21 June 2010

The time Team Small Dog visited the AKC agility trial, except actually the team stayed home with the pancakes and just Laura went on her own.


The agility club who sponsors Dirt Nite, where I both teach and take agility class, puts on a yearly agility trial, their dedicated flavor being AKC. People stick to their flavors. I prefer USDAA and ones that smash up the cookie dough inside with a ripple of fudge and caramel. They are an AKC club, and I am not a member of this club and we all get along just fine.

I am like that. My friend Mary says I am like Pollyanna. I saw this movie, it stars Hayley Mills and she wears a striped dress and has a positive attitude, but I think gets eaten by a witch at the end. Does everything end in cannibalism? Susan Garrett teaches us to be like Tony Robbins and think positive to attract laws of attractivism, but I pretty busy thinking about the oil in the gulf eventually leading to apocalyptic global collapse and cannibalism. But I still love dog agility and sunshine! So this is positive, right?

Every year, when my friendly local AKC club put on a trial, and I am asked something along the lines of, "Do you want to come work your ass off at the trial which is a mere 10 minutes away from your house even though your dogs are banned from competing due to racist breedist policies?"

I am paraphrasing here.

And every year, my answer is something like, "Um, beloved agility pets banned due to dog racism, so actually, not."

So, yeah, a bit of an Us and Them vibe, just because that's the way it is.

This year though, I decided I would certainly come over and help out, since, hallelujah, the ban has been lifted, and AKC says we are all just We. In most cases. But possibly not all. I will now see what an AKC trial is like!

Because that's what Pollyanna would do. Before her horrible death being eaten alive.

I've never been to a genuine AKC trial before. But you saw the picture up top there? Can I just start with this? Let me get it off my chest. I did not shoot her, that's not a gun. But she felt really guilty and handed off my camera to my friend Mary who, probably having seen a million photo shoots on America's Next Top Model, knew exactly what to say.

"Look really MAD!"

Because, here I am. A visitor. A spectator. Albeit one that got right away pulled into course building and manning the gate of an endless standard class full of more shelties than I've ever seen in one place. A word of advice, do not joke around with the sheltie ladies. There can be miffiness. I was not from there, I did not know the customs and there I am, thrown to the sheltie ladies. Next time, just the facts, ma'am.

But the gun? OK, finger gun. Look at my thespian mad face. That prisoner down there? Just confessed that HER AKC dog club, another local one from the progressive Bay Area, decided to still ban the mixed breed dogs the weekend before. Her, being the Them, still bans the Us. Except They would say that we are the Them, and they are the Us.

To which I would say, uh, they're dogs.

And you know who the cannibals are going to eat first? Before they turn to people and babies? The dogs. Purebred and mutts alike. So there, AKC purists. Maybe instead of worrying about someone confusing your Belgian Turvuren with Otterpop, you worry about that. Skewered on the barbie.


So how was AKC? Cannibal free, to start with. Yay! Everywhere, there were small dogs. Come visit us in USDAA, small dogs. Terriers and poodles and minpins of all sorts. A Puli, with dreadlocks and blue scrunchie hair ties. Way less border collies, way more shelties.


A better reporter than I would have been interviewing these small dogs with a notepad, asking why they don't visit us in USDAA. And not getting much info because, hello, dogs. Then switching to talking to handlers. This reporter though got sucked into course building and gating and that was that.


There was jewelry. Mary got a pin for getting a TripleQ. It was ugly, I have to say right now. Mary, do not wear this out on a date. Awkward. Handlers received personalized envelopes with stickers and secret information. The club gave me a tie dyed t-shirt. It is blue. I am not sure that I will ever wear this. But it is the thought that counts.


Some of my friends were there. And some of my students, competing with their dogs! I never even taught them how to do a sit on the table. Does this make me a bad person? Just not something I even think about. But mostly there were people I have never met before. A whole other universe of dog agility people, same blue tents, same sporty shorts and ballcaps, same dog stickers on SUV's.

They were we. We are us. Us and them, just running around with the dog.

12 comments:

Mary said...

I did a little leash running for a 16" class. I like to leash run to see who has the coolest leash that I might want. Not that I would ever walk away with a leash I was running. Or run away with it. Certainly not at an AKC trial because YOU MUST PUT THE DOG ON THE LEASH AND THE LEASH MUST BE IN YOUR HAND EVEN IF THE DOG IS IN YOUR ARMS (guess what breed they are addressing, here) BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE RING. So, no opportunity for a potential leash thief. Or even a day-dreaming thief who would never actually run AWAY with a leash. In fact, their is a RULE IN AKC that prevents leash thievery (they really do have rules for everything - it's very relaxing because you know everything you shouldn't do in advance and the information is repeated often so you do not forget what not to do). You must run the leash INSIDE the ring and duck under photographers trying to take pictures of shelties (how do they tell which one they are shooting?). Lots of very, very thin leather leashes that when dropped in the grass look like snakes. One orange black yellow brown thin braided leather one gave me a wiff of PTSD because it looked so much like a coral snake.

But we had a lovely time all weekend because only three classes a day and way plenty of time to gossip I mean sit and talk with friends when you should have been working if you were a good person, which Laura is, but she still manages to take pictures and do reporting. Ariel and I had a clean weekend, meaning we Q'd in every single Novice B class. Thank god. Just think if we hadn't!

GooseMaverick said...

As one of your students at the show, I have to say, I love your hat.

Digesting the show at the end of the day, some of the things you've told us came filtering through. Gus did jumpers,on Sunday, the first part of the course he ran amuck, and then nailed the second part which was harder with the weaves! What filtered through my brain was your talking about warm up. I just need to warm him up different, we need to run amuck somewhere, then focus with tricks and then go in the ring! He hunts the same way.

Goose, my home schooled boy rocked! He likes doing tricks before he goes in, just like my excellent agility teacher taught me! He knocked a bar which caused him to miss the next jump and I ran wildly around the long way as I don't know how to do a rear cross with him yet. He sniffed each pole as he weaved through them. He was so happy as again my excellent agility teach taught me to be positive (I was on cloud nine!) and then when we left the ring there was a lovely band of spectators sitting at the exit that he got to sniff. He loves smelling people, more than a food reward I think.

You are helping me learn this agility language and for that I thank you! What a fun world!

PS- it was fun to be able to walk a course with Mary too. Seeing someone nice and familiar grounded me!

team small dog said...

Allright! Great job Mary of the TripleQ's and Great job Teresa first trial for the hound and pointer dogs! Wow!

I am sorry I did not get to actually see these runs and guess what, you can get the exact same hat at Target and it will match your new tie-dye shirt!

Amanda said...

I am still trying to work up the courage to try an AKC trial. Around here I think pretty much all of the clubs have decided mutts are okay. Which is good because I have two mutts and zero purebreds.

Lynn U said...

I would just like to say that I would rather be confused with Otterpop than skewered on the barbie. Frankly, I'd probably rather be skewered by Otterpop and then raid the barbie. But little dogs are cool and who cares about who their parents are. That's what this Tervuren thinks.

--Taz the Terv

PS USDAA sounds very confusing, with many classes with strange names like Snookers, which should be a name for a small dog. When I am sure that The Person can run an Excellent Jumpers course without getting lost maybe she can think about classes with strange names. Not that I'm a small dog. I notice you only wanted small dogs to come join you in USDAA. Not that there is an Us and Them.

team small dog said...

Any dogs should come and join us in USDAA! But we already have sixty gazillion 22" dogs, and I believe about eight 12" dogs.

Mary said...

P.S. I had to give the triple Q pin back because that is just for Excellent dogs. Because well, Novice is too easy to triple Q in, I guess. Though, have to say there were some tricky parts to those Novice courses. I will not tell you who should have known better than to give me that pin because it's very nice to have fans in advance of actual accomplishments.

Teri said...

just a little comment on why all the shelties at AKC, my guess, 16 1/4" inch dogs that USDAA thinks should jump 22". Hello, Ken, do you care? Well, I like AKC and USDAA, but I like to be able to jump my dog at championship height without it being almost 6 inches over his head. Just my thought. I'm glad team small dog can play AKC if they want to. And I'm glad to play USDAA, too.

Elf said...

Can you believe that the club that won't take mixed breeds has several bay team members who are flummoxed about the sudden club decision to not allow it, here in this liberal california agility hotbed? I guess I shouldn't mention that it's the Terv club, as I wouldn't want to bias anyone. I don't actually know the official name of the Terv Club, so I can't mention their name, so I won't.

penichops said...

Ok, so what is the go with you all and tie-dye? When people come down to do seminars and they are from America they invariable wear tie-dye: I name the following Stacey Pardot-hurdie-gurdies, Rhonda Carter, I think I recollect Rob Michalski.

I dont understand. It was the same when I visited too. Susan Salo: Tie-dye, Other agility people: Tie-dye.

team small dog said...

I have no explanation for the tie-dye other than perhaps because the Grateful Dead used to live nearby, back in the 60's when many dog agility people were alive and perhaps also hippies and they do not want us to forget it?

Hippies also like dogs very much although these tend to be huskies on long, frayed ropes. And the hippies now don't actually wear tie-dyes, they wear piercings and mohawks and the dog agility people wear tie-dyes.

It is all very confusing.

I now own my first tie dye. I did not put it on to course build, I just could not bring myself to wear it. I would prefer a Cher costume I think. Or Nancy Sinatra boots and a Peter Fonda jacket. Maybe next AKC trial I go to.

Elf said...

The cool people wear tie-dye. Most of us aren't hippies; we are your basic middle-class professionals. Tie-dye is like abstract art for the body. (here are some abstract art tie dyed hankies a friend did for me: http://www.finchester.org/dogs/dog_diary/uploaded_images/IMG_7361HankiesTiedyeFlash_crfx-784473.jpg) Plus you can get it in just about any colors you want, unlike "normal" clothing, where you can only buy the colors that some fashion conspiracy has determined to be In this year.

People ask me, too, what is it with tie dye and agility, particularly in california? I dunno, maybe it's more prevalent in california, where everyone wore tie dye in the '60s and '70s because they were still required to wear suits or dresses to work so it was a way to get away from all the drabness. But even Clean run for a while carried the most groovy, awesome, rad tie-dye t-shirt for a while that I wish I had bought, that also said clever agility things like "Run fast, run clean, run groovy", and "Peace/Love/agility". Sort of like this: http://www.finchester.org/dogs/dog_diary/uploaded_images/P4210029GroovyTshirt-747753.JPG
I mean, how cool is that??