20 July 2009

When the Team visited the super classy, in an understated kind of way, USDAA trial.

On Sunday, off we went for a day of USDAA. This one was a fancy, shmancy, underpantzy day. Not underpantzy. I don't know why I said that. So not classy. No one shows, nor talks about, nor spells underpantz with a Z at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley. Ever. No matter what. Sorry Quail Lodge.

The Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley is all about classy, and they said we could have a dog show there. So on the flawless, level polo field by the mountains and golf courses and Lexuses and Clint Eastwood, we had a day of dog agility. I think they wear diamond tennis bracelets at Quail Lodge. But keep them hidden under cashmere sleeves. There are parking attendants and golf villas and chefs. And somehow it all got arranged that they would also have dog agility.

You ever been to Carmel Valley? It's by Carmel, where *cough* older *cough* people enjoy strolling and eating sandwiches in thatched roof cafes with names like Hog's Knees and taking their dogs to the beach and buying sweaters at Burberry. Some people, maybe even some people's moms and dads, might enjoy visiting their children who live in Santa Cruz by actually visiting Carmel instead because it is free of tattoos and street sleepers and has the thatched roofs and all. Just down the 17 mile drive from Pebble Beach, which is all about golf and horse shows, both sports where you ante up big time to play. Carmel Valley, a beautiful drive away from the beach, is a place where people don't shout, cool breezes keep temperatures down and cool millions buy you a tidy little shack on a hillside.

Usually dog agility is near cattle. Freeways. Big trucks and trains and bmx and rodeos. Foreclosed homes. Not villas with personal vineyards and golf carts. Holy smokes. I could get used to this. Can we switch ALL our dog agility to Quail Lodge? No gophers, no divots, no long car trip to the Central Valley. I heard tales of many absentee dog agility husbands attending because of golf. Some people even stayed in the lodge, where the rooms are $200 or $400 or $800 bucks a night. Not sure. But they give you leather and down dog beds in them and I think you can turn your dogs loose on the links by the light of the full moon while you drink your champagne and Elvis Costello croons jazz ditties to you from the hot tub.

Quail Lodge offered events like Test Drive the Giant Sparkly Range Rover. The 4 star BBQ. Pet adoptions. Booths of tastefully branded shwag. Spectators. Lure Coursing.

Have you ever seen the lure coursing? A furry tail on a remote control string inside a long track with tunnels and speed bumps. Show your dog that thing, and they're off.

Ruby got to do this. She wasn't entered in dog agility, due to the little problem I like to call Crashes Herself Thru 12" jumps. So I paid my money for a single lure course, took her over there, showed her the squirrel, and thought she'd be off in a flash.

But instead, she looks at me like, You're Joking? At Dog Agility, You Are Telling Me To GET The Squirrel? It's a Trick.

I'm like, "Go! It's ok! Get the squirrel!!"

She looks at me. I can tell she's thinking, Trick. Dogs Are Not Supposed to Get Squirrels. Especially Not At Dog Agility And I Will Go To Hell.

The little furry thing wiggles and jiggles and finally, good manners dog just goes SCREW IT and off she goes around the track after the fur. In the blink of an eye, at the finish line but clearly very fun for her. I didn't let any other dogs do that. Ruby is Special.

I tried to interview Ruby about her lure coursing adventure, but she demured. I don't think she likes interviews.

I did interview Gustavo about his day. Verbatim:

I am staying I am staying I am staying then OK I am running I am running I am running it is climb it is contact it is just running running running tunnel tunnel TUNNEL running running and I hits table and I slide right off so I get under I get under I get under it is funny funny funny and laughing laughing laughing on table counting to a MILLION then running running running TEETER TOTTER HOLA HOLA HOLA HOLA I LOVE YOU running running running some poles some more poles more poles do ALL the poles running running running climb running running running running running running HOLA HOLA HOLA I LOVE YOU HOLA..."

It just sort of kept going like that. I think he was describing his manic standard run which did have contacts, poles, a stunning teeter but also was just manic with circles and crowd applause and laughter and a horde of kids descending on him afterwards because they all loved him. I don't know where all these kids appeared from, they just were there waiting for him at the finish to pet the cute little fast doggy. I don't think there was a Q in there. Dunno. It was sort of nuts. Like I was running the lure course piece of fur, hopelessly trying to keep up with it. He wiggles and jiggles and the steering is haphazard and you just hang on and RUN.

He was able to channel all that into a stunning Snookers that I am incredibly proud of and felt like handling a genuine, trained, lightning fast dog. Loved it. That was his whole day.

I asked Otterpop why she was uncharacteristically speedy and well behaved and in good spirits the whole time. Two little handling errors of mine flubbed up her SuperQ and turned a smashing Grand Prix into a 5 faulter. What a surprise. Her Standard run, lovely and fast. All day, no judge stuff, no freakies, no slows, no nothing. Just My Otterpop!

Otterpop says, "OTTERPOP DOES NOT TELL!"

I'm like, "But Otterpop. All the time you get so WEIRD at dog shows. Then this one, you are Normal! There's got to be a reason?"

I'm thinking, the allure of diamond tennis bracelets? Requires laser leveled manicured polo fields for running on now? Likes seeing white gloved parking attendants who wave and smile without showing teeth or gums? Well, anyways, Thanks Otterpop!

Does this Otterpop show up at the next couple trials, including Regionals?

Otterpop says, "Ha HA." And leaves the room with all the dog toys.

I couldn't interview Hobbes. He had to go home. We won his Grand Prix though and also had a beautiful Standard. Usually when I talk to Hobbes he just barks at me really loud. So I'm pretty sure how that interview would have gone. He's a big, tall border collie. He barks loud. I bark back at him. He runs fast. I run fast. I love Hobbes.

At the end of the day, fog rolled in and motorhomes rolled out. Packed up the rings, packed up the dogs. One final game of frisbee on the grass that little elves with Hermes helmets hand carried every single blade in on a silver platter and tapped in to the dirt with their little Tiffany hammers. The clean dirt. Drive by the white, not fluorescent orange, traffic cones and artfully lettered, in the tasteful, branded typeface, signs that murmur, No Parking PLEASE. Wind down the oak studded lane, back up to the road, and realize, I'm jonesing here for a golf course. How creepy is that?

And then, aw, SCREW IT. Maybe even get a polo shirt with a collar. Some shoes with fringey tassles. A bag of clubs, whack balls out there on the greens for dogs? Hell YEAH.


Debra Jane Seltzer (aka agilitynut) said...

Do they not allow cameras in Paradise?

team small dog said...

Oh my god. Every single time I wanted my camera-there were all these spectators and 3 different random people introduce me to their cousins of Gustavo, I was running a dog or working a ring or loading a trailer or running to get something I left a hundred miles away at my tent. I do not think I sat down once all day. I had grand plans of wanting to do some photographing and it just went totally by the wayside.

This was the only sad thing about my day.

And I was just too tired last night to draw it.

merlemama said...

Can't tell you how much I appreciate the Carmel agility venue review. When I saw the premium for this trial, it crossed my mind to make the 11 hour trek to Carmel Friday and back again on Monday just to experience the joy of running my screaming maniac of a dog on such a fine course.

team small dog said...

That is far for a 2 day trial. But this would be a good one to work into a vacation!

OBay Shelties said...

It sounds like a great agility trial! It is nice to have a pretty show site. I Loved Gustavo's descriptions of his runs.
We had an agility show here that was on the grounds of a mansion AND a drive-through Animal park. At night you could hear the lions roaring in the enclosures...that was a great site for an agility show!

Agility Foot said...

Gustavo looked like he was having sooo much fun. Running like the wind.
I enjoyed his under the table, table. What a cutie!

Elf said...

I thought that I would be totally out-photoed by TSD at this site, which whole thing & place were just calling out for TSD style photography. But no; my meager tiny few shots will have to do. http://www.finchester.org/dogs/dog_diary/2009/07/cool-things.html if you want to look.

I guess next time when I want there particularly to be TSD style photography I should go put the camera into TSD's hands and load the trailer for her.