It was dog agility, in fact, that led me to get my first purebred dog after years and years of shelter rescued mixed breeds. I was at an International horse trial and there was an agility trial going on up by the Trade Fair tents. Well, I had just never seen anything so cool in my life! Here I was, a grownup who used to train my childhood dog to jump lawn chairs, broomsticks, sideways ladders, et cetera, pretending poor Rex was a horse. And now, here was a whole sport with real dog stuff. I was getting a little old and brittle to be falling off a horse which was jumping a four foot fence, and here was a fun sport where if you fell, you “only” fell off your own two feet. (Remember that “only”, dear readers; it will come back to bite me in my ample butt.)
So fifteen years ago, I entered the world of purebred dogs, purely to do dog agility. Only that first purebred dog, Miss Gracious, Her Royal Highness Queen of All, had a different opinion. She felt that if I had this big desire for jumping and climbing and being so undignified, I could go right ahead and do it. She would watch. She would not, however, climb on a seesaw, wait for the thing to go bang on the ground and climb down off it. She would not leap over a twenty-inch, gaily striped jump just because it would please the Servant. She would fly over a four-foot barbed wire cattle fence to follow a disappearing deer, without thinking twice or batting a beautiful eye, but that was an entirely different matter, now, wasn’t it? She would agree to showing off her loveliness at a dog show, and field trials were her idea of a fine time, so there I went. Weekends were devoted to doing that which pleased the Queen.
Now, fifteen years later, I am doing agility with five-year-old Sam I Am. Never mind that I said I would start with him when he was six months old. We had the Big Move and I’m sure I could bore you with about a million other excuses. I’m great at finding excuses. But Sam I Am is entered in his first Agility Trial in six weeks. I could technically say that he has been in training for four years. But I don't think one practice session a year counts.
Thanks to the kindness of fellow Paducah Kennel Club members (especially Martha, wow!!) I am slowly learning. Sam I Am learns fast and is really awesome. He is handicapped by me. WE practiced today in Martha's excellent yard on her fantastic equipment. Here is club member Judy with her gorgeous Standard Poodle Tessa, showing how it's done.
Tessa waits to start as Judy goes over her strategy.
Tessa flies over a jump while Judy shows her with the subtlest of graceful hand signals what comes next.
Tessa zips through the weave poles as Judy claps her encouragement. "Weave Tess! Good Girl! Go, go, go!!"
Now, here is what poor Sam I Am has to contend with...
I don't know. I may be too old for this!
Have fun with your dog, no matter how old you are...