Sunday, February 12, 2006

It's a beautiful mornin'

First things first: I don't care much for Twinkies, but the Twinkies Bake Set looks like a lot of fun. I think I want one.

Now our regularly scheduled programming: Aside from being a bit chilly, today started as a lovely day, with skies of blue and sunshine (dark clouds are starting to form as I write, but I'm going to pretend they aren't there for now) Yesterday, however, was about as ugly as a day could get without actual sleet or freezing rain. It was gray with an almost constant cold rain--fluctuating from a slightly annoying sprinkle to a determined drizzle--all day long. Most weather-forecasting types advised people to curl up on a cozy sofa and watch movies all day, so what did I do? Dog Agility! Outside! In the rain! And the mud!

(Warning: I'm going to talk about dog agility, waterproof clothing and other niche topics. Click away now if you feel you have better things to do.)

Fortunately, I was more-or-less prepared for such a day. I had invested in an inexpensive but decent set of waterproof outerwear, and I was delighted to discover that it did indeed keep the parts it covered dry. I was also pleased to discover that the wide-brimmed waterproof hat Mr. Pants got me for x-mas did its job perfectly. The one weak link was my footwear: because it was spposed to be cold, I had decided against wearing my super hi-tech Vasque Gore-tex trail-runners (they don't keep my feet warm) in favor of some cheap-but-warm-and-comfy hiking boots that I had treated with brush-on silicone waterproofing. They worked wonderfully from 7 am until about 3 pm when, as I was walking my last course of the day, I started feeling a cold wetness spreading across my socks. "Ack, my boots just started leaking!" I said to no one in particular. Some guy who was also walking the course replied that his had just started leaking too. Perhaps it was a lot to ask of the boots--parts of the field had become little mud bogs.

The good news is that I did not slip in all the mud--usually in class I'm the one who will completely wipe out when the field is even slightly damp. I would love to find a shoe that combines a supportive (and waterproof) hiking-boot style upper with a field-hockey style sole. If anyone knows of such a beast please advise.

As for Lucy, she was as much of a gamer as a prissy little dog who doesn't generally like rain or wet feet can be. We have class in all kinds of weather, so she's become accustomed to doing agility in less-than-ideal conditions. Her ethos seems to be "I'm with you as long as I receive lots of delicious treats." She ran fast and acted very enthusiastic about the whole thing ... so enthusiastic that the slightest miscue on my part put her over the wrong obstacle before I could open my mouth to call her off. So we didn't qualify in any of our runs. We did win two first place ribbons and one second, by virtue of the fact that the other dogs in our height class either didn't show up (wimps!) or did about as poorly as we did. I am very happy that I didn't enter her in Standard (in USDAA that's the "everything" course, and I didn't enter because we've been having problems hitting our contacts) because I don't think I would have gotten Lucy to "down" on the table. It was wet and cold, and lots of dogs did not want to lie down on it--one little chihuahua just stood there and quivered as her handler got increasingly frustrated. About the fourth time she said "DOWN!" (sounding a little angrier each time), I almost wanted to jump into the ring and yell at the handler to stop. All she was doing was scaring her cute little dog.

At any rate, the agility trial was, as always, a learning experience. I've added several things to my lengthy list of Stuff We need To Work On. Oh and I learned another important lesson: don't lock your keys (and your dog, cell phone, wallet, etc.) in your car at an agility trial. Especially when it's cold and pouring rain and the car was your only place to stay warm and dry. Because not all agility trials will be in a location where your husband, who has the only other key to you car, is only about 45 minutes away.

No comments: