15 February 2010

A hot sunny day at the USDAA, a day that I would not have predicted for the future, from my past.

Yes, it's the middle of February and yes you might be living in a blizzard, but I wore shorts all day yesterday. My non dog agility friends, a little refresher course on what a typical Sunday spent at a dog show involves.

A stumble out to the car before 5am with a freakishly strong travel mug of coffee and a bag of bananas and leaping dogs who fall instantly asleep when they hop up into the car. Driving two hours, down freeways and country roads in the dark and fog, headed towards the Central Valley. On purpose. Tossing dogs into an a little square wire pen, where they huddle up on a blanket, and walking into a closed off biosphere where everybody just talks about dogs. Or maybe the best way to turn a dog running as fast as it can the right direction so it doesn't go in that tunnel. And then doing just that. Or not. All day. Over and over again. Until dark. Then driving home, new coffee in hand, dirty fingernails and some weird new stains on pants, back the same cow speckled roads you came in on.

I know. It's a weird hobby. If you told me 10 years ago, that this is what I would spend a lot of Sundays doing, I'd probably laugh hysterically. At the idea that I'd have a hobby. Where I'd appreciate gore-tex. And go back to whatever I was painting with the tiny brush, horrified at the vision of spending the day with people with bushy haircuts, in odd shaped versions of denim or spandex or moisture wicking athletic wear, and unfortunate dog t-shirts, who just want to talk to you about their dogs.

If you'd told me, that I'd sit and have a conversation about how dog training created a dog who pees upside down, or one that seems exorcised from visions of the dead, or that dance steps from the Rocky Horror Picture show could describe how to get a dog to turn a little tighter, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have believed your vision of the future.

And that here I'd be, rattling off dog achievements like a foreign language that half of you already stopped reading. And that I'd wear glasses. And be older than 40 years old. And want a robot vacuum. If you predicted this for my future and you told me this, I'd say your crystal ball works about as good as my leaky Magic 8 ball. And I'd just turn up X and ignore you.

Maybe you saw this in my future, 10 years ago and now you're right. You just went, ha HA! But I kind of don't think so. And with that, I rattle off dog achievements.

Otterpop ran around like the little machine she is. Many lovely Q's, including that elusive SuperQ. Added another Grand Prix bye to her stack. We both had our fast running pants on and away we went. And in Masters Gamblers, casually aced that gamble, except. Except, as per custom, in my culture of spazziness, stepped a toe just over that pink line and had the whistle blown on me.

Yeah. 10 years ago, had you told me I'd be running around with soccer cleats and cringing when someone blows a whistle at me for stepping over the special plastic line that you gotta stand behind to send your dog off to obstacles at your distance by waving arms and so forth, I'd probably have looked at Timmy, he'd look at me, and we'd laugh at each other and go back to that painting. Now there was a dog who knew you don't step on art that's drying on the floor. Not send out to tunnel discriminations. Thanks Otterpop. What a long way you've come from that awful little thing we picked up off the side of the road.

Gustavo had some of the best runs of his agility career. Period. He did invent a new skill called running dogwalk, which was a surprise to me since we've done nothing but train a, ahem "rock solid" 2on2off, but we'll tackle this rehab much more easily than some of the other challenges he's thrown me, I think. He finally finished that last Starter's Standard, which I thought might take a lifetime. Moved up to Masters Snooker with one of the funnest snookers runs ever. Amazing jumpers run. I did pull him out of the gambler's ring after he showed me the running dogwalks. Let's hope it's just a phase.

When he runs like this, there's no stress. It's fun. He is fast as lightning, and goes exactly where I show him. And, as a bonus, was quiet and relaxed in the xpen all day. A long, long day. I hope he's becoming the dog I imagine him to be. I know he'll still have ups and downs. On Sunday, we were on an up.

If Hobbes hadn't told me a while ago he didn't want to lay down on the table ever again, I might have been sad after this happened. It was his birthday. He turned 11. I knew this would happen yesterday. I think, if he doesn't want to lay down on the table, he shouldn't have to lay down on the table. I think he deserves that. Hobbes has done a lot of tables. He's a champion. We made up for that with a lovely, beautiful Grand Prix run instead. I love Hobbes. I brought him his Trader Joe's Mini Meatballs. I think I've been running him, off and on, for at least couple years. Hopefully we have more runs for the future, ones without tables. If you ever told me, in my past, I would do agility with a dog like Hobbes, just another thing I probably wouldn't have believed.


Anonymous said...

I know the feeling. I also come from vastly different "other worlds" and am just now realizing how different this one is. But I am liking it. Maybe I will even embrace the sassy agility slogan tee shirts someday... or not.

maryclover said...

Thanks TSD you summed it up perfectly. Do you mind if I steal the first few paragraphs to send to my non dog friends and family? (I'll totally credit you) At least they then might understand that I realize I am crazy.

Elf said...

"We are all bozos on this bus"? :-)

Gustavo looked absolutely awesome in that snooker run with the tunnels.

Amanda said...

Loved this entry. Yep, we are crazy, but in a GOOD way. Really really!

Anonymous said...

Did I see that Otterpop got a superQ. Wow, congratulations! And here you are completely underplaying it :-).