An Open Letter to the Ladies of the Club

Dear Club Ladies,

Thank you ever so much for holding agility practice last night. I so admire your fancy matching weimerarners and vislas that run the course like its the last thing they will do on this earth. Your long blond ponytails that were cool in the eighties while you were in high school swing mightily in the breeze as you tug with your ever-so-drivey dog.

As I am sure you could tell by the absence of personalized license plate or custom decals plastered across my vehicle stating my MACH status, I am still relatively new at this. In case you couldn’t yourself deduce the fact that I did not buy my dog from a breeder for thousands of dollars at eight weeks and raise him to be the most-perfectly-behaved-dog-in-the-universe, let me confirm for ya, I didn’t. The fact that we can more-or-less make it around a course—unfenced, in the middle of a city park—two run offs to rudely harass bystanding dogs or getting stuck in the tunnel notwithstanding, is a minor miracle. You have no freakin’ idea.

Go ahead and make snarky comments and snicker under your breath and say “We better go stand over HERE” the next time I run my course. Go right ahead. I didn’t come here to make friends. I already have many, many lovely friends I do a horrendous job of keeping up with as it is. I don’t need to add you to that list and I am definitely not going to waste any brain cells trying.

However, the next time I am running a course, and you start TEARING IT DOWN while I am still on it, I am going to grab that goddamn tacky-ass ponytail and helicopter you South into the tennis courts. Or even better, straight over into the dog park. Because god FORBID you get any untrained, unMACHed poorly-bred designer dog shit on your mommy jeans.

Don’t you worry, I will keep coming back. I paid my $20 to belong to this club just like the rest of you, and I am going to use every last cent of it. Even if its agonizing for all involved. Especially if its agonizing for you Ponytail.

And to the board member with the 8 screaming Bassett Hounds, keep it real lady. You were the only one who was even remotely kind to us last night. I guess you can sympathize with us, as none of these other people seem to have started out new at anything. Ever.

L & F


2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Ladies of the Club

  1. Hi there-

    I used to practice with a really great trainer when I was teaching my first agility dog Ruby, who would spend most of the practice running away to eat chicken bones at the bbq pit at the park where weset our stuff up. On days that there were no chicken bones, she’d run away to chase kids playing soccer. Me and the good trainer lady who had most of the stuff were both self taught, she had a champion border collie already, I had a chicken bone running away dog. Both our dogs were rescued, just very different dogs and levels of dog training skills.

    It was hard. And demeaning. And humbling. And embarrassing. Moments of agility with more moments of awful. I stopped practicing there because of the shame of it all, it was probably a relief to her, she wanted to get some practicing in and me and Ruby were just a wreck of a team. She always kept inviting me though.

    This probably isn’t helpful. I guess I am writing it to you though, because agility is supposed to be fun and I wanted to learn to do it so badly, but when I was stressed out it made my dog stressed out so I had to keep looking to find ways to do it less stressfully. This took years, I think actually, because I didn’t realize this was what I was doing. I just wanted to do agility, and was looking for any way to do it, by hook or by crook.

    I had to try different combinations of classes and lessons, finding people to practice with, renting practice space. I also had/have a very challenging work schedule, which always made it seem nearly impossible. I found that a monthly private lesson with one amazing instructor, and a great weekly class with another instructor that became my mentor and good friend, and renting space to practice on my own worked really well. I like to have a specific plan when I practice, and it was hard to do that with other people.

    It can also be hard to practice when you have the stress of all the stuff is out, it’s “Practice Time” and you paid your money and you got the time off and that day, maybe all your dog can handle is going to be recalls on a long line. I have a dog like that. It just is what it is, and I have to stay calm and understanding and stay in the moment, and unfrustrated with how it is. Being all zen like that almost always makes things go better.

    I don’t know if any of this is helpful or topical. Whenever I read your blog it reminds me a lot of me when I first started agility, and I had a really hard time most of the time, to the point of, actually, why did I even stick with it? Stubborn and pig headed, I guess. But I’m still here, and still trying to get better. I think you will stick with it, and keep looking to find people you like to do agility with and keep getting better at figuring out your dogs. Keep finding ways to keep it fun!

    Also that place you went in Joshua Tree looks awesome-I LOVE it out there and tried to get my husband to move down there a long time ago. No go.

    Yer pal,
    Laura & Team Small Dog

    • Hi Laura,

      Thanks for the nice words. And yes, it is helpful. Fortunately these club practices are “supplemental” for me, otherwise they probably would drive me to quit. I am still seeking the magical combo of trainer-space-friends… I have yet to be dialed in with any of them, but I too am pig headed, so I will keep soldiering on, friends or not. I have class with a new trainer at a new facility on Monday that I found through another girl I like (but don’t know well) so maybe this will be the one I connect with. And if not, I will keep looking.

      The good thing about all this bouncing around is that Forest has become way more acclimated to new environments. Again, I am really proud of the fact that even though this dog will literally, still, RUN away from me around home, on walks, down the highway, etc., somehow (dont ask me how) he knows to mostly focus and keep it together to do agility in these types of environments. He has a long way to go, but I am very proud of him. Nine months ago the sight of an unfenced agility course less than a mile from a busy road would have had me packing back up the car and driving straight home.

      I like the idea of the monthly private lesson a lot. Same goes for the renting space—that has crossed my mind, but I havent really looked very hard. I seem to have poisoned my small patio space at home, so I havent been pushing the issue and havent really been doing any training here. I will start keeping my eyes and ears open, maybe something will pop up.

      RE Joshua Tree—I know, right??? I cant believe I had never been out there before. The town itself isnt really much to look at, but once you start investigating you start uncovering the low-flying cool things and people. Plus the older I get the more I love the desert… My BF said “Hell No” as well. Maybe I can have my own trailer for weekend getaways out there…

      Again, thanks for the support, it means a lot to have someone out there rooting for us.

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