a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Boiling Toil Spoils the Goil

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Boiling Toil Spoils the Goil

Our agility club, The Bay Team (external), hosted a supersized-with-fries three-day USDAA (external) agility trial at Twin Creeks Sports complex (external) in Sunnyvale. Holey sunshade, did it ever overtax my very molecules, even the athletic ones. We can enumerate the reasons (because we're using HTML and it lets us):
  1. Temperature reached 95 all three days. The slight breeze helped but not nearly enough. And of course dogs don't sweat. I do, but barely.
  2. Although the site was as compact as possible for four rings, and sat right next to the parking lot, and I hardly ever had to go to the far two rings, I stepped a tremendous number of steps. I ground myself down on both Saturday and Sunday until every muscle from my linty toes to my sweaty shoulders ached; by Monday I felt bad enough and suffered enough from a pinched something in my right hip that I concentrated my skills on sitting around rather than on doing as much casual strolling, assisting, and moving equipment. As a result, my pedometer showed, for my "sit around" day, that I covered a mere 11.9 miles (about 23,000 steps). The mortal mind boggles at how much ground I trod the two previous days.
  3. Tika competed in 17 classes, Jake in 11. Fortunately, Tika had moved up to all Masters, so I didn't need to walk completely different courses for each, although—because of Jake's deafness and Tika's speed—I did have to walk the overlapping classes (10 of them) for more repetitions than I would have for only one dog. That's a lot of bingey-hingey walkthroughs--and runs, with all of their emotional, physical, and mental intensity.
Twin Creeks has only recycled, hence nonpotable, water on the soccer field, so we had no running water with which to hose down our pups before and after their runs. We had discussed renting a water truck to come in for the weekend, but the expense (or something) prevented that. The solution turned out to be two dog-bath-sized metal tubs filled with ice water; Twin Creeks personnel appeared every hour or two throughout the weekend on a golf cart with a barrel of fresh cold water with which to refill the tubs, followed by buckets full of ice. Freshly filled tubs were numbing; they'd hit Tika just about chest level and Jake about halfway up his body. I'd get the dogs in, splash the water over them quickly until my fingers started feeling painfully numb (about 10 seconds), then let them pop out again.

By the time the time came for the next refill, the tubs were left with about six inches of brown, grassy, dog-hair laced, nearly luke-warm water. I kept thinking, "Gee, I hope that, unlike two-year-old humans, dogs' first reaction to being immersed in water isn't to loosen their bladders."

It was certainly better than no water, however. But--for the father, nothing. (Or mother, too.)

I, myself, drank prodigiously and produced barely a drop of liquid output.

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