03 March 2015

The goats, they mock me. Welcome to my unmotion based handling system.

The saddest insult so far was to hobble all the way down the path at an excruciatingly slowest ever pace, just to be waylaid by 450 bleating goats upon arriving at the other side of the field. My walking speed is now 1mph, a personal best verified by an app, which equates to, yes, 1 hour to walk the loop around the bluff that used to be a few minutes of jog dash walk run. If I wanted, my app could upload this speed into a cloud and I'd online race with anonymous others on the internet. But I'm not agonna do that. Right? Because nobody else is that freaking SLOW, for goshsakes, and now there's goats here. All that shuffling along, and then the field's full of creep faced, serial killer eyed goats as far as you can see.

The goats are there to eat the brush which in turn will be scraped into dust by a backhoe to become the new parking lot to get ready for the new construction of the all the new buildings. So that makes the goats that much worse. They're not just goats. They're the beginning of a paved paradise for a parking lot ending.

Knee surgery could totally be teaching me lessons in patience and persistence and change. We must learn to bend and flex like the bamboo, grasshopper, not sit around and whine like a drunk lady in soiled trousers under the pier. Like I am lucky to even have a knee, right? Some people don't get to keep 'em. They lop em out and the de-kneed walk on stumps and the fact that mine is still in there is an effing gratitude. Righty-o, cranky pants? I am all about healthy eating of greens and best use of anti-inflammatories and tumeric. Everybody keeps telling me about the tumeric. Did you eat the tumeric? As if an expensive root is going to fix this situation. But I'll gag it down, mashed up in my tofu. And excellence of dog training. Are you creatively coming up with conniving ways to exercise the crafty mind of a young border collie who is used to galloping several miles a day up, over, and through steep forest terrain? How good are those circus dog tricks looking?

Instead, I've learned that if the rotten teethed meth people are blocking the entrance to the park, their beater Suburban overflowing with damaged goods, do not hobble by them. Same when you turn the corner down by the pond and the homeless guys and accompanying pitbulls tethered on various short pieces of twine are gathered together, having a smoke. Do not hobble by them. Always in the past, I knew that if it came down to it, I could run really fast and the dogs would run and if something shady is about to go down, off we go. Or perhaps a ranger who would be directing me to get the hell out of where I am. But now, 1 mph looks really different from where I'm standing and I defer to the meth people and the pitbull dudes and we go looking for somewhere else to walk.

Dog agility, can happen, sort of. Not really. Not how we ever used to know it. My border collie has been learning weave poles and her running dogwalk while I am posted in a stationary position. Unmotion based handling system. To do a few runs across the dogwalk, which by runs I mean only her, while I stand perfectly still and I send her across the field to a tunnel. This new skill of a go on to a tunnel nearly 30 meters away will surely bite me in the ass at a later date, but for now it's a nifty party trick that gets her on the dogwalk. I throw a toy, she brings it back, but there is mostly the moving of many equipments hither and tither. The dirty, hidden side of dog agility. The dragging and the carrying. I never really noticed how much I drag stuff around before. At the rate of 1 tunnel bag per hour, a tunnel moved into a new position is an all day project.

There are videos on the internet of a handler standing stock still in the middle of a field while their border collie speeds around a tricky course on 100% verbal cues and subtle licks of a lip or a finger brushing the air. Right, it will be so great for your distance skills! I will tell you right now, my dogs like me to run. At the very least, for me to move faster than a sad little sand turtle about to be plucked off by a turtle bird.

You know who always wins that one? The turtle bird. Every time.

The grocery store, the pet store, these places that used to be quick stops, now an plodding, toiling exercise in gritted teeth and strong determination that just 3 more steps makes it across the parking lot. How did a bag of blueberries and string cheese get so goddamn heavy? I look around and it's me and the grandma types, us in our sturdy shoes with questionable walking skills and now I get it. I am one of them! I am their people now, us in our sweat pants and kind, supportive yet very ugly sandals, slowly just trying to get something done.

The next slow grandma type I see, I give her the celebrity nod. I read this in Interview magazine once, it's how celebrities give each other knowing glances when they see their kin across the crowded brunch room at the Chateau Marmont. You go sort of squinty eyed and slowly drop your chin. Make the eye contact from all the way on the edge of your eye. I use it on the next limping, gray haired lady, in pullup denim slacks and Birkentocks. She averts her eyes. I am that grotesque.

Health and well being. Just an ice pack away.

I have cerveza and fresh tangerine juice. Oxycontin and the cute little tylenol/codeine mashup one. A Costco sized jar of advils. Hand made hard apple cider caramels. Vintage fantagraphics comics and netflix documentaries about African mountain gorillas. I can't get enough of mountain gorillas. I have lap sitting dog and a comedian dog and an unexercised dog who has now chased both trucks and helicopters far, far away. But on the bright side, did not die! The senior citizen dog averts her eyes when I hobble by, she slowly climbs up into her chair. This is as good as it gets.

Dog agility pals, if the surgeries haven't happened to you, they very well might one day. Who woulda thunk it would ever be me in the crutches and knee brace crowd, me be the one with a business gone down the shitter, discussing arthritis meds and coupons. I wasn't even sure I was a grown up, and then I got upgraded all the way to senior citizen with one chop of the hatchet.

Eat your glucosamines, do your yoga. Be happy you even got legs. Your dogs are going to be just fine, they'll probably live without that massage. Just when you thought everything was going to be fine, it might not be. So buck up and deal with it. Or not. Today's cheery thoughts brought to you by: https://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/health/


Tammy Moody said...

In my dream vision, caught by the dream catcher, you are running with candy colored border collies, who can knock drones from the sky with gold glitter laser beams that shoot out of their crystal blue eyes. You watch the drones fall into fields of construction, burning the half built buildings into ash and turning the parking lots into rubble, it makes the goats run and curse. You ride on your magical unicorn horse through fields of nothing but purple needle grass and buttercups, no other grasses, except for maybe blue wheat grass and wild rye. When you get home Foxygen has made you an omelet from free range chicken eggs and a pot of organic, locally roasted coffee. You sit wearing red velvet flare pants, a wide collar pin stripe button-up with bare feet and discuss Robert Anton Wilson. It is a good morning.

Diana said...

Oh, my sympathy on the knee surgery. I was there, with the hobbling, with the non-motion-based handling and training, seven and a half years ago, after the surgeon removed the bone cancer from my left knee. I was lucky--because of agility, I got it done early and so, no amputation. Just months and years of rehab.

I hope your recovery is swift.

team small dog said...

Yeah I am pretty fun when I'm so cheery.

Tammy, I think we have the same brain.

Diana, I am certainly glad they didn't have to cut any cancer out of my knee. It sure sucks though.

Jodi, eh? said...

You can now come to Canada and compete in our Nationals. One third of our points are based on our outrageously hard distance gamble courses. You will kick ass and then have all our crazed competive Canadian handlers hate you. Come (in the summer though). It will be fun!!!!
PS I am really sorry that you are having such a tough time.

Alaska said...

Seen the hobbling. Seen the recovery. You will get there.

The dogs will wait for you. That's what dogs do.

I always enjoy reading your blog, regardless of which of you is writing. Thanks, and best wishes.