December 29th, 2008


Culture Shock and Other Musings

Got back from the beach last night and went right back to work this morning. Ugghhh! Horrible culture shock. I should try to remember that I need at least 24 hours at home before returning to work to give myself time to readjust to the real world.
I didn't post much from the beach because I was too busy. Hubby's entire family (almost) was there which made it hard to find time to write. And since a couple of them are allergic to dogs and one of my (little) nieces is afraid of dogs, I had to keep all three dogs crated and upstairs in our bedroom while they were inside. Trying to get all three of them downstairs and out the door while running the gauntlet of new people, lots of presents lying around and food everywhere was a challenge every time. It definitely won't happen again--at least not with all three dogs.
The dogs did have a wonderful time on the beach, though. And Zodi has made some progress since we were there in October. She didn't bark at as many people, especially if I concentrated on beginning a game of tug as soon as she registered that someone was coming down the beach toward us. She was able to tug right past people as long as they weren't too close or too weird looking (we kept running into beachcombers carrying all kinds of weird accoutrements).
I really enjoyed spending time with my hubby's family again. Especially since they've been my family, too, since 1970. I've known them almost as long as he has. And I met the newest member, Imogen, just 4 months old and as easy-going and smiley a baby as it's possible to hope for. So, at this point, I have nieces and nephews ranging from 35 years to 4 months and one grandnephew who's about 12 months now, I think. I like having a whole range of ages present. In this case it was from 4 months to 82 years and everywhere inbetween. I think it helps me keep my life in perspective and to realize that I'm just another link in the chain--no more important than any other member.
So, good xmas at the beach. We did the Chinese Christmas Game instead of buying presents for every individual--except for the little kids and my mother-in-law who buys presents for everyone regardless of how much it costs. It was fun and I ended up with a box of Godiva chocolates so I was happy.
Didn't get to do any real training while there, just lots of walking. I walked the dogs three times on the beach every day and once around the neighborhood at night. I did try training Zodi to back up the stairs before everyone arrived. After that there really wasn't any opportunity. which is probably good. It's good to take a break sometimes and just let things simmer. And I find it keeps my dogs very fresh when I go back to training.
I've been reading a lot of other peoples' blogs lately. Reviewing their video, reading Linda Mecklenburg's Forum and really enjoying Susan Garrett's blog. There are so many opportunities to learn online now. Especially compared to a few years ago when there was almost nothing. It's such a boon to someone like me who isn't very inventive or analytical. I find it very instructive and it inspires me to train when I see so many other people doing it.

I've been training each dog for a few minutes when I go home for lunch and then again when they get their dinner. I have just a bit of room in our garage that I've matted but it's better than nothing. Plus classes start again next week which will also help bridge the gap between weekends when the dogs and I can go hiking and stretch our legs.

I've felt so bad for you in the Pacific Northwest not being able to get out of your houses for a couple of weeks (or more?) now. You must be going nuts right along with your dogs. I hate to tell you how warm and sunny it was at the beach all last week. I wished I could send you some of our heat in return for some of your snow because it's just not winter weather here at all. Today I think it was almost 80. But I'm not complaining. It's bound to get cold here sooner or later--even if it's only for a few weeks.

This is also the time of year when I buy my new calendars for the lab. I need one in my office and two in the lab. Today I was looking through my office calendar and realized that it's been almost 9 months since I last trialed. And I don't really have any plans to resume trialing in 2009. I might enter a CPE trial just for fun but other than that my plans are all about training.

I want to go back and retrain Devon in just about everything and of course, train Zodi, too. When I do go back to trialing, I want to see something very different than what I saw from Devon before. I want a dog who really understands his job this time. A dog who is confident and happy and very fast. I want a dog who I can count on to do his share of the work so that all I have to do is get him the information he needs and he'll do the rest.

And if that takes five years, it takes five years. I'm not planning on trying out for the world team although I would like to go to a national competition before I'm in a wheelchair :-) It's hard when you have only weekends and a few vacations days to do the things you really love but I count myself lucky that I do have things I want to do and people I want to see outside of agility. Life is too short to spend it all on one pursuit--especially if it keeps you from appreciating the here and now and the people and dogs who may not be here tomorrow.