I have read several blogs lately about pups who compete in agility courses. I am proud of all these dogs and try to give them a big congratulatory kiss at the finish line. (This is also the best way to get your picture on the cover of Dog Agility Magazine without having to break a pant.) But I am tired of having the dogs who do agility on courses getting all the glory.
What about the dogs like me? The ones who do agility all day long without getting any glory or ribbons. Well I am here to sing their praises.
My agility course begins in the morning when I am gently lifted out of my warm bed and placed on the cold floor. I have to walk from the bedroom rug to the hardwood floor in the living room, back on to a rug, then the hardwood and then finally the linoleum on the kitchen. The changes in paw placement and force going from one surface to another is very difficult. And I have to use a great deal of balance on the hardwood floor so your paws don’t slip out.
The next step is holding my head still so my sleepy eyed Daddy can hook my leash. Then I need to go one step down to the porch and four steps down to the driveway, then cross it, all with a screaming full bladder, then squat and pee. Next I need to walk on either a sidewalk or side of the road where the ground dips, rises, heaves, and cracks. I must do this with bursting bowels. Most humans, when in similar circumstance, run hunched over like Groucho Marx after committing a murder.
Then I have to find to use my sniffer to find the exact right spot on this vast planet to deposit my deposit. Once I find it I have to go through the technically difficult sequence of squatting while having my tail rise over my back so it doesn’t interfere with the discharge. There should be extra points if the weather is bad. Doing this on snow and ice should illicit tens from every judge except the German. Doing it in the rain could cause an ill advised shiver and slippage. And, being only seven pounds, a gust of wind could knock me off my squat and into my poo.
Then I have to return home, up the stairs, on to the porch, into the house, where I am scheduled to receive a treat but in my Daddy’s more sadistic moments I need to sit up, beg, or stand on my back legs for his amusement. After all this I am in need of a much needed nap.
There are other every day occurrences which call for extreme agility. When Mommy sits she does so in a recliner which has a back end that goes up and down, and, unlike most recliners, spins. So, between the time I decide to jump and when I land the whole chair could be in a different spot. I have to time the jump and be able to use my tail to guide myself in the air in case the chair moves.
There are times when Daddy and Pocket are playing ball when the ball is carelessly thrown. Either the ball or Pocket totally focused on the ball are flying at me. I have to duck, back up, or moonwalk to get out of the way. I have to be aware, and agile, to keep from getting bowled over in my own kitchen.
If you sleep in bed with your parents agility training is extremely important, especially if you have a sibling. Pocket tends to sleep snuggled up between Mommy and Daddy. I like to sleep on top of the covers near the bottom of the bed for half the night. Then I go down to the top and snuggle down. To do so I need to jump over Pocket, in the dark, land on the other side, nose under the blankets and climb under. Because I am only a few inches tall falling off the bed is like falling off the Empire State Building.
So, while I have mad respect for dogs who do agility lets not forget those who make agility a part of their everyday life. And if vicking in the wind become a agility event I am in.