June 13th, 2008

Princess

Zodi Baloney

and Zodilicious are her first two nicknames.

I'm having the best time with her, just watching her and playing with her and noticing the things she's learning. She's so sweet and cute I could possibly eat her before she's fully grown.

She's starting to come running when I call her name now and she hops right into her crate if I put some food in there first. And she and Devon are playing up a storm. It's great to see them getting along so well but also a reminder that I need to get her out to meet other appropriate dogs and puppies. I'm hoping that her cup will come off tomorrow when I take her to see her "Grandma" (the breeder who owns her father). Until the sutures come out and the cup comes off she can't really play with other dogs in case they hurt her ears.

Here are a few pics from yesterday:





feathered

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Words and music by David Bowie

Lyrics
I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I'm going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Pretty soon you're gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time


This song keeps going through my mind--well, not all of it because I've never known all the words before--just the "Ch Ch Ch Changes, (turn and face the stranger)" part. But now that I look at the lyrics I can definitely relate to some of them.

Since I haven't been doing much agility for the past two months or so I've had more time to think which is something I like to do. But for me, thinking takes a lot of time and space. I need to be quiet to think, it isn't something I can do when I'm around other people.

One of the things I've been pondering is whether or not I want to continue to do agility. It's not that I don't love it still, I do, it's just that it takes so much time and I have so little free time as it is that doing agility leaves me almost no time for anything else. And lately I've wondered if it's really the pursuit for me anymore.

When I first started doing agility it hadn't been around long at all in the US. In fact, the AKC hadn't even started their program and there was only USDAA, NADAC (which was brand new) and UKC or as it was called back then, Kramer agility. I can remember going to the first USDAA trial in our area up in Danville, VA hosted by a woman named Beverly. It took only one qualifying run back then to earn a Starters title and I remember how excited a friend was when she got a clear round and earned her AD. I had already started taking lessons with my Dobe, Haven, and I haven't stopped since.

As the years have gone by I've spent more time and more money on agility every year. Where I used to go to about 4-6 trials a year (in USDAA, NADAC and AKC combined), now I go to up to 2-3/month. And that doesn't include the camps, seminars and lessons I usually attend either. I read Clean Run, I look at videos on You Tube, I read email lists and blogs, I buy books and DVDs all in an attempt to stay current with the sport. It's starting to seem as if I don't dare slow down or I'll fall hopelessly behind.

But at the same time I'm working full-time, have a house, yard and agility field to take car of, meals to prepare, grocery shopping and laundry to do, family and friends to stay in touch with and--oh yeah--a husband and dogs to care for. I don't remember the last time I read a non-agility book or listened to music. Do I really need a hobby that requires so much time, money and effort?

And agility today isn't much like the agility I started out doing. It really was primarily a way for dog people who weren't interested in Conformation, Obedience or Tracking to get together and have fun with their dogs. It hadn't evolved into such a sport yet and people seemed to laugh more--at themselves mostly. Nowadays I rarely see anyone taking it lightly--too much is at stake once you get to Masters and Excellent. A person might have spent a lot of time and money getting their dog into Exc B now whereas 15 years ago there was hardly anyone giving lessons nevermind seminars.

I'm not so blinded by nostalgia as to wish that agility could go back to the way it was, just a little sad that the focus seems to be more on being proficient and less on having fun. I find myself wondering if, with so many people trying so hard to excel, we haven't lost a little of the joy along the way. And I know these aren't original thoughts by any means, I've heard plenty of other people voice the same concern. It's just the first time I've felt this way.

I suppose this type of feeling might be why some people are going to CPE and NADAC trials. Maybe agility will become a two track sport. One track (USDAA and AKC) will be for people who like the focus to be on performance while the other track (CPE, DOCNC, NADAC and others) will be composed of people who like the focus to be on fun and not getting too serious. But what about the people in the middle? Will they be forced to be a little schizophrenic? One weekend trying as hard as they can to qualify and the next really just out there because they felt like seeing their friends and hanging out with their dogs?

These are the thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind lately. Nothing productive like how am I going to train Devon's A-frame or exactly which proprioceptive exercises I'm going to do with Zodi first. Maybe it's because it's been too hot to be running around outside, maybe because I'm just philosophical by nature.

Do you fall into one camp or the other? Or would you say you're solidly in the middle?