SUMMARY: A brief bio.I've been a member of The Bay Team since not long after I started agility lessons, without ever really intending to become an active member (ha! we know how that turned out!). I joined SMART when that club formed, although I consider myself more a supporting member. I attend several other clubs' events regularly but never joined; finally decided that I really ought to join more of them both as a sign of general support and to keep up on the news.
So I joined more clubs (aren't we lucky to have so many with members located nearby?). And one asked for a photo and a new member bio. Well, I hardly think I'm new to most of their members, but OK, I'll indulge:
My obedience instructor suggested agility to me as I was running out of other things to try with my smart and energetic rescue Squirrelhünd, Remington (competitive obedience, tracking, tricks). I fell in love with the sport from the instant that I saw the brilliantly colored obstacles on the emerald green lawn with dogs doing unbelievable feats before my very eyes. I signed up for classes at Power Paws Agility (except back then, in 1995, they hadn't come up with that name yet). My instructors finally convinced me to try a competition, and I did, at a mudful NADAC trial in January 1996 in San Martin. And we got some Qs and some ribbons! And you know what happened next: More agility, and more and more and more! I had to keep my day job as a technical writer to pay for the agility entry fees, the agility training, the agility shoes, the agility videos, the agility gear bags, the agility team shirts, the agility canopy, the agility obstacles for the yard, the agility minivan MUTT MVR, and, of course, the agility house Taj Mutthall in San Jose.
I've competed with four very different dogs and we've earned Qs in NADAC, ASCA, CPE, and USDAA. My second dog, Jake the Semidachshund, earned Championships in all four, but now there are so many trials available that I've concentrated on USDAA with some CPE; my third dog, Tika the rescue Craussie, has Championships in both of those. My fourth dog, Boost the nonrescue Border Collie (littermate to locals Bette, Beck, and Derby and Top Ten dog Gina (sibling envy? what sibling envy?))--well, let's say that she loves to do agility, or any other active and interesting job. She particularly excels at bringing in the newspaper every morning so I don't have to step outside no matter the weather.
I've watched the sport and my own skills change. I'm delighted (in retrospect) how I went from huddling in a dark corner many years ago, cursing the dog gods and myself because we couldn't get even the easiest gambles, to thrilling about Tika's position as the #2 Gambling dog in USDAA Performance 22" for the year 2011. Having great instructors and, yes, sigh, practicing really helped with that.
Tika turns 11, Boost turns 7, and I turn [mumblety-mum] at the end of January; and I'm still shaping up my thoughts on what's next for all of us. I know that photography fits in there somewhere, and hiking, and yeah, sure, someday I'll get back to that budding fiction-writing career that I abandoned 16 years ago for the slings and arrows of dogwalk contacts.
I blog about all this at TajMutthall.org.