spitting out bones before I have even expired? There are a lot of them and I'm clearly outnumbered and I am about to give an award on that big wooden V to my super fabulous little small dog.

Oh. Oh no. They just want to start a new course. They just want to grab the numbering cones and start anew. While I'm halfway through. I stop and hold them at bay and they sheepishly drop back and I wish all zombies were this sheepish and obedient and off we go to finish the course. No need to become a Buffy and figure out creative creature murdering tactics. Kung fun fighting, not neccessary. Just a stop and holler drives them away.

Fast forward to a few minutes later. Looking at the new course, everyone wondering about negotiating a hard turn. Someone makes a crack about how only hard for the big dogs. Small dogs, pish posh, don't count, get a real dog, I've heard it all. I know, I know, I know. Whatever. I go out, run it with my dogs, no problem. Unflappable. Go out, run it with the big dog. No problem, unflappable. Big dog, small dog. It's an issue for us all. I have a wide turning small dog who hits bars, a tight turning small dog who I have worked HARD to train that way. A still learning to turn small dog. Run a big dog who wants to turn wide but my job to make him turn tight and not take down bars. You think all this is easy? You guys, next time, maybe you take a turn with one of my dogs.

Then you report back here, how you did. We will be awaiting with our eager ears! And you watch out, big dog ladies. Just when you least expect sometime, maybe zombies come crawling out of the fog and spook you! Never know, right?


Anonymous said...

Around here if that happened we would say "On no you dit-ent!" while glaring fiercely into their Zombie eyes. They'd get the picture mighty quick, if you know what I mean.


Anonymous said...

Repeat three times after me:

Small. Fast. Kick yer ass.
Small. Fast. Kick yer ass.
Small. Fast. Kick yer ass.

Kick yer ASS!!!

You betcha small dogs count. ALL dogs count. I just came from a trial with a whole bunch of small dogs. How cool is that? I totally fell in love with this "Italian greyhound mix":



vici whisner said...

Zombies are everywhere. I see them at Bark night also. Scarey stuff.

OBay Shelties said...

I feel your fustration! We are not "real" agility handlers until we run a BIG DOG (even better A BORDER COLLIE). That is such Bollocks! :-)

Small dogs rule.

PS I need a small fast kick yer ass shirt to make me stronger against the zombies.
Bernadette and the shelties