18 October 2010

Otterpop's Special Kentucky TSD Edition-The end of our special series.

If you are reading this on Monday, likely Otterpop is safely stuffed back into her tote bag, and we are on the airplane, heading west. Back to the beach by way of Arizona and L.A. on one long flight, back to where you can't order cinnamon sugar cream cheese topping for your fries, back to where our leaves are green and our wood is red. And where people don't say ya'all.

I say ya'all now. Because I'm learning to talk like ya'all. And in Canadian. I am digging the Canadian. I took walks in amazing autumn colored parks, got very close to a haunted tuberculosis sanitarium, hung out a lot with my agility pals, met a lot of new agility pals, and watched a lot of top notch agility.

I liked the dog show. I heard lots of complaining. Yeah, it was in a cement monolith and the dirt footing was dusty and loose, but I actually had a grand time. I think it's good to have a change from the normal. I'm not going to line up in the whiner line. Change is good. I spent a week in a state I've never been to and saw as much of it as I could. You know what? I like Kentucky.

I spent a week with just Otterpop, and we had a blast. Far more excellent than I thought we would. Turns out Otterpop is a travel dog. She's ready for the next trip. We could to to Florida. Texas. Japan. We're ready. I sure do miss home and the other dogs, but it was great having such a good traveler.

Our agility? The wheels fell off. We narrowly missed my goal of Grand Prix finals. We did have some good runs in the qualifiers, and got a 2nd in one of them. There were good parts to every other run, but all of them had a flaw somewhere.Sometimes major. I had a great team mate, who had a far less experienced dog than I. Her dog ran great, got prizes, ran around like a pro. Otterpop? Usually the consummate team mate, experienced and consistent, comes with an experienced handler good at racking up points and negotiating courses? I dunno what happened. When a bad moment happened, it happened bad. Me and Otterpop had some of the worst runs of our life in Kentucky. That I have now moved on from, and would like to leave in the past. My confidence got shaken good. It's happened before, but never on such a large scale.

I felt bad for my team mate, I never would have predicted those disastrous runs. I'm not sure exactly what happened. Mega disaster getting dished out that I wasn't sure how to fix. I felt like a pretty big loser. No. That's not true. Like a huge loser. No. Wait. Even bigger. Mega gigantic supra loser. With half the internet watching. Which is unproductive. So I had to keep moving on, and work to improve things. I wasn't myself, Otterpop wasn't herself. Nowhere to go but up. So I patched up Otterpop's startline, refocused my attention on my courses, and we ended up far better than those days in between.

I was lucky to have my friends there, very experienced competitors both nationally and internationally. Thanks you guys! We explored parks and watched a bazillion dogs run and ate fried green tomatoes. That seemed very Kentucky. They had their ups and downs, big victories and moments of defeat. Same as me. Different kinds of pressure, but really just the same. All of us, just a bunch of dorks that really love our dogs. And french fries. They'll help me get better. I think they'll help me get a lot better. So by next year, we kick some serious ass. In Kentucky or wherever the show goes. I am sure of this. We have a new project, that starts now.


Unknown said...

I wish I could have seen some of your runs Laura. Thanks for the super fuel to help me get through Sunday!

Even though things may not have turned out as you hoped at this year's USDAA Nationals, just know that we all have to live through those kind of experiences.

If we all were to achieve our goals the first time we tried there wouldn't be much of a journey to look back on.

The lower the starting point for your climb the more spectacular the view when you eventually get to the top!

team small dog said...

Right on my new super agility pal Susan Garrett! Most excellent words of advice. I am going to use the It Takes A Village approach to my new Top Competitor project, and you are totally one of my villagers! You get a really good hut!

Anonymous said...

Your remarks on one-dog travel hit home. I'm running one dog now (and have a puppy and an old guy),and the other two stay home. It's amazing to travel with one dog. I was so used to dragging the pack around, that travelling with just her is easy stuff. We could just get in the car and head west and she'd be all, "can we stop for lunch at some place exotic like Steak N Shake"? Can we stay at a Residence Inn so we can watch a movie and cook dinner? She's just an easy travelling companion. Versus "I'm bored, I gotta pee, I want to bark, she has the bone"...I love them all but wow is it nice to just take one dog!! I actually read the Sunday Times between working and running. yes I'm not an obsessive.

Anyway loved your coverage. Otterpop and you are our heros!

Anonymous said...

Laura - It was a great pleasure teaming up with you this week, the competition was only one part of the experience - I just so enjoyed sharing both of our first nationals together. I now have a new friend and will look forward to occasionally heading to northern California and seeing you at some agility trials! Safe travels home!

Beth & Lexi

Julia said...

From the anonymous corner of the internet that's been watching this blog like a new favorite sitcom . . . my utter-novice agility Beagles & I think that you & Otterpop are amazing. Otterpop, for obvious reasons - she radiates star power and has Yoda-ears. My guys are jealous, due to the floppy ears. You, for awesome web & t-shirt design for TSD & can I say again - you mentioned John Doe in an agility blog! I've got some major humiliation-training coming up soon, trying to coax my hilarious hounds into behaving like border collies while in an agility ring. If a few bad runs make you feel that bad, I am in deep #$@! over here ;-) Safe travels & keep us posted on your journeys to an even more amazing TSD.

Unknown said...

I would like to request a hut with a cabana boy and little umbrellas for my bubbly fruit drinks please.

maryclover said...

Just want to say thanks for the exact perspective I needed on the mega big show. You are real people out there doing something you love with (one of) your best friend(s). Can't ask for more than that. (Unless it's a village and a Tim Gunn to help you along in the future).

Thanks also to contributing to Kelly's "renewed excitement" about agility. I have a feeling the courses during our dirt nights over the next few weeks are really gonna hurt.

Safe travels.

Jodi, eh? said...

Now that the cat's outta the bag and you know that there's an entire Canadian agility field of handler's who follow your blog, even the porkchops'n cheese and the gun toting beagle walker from the park couldn't bring me down from my Kentucky highlight of meeting half of team small dog. We're cheering for you, eh?

Elf said...

Otterpop will always be completely special in my eyes, no matter what she does. Putting the not-so-hot bits behind you and moving on seems like a good strategy, as well as carrying a dust mask with you for emergencies. Otterpop will rise again!

team small dog said...

Thanks for the kind words everybody!

Project Top Handler it Takes a Village now commencing, of course Susan Garrett's village hut has cabana boys. You can have extra umbrellas in your kombucha, every time! Maybe even little plastic mermaids!

We loved meeting all the Canadians! We want to be a Canadian now! Except, snow, eh? Jodi you helped keep us from getting shot in the woods because now I understand Kentucky gun laws. I think Otterpop wants to go to Canada in a tote bag. When it's not snowing. Jodi I need your email laura at teamsmalldog dot com or go on my facebook because i have a present i need to send you!

Beth we will team with you guys any time!

Mary say hi to Kelly for us!!!