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Friday, August 10, 2012

Agility, horse races, and other stuff!

Duffy and I have 2 agility classes left.  One had to be cancelled on July 25 because of rain and storms, and then instructor Dan was away at the Nationals, so the August 1 class was also cancelled. This Wednesday's class  was a hot, muggy, and horrendously buggy evening with a storm brewing.  It held off until the end of class and then started to rain.  So that was good timing! I enjoyed the class though as there were just 2 of us along with Dan. Usually there there are 6 of us with one woman having 2 dogs--the really overweight Aussies.We got a lot more chances to practise the night's new things and there wasn't the standing around waiting for everyones' dogs.  I've read some agility articles and blog posts about the value of 1 on 1 instruction and I can certainly see that one gets a lot more bang for one's buck.  I don't like standing either--my back starts to hurt, so more movement is definitely a plus there.  I also find that I don't really learn too much watching others with their dogs--I learn a lot more when Duffy and I do the exercise. However, there are pros to group instruction too--camaraderie with others just learning, and our dogs having a chance to get used to the distractions of other dogs and people, something they would see at a competition. Maybe a combination--2 different classes a week?   The next set of classes start in September and we will stay outdoors at the rink until the end of October. I think both dogs and people will find the fall weather a relief!! Mosquitoes be gone!!
Those of you on FB saw this picture of Duffy--Wednesday night after agility class.  A pooped and hot doggy lying in front of the portable air conditioner! 

I think Duffy enjoys the classes.  He also enjoys lots of sniffing the ground and peeing!!!!  Oh the joys of an intact male! Other dogs there: a black lab sort who's hyper, a miniature poodle named Prada, the 2 obese Aussies, who are nice dogs but need a diet for sure, a cute little Pom who likes Duffy and he likes her, and a 11 month old German Shepherd named Raina.  The Pom is shy/scared--she makes a little bold move and then decides she's scared. She likes to drink Duffy's water--she's probably has never had such good water in her life!  Lovely tasting spring water either from a farmer's place west of Olds, or the springs at Ya Ha Tinda, or from Rattlesnake Springs on the Penticton Band's reserve in BC. And then there's Raina--Raina is besotted with Duffy, seriously besotted.  She makes a bee line to him every opportunity she can, dragging her owner along with her!! She throws herself in front of him, usually crashing into my shins (ouch) as she does so, and openly flirts all the time. Duffy just stands there and I swear yesterday he was thinking, "Pull yourself together girl, for heaven's sake!!" At one class others were noting what a gentleman he was despite Raina's antics, and her owner commented, "And meanwhile she's acting a like a slut!" LOL!  I hate to see what she's like when she's in heat!!  Kidding aside, hyper sexuality is one of the signs of vaccine damage.  I see so many different signs of damage in almost every dog--it's very sad really. But what can you do?  People seem to have to learn the hard way. I basically employ the "don't ask, don't tell" policy these days!

Now to horse races! Last year I had a blast volunteering at the Canadian Derby and I really wanted to do it again this year.  I kept checking VicNet, Northlands' online volunteer scheduling program and they only had jobs at the Derby Marathon on Sunday handing out water to the runners for 6 hours on Ada Boulevard. Um, no thanks!! So then on August 2, I had to be at Northlands for 6 o'clock (more on that later).  I got home and saw there was an email from Northlands about Derby jobs--whoo hoo!! I went to VicNet--nothing, just the water boy work :( Usually this means that all the spots have been filled very quickly just after the email went out. But I decided to email Kelly anyway.  She was away until Tuesday and I got a call on Wednesday asking if I was still interested in volunteering at the Derby! You bet! She had one morning shift spot left--"I'll take!!" I have an info session to go to on August 23 and then the Derby on the 25!! Yay!! This year, because there are all new people at the racetrack, they will be assigning our jobs either at the info session or the day of the Derby.  Last year I worked at the infield with another woman, setting up and supervising the kids' craft tent. We had a great view of the races, they brought us a bag lunch, and then after our shift, we placed some bets and watched the races.  I won $7.50!!
From the stands--the kids' crafts and a face painter were in those far off white tents.

Fancy food was served in that big tent--special passes were needed to get in there! People are starting to gather for the arrival of the winning Canadian Derby horse.

And there he is--Freedoms Traveller, 3 year old gelding, Alberta bred and owned by Randy and Donna Feddema.  Jockey-Rafael Zenteno. It was a poignant win, as Freedom's trainer, Barry Brown had died of cancer in May, and Brown's partner Leanna Knechtel had taken over the job of conditioning the horse. I had bet on Tommy D'Horsey--because the name made me laugh, and Lemon Loaf--for obvious reasons.  Tommy D'Horsey led at the start but was quickly overtaken by Freedoms traveller!! Oh well!!

Why was I at Northlands for a 6 o'clock appointment? I was being interviewed for a job, that's why!!  This was one of the things that I had been planning from early in the year. I wanted to work in the "Guest Services" area--basically the kind of thing I do as a volunteer--an ambassador for Northlands. The 6 o'clock interview slot had 6 people waiting and we had a group interview. Never had one of those before--different. We were told they would make their decision by the following Wednesday and if we hadn't heard from them by then, apply again next time! I came home quite sure I wouldn't be hired--everyone was young except for one other woman and I wasn't sure I had answered the scenario questions very well.  But I was okay about the fact I wouldn't get a call.  Dave said to me, "Well you are definitely over qualified for the job"!! Hahaha!! You think???!! I wasn't thinking anything about the job, as I knew I had days to wait--no worries until at least after the weekend.  Friday morning, the phone rings, it's Northlands--and they want to hire me!! Shock, awe, thud!! Orientation is next Tuesday for 4 hours. I did ask at the interview, if my having vertigo would be a problem.  They had said no.  Vertigo means I can't work as an usher/guide at Rexall place for the hockey games and concerts. My screams of panic would drown out the bands and distract the hockey players!!!

I will keep volunteering with Northlands too and I put down for only 10-15 hours a week for work.  I still have my dad to see to, and fun stuff to do with Duffy.  In addition I have signed up for the next course in homeopathy with Magda, the Repertory Course--that starts September 9 and goes for 10 weeks. Should be a busy fall!!


J. said...

Congrats! Congrats! The job is awesome. Getting paid for something you enjoy doing anyway is the icing on the cake, right?

LOL about Raina...oh my.

It's going to be a busy fall for sure. I can't wait to hear all about your course and how your job goes. :)

Sam said...

I'm a little bit the opposite - with an older dog doing agility, I welcome large classes because it gives Sam a chance to rest more in between. BOL - it is all fun though!



Glad you enjoyed your agility. We agree that resting in front of the A/C after being in the heat is pawsome.

Essex & Sherman

Squishy said...

So you will be paid finally???? That is very cool! And congratulations! Sounds like someone was smart to hire the most experienced! Agility sounds fun and maybe the fattie's owner will realize doing agility is not for overweight dogs and slim up before she hurts them. I bet Duffy is very cute at the class and funny about the girl doggie all over him!! Of course she would be! He's very handsome!!

onecollie said...

congratulations on being hired!! very awesome!
I like group classes at the beginning , those people around you will be your agility buddys when you start trialing, it is nice to have your friends with you to help with nerves & stuff,
I didn't know there was a Canadian Deby!

Dianne SS said...

Thanks for the congrats on the job--yes to a paycheck, even if it's minimum wage!! But the money's not the main issue of doing this anyway! Some of my fellow class members would be okay agility buddies--others, not so much. Miss "I do Obedience with my waddling fat Aussies" gives me a pain! And the Prade owner--well naming her dog that, pretty much says it all! LOL! I liked the people at the workshop in July.

Dianne SS said...

That should be 'Prada'!!

Collie222 said...

We want to try some agility classes, we've never done agility before. ll the classes around here are large ones though.,,