a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: A Memorial Day to Remember

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Memorial Day to Remember

SUMMARY: Agility demo and complete exhaustion. A good time was had by all.

We did an agility demo today for our neighborhood association's Memorial Day parade and fair. (We didn't do the parade.) We used my agility equipment rather than trying to find a driver and bring up a trailer from wherever they're currently located--Salinas or some such place. And here is all my agility equipment (save the dogwalk): three tunnels, Aframe, teeter, 7 jumps, chute, table, weaves (partly borrowed), broad jump, tire, fence posts (some borrowed). [Remember that you can click photos here to see a much larger view for details.]

I have never done so much equipment hauling and cleaning and mending in my life. Hours yesterday, hours today. I'se all wored out. Fortunately, BAS, who also lives in the neighborhood, came early with her strong-backed spouse and helped me set up and then helped me haul everything home at the end of the day. Here she is talking to interested parties, while interested Jersey puzzles me out.

I vowed to take a photo of the whole group of us and our dogs together for posterity, but... it got busy, I got tired, I just forgot.

We started setting up at 8 because they wanted us done by 11 for the parade to arrive at 11:30, and there were only 2 of us, so it took a while. When the parade arrived, so did a bunch of interesting vehicles. Like the Sharks fire engine.
And these vehicles. Holy Achilles Tendon, look at how skinny those ankles are! How do they hold up those huge beasts? (I mean the horses of course.)

The fair included the main "stage" (canopies over part of the pavement), one burger stand with a huuuuuuge line, one drink stand, a few crafts stands, half a dozen games booths, and a central volunteers booth at which to buy tickets for food and games.

Looked like there might have been a thousand people there (I'm not convinced...maybe 500? A lot, anyway.

They had a long program of sequential entertainments. Frankly, everyone came, ate, checked out the games, and left. We were supposed to be after the high school jazz band and by the time the band played, the crowd was down to maybe 50 people scattered around. Then they stuck in the Tae Kwon Do exhibition. Quite a few people stopped by from time to time to ask when we were going to do our demo, and some said they couldn't wait and sorry.

So--the parade arrived at 11:30, the main Memorial Day ceremonies and parade awards took less than an hour, and within an hour after that, pretty much everyone was gone.

We were finally on around 2:30, and the 30 or 40 people who were left came over and were a very good audience. Nothing like the hundreds we'd been expecting.

If we do this event again, we won't do it under those circumstances. It had gotten quite warm by then, and three of our dogs didn't want to be out in the heat doing agility. And while I understand that they have a program and everyone wants their turn to do their stage bit, they'd be much better off running parallel programs, which would give everyone their turn but also allow the audience choices of things to do AND maybe therefore get them to stay around longer to WATCH the things. And I can assure you that, if I'd thought the audience would be only 30 people, I wouldn't have volunteered to show up.

But, even given all that, it's always a blast to get to run your dogs on a fun course, away from home, not in class, not in competition, and for free! (Except for the time involved.) Everyone did a bit of practicing here and there while waiting our turn. We also talked to a lot of people who had come over and were hanging around waiting for the official demo to start, and we talked to them about our dogs, demonstrated some tricks and some training methods, showed some individual obstacle performances, and like that. Then maybe 15-20 minutes of demo, including explaining the equipment and then running a course. Then, after the demo was over and everyone had run, the audience vanished from the site POOF! and we all ran it again and did little sequences and things with our dogs.

Boost is SO FAST! Man, she hauls! Got tremendous OOoohs from the audience when she slammed into the weave entry and continued correctly at her lightning speed... but then, dang, popped out at #8. More than once. And she was knocking bars. But her contacts were excellent, we didn't have any runouts or refusals, although we did have a little confusion and I just couldn't keep up with her! She loved it! Tika was her usual fast-enough consistent self and enjoyed schmoozing with the audience and getting treats for tricks (backing up to "beep beep beep" like trucks do was a crowd pleaser).

I met a couple of new agility people and got to see a couple of folks whose dogs have retired from agility so I don't see them at trials any more, but they were willing to come out and do this and jump at a nice easy low height. And for sure I burned a tremendous number of calories! I should sleep well tonight! Bring on the ibuprofen!

And I learned this valuable lesson: When you clear EVERYTHING out of the van to try to fit in all the agility equipment, don't remove the bag with the sun lotion!

Looking in the mirror after a long hard sunny day.


  1. I forgot to mention that I offered to organize this demo because the event was just up the street from my house, maybe 3 minutes drive depending on the one stoplight between here and there. How often does that happen?

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