Monday, February 13, 2012

Time To Play

Life is busy. We work, go to school, have family, go to church, and play sports.  Every member of our club has multiple different options for how to spend an hour, and yet we choose to go to the field to play with our dog. Marital negotiation is often involved: (If I can have this hour to play at the field, you can have 3 hours to bike tomorrow! If I sign up for the 8pm class, can you be home by 7:30 to take over bedtime parent duties?). Negotiation at work happens: (Hey guys, if we take off this Friday for a trial, can everyone work Wednesday instead?). We skip yoga or leave work a little early because it’s a beautiful day outside, and those eager brown eyes are staring at you with a questioning wag of the tail: “Can we go?”

As a parent of a young child, I have tried to incorporate agility into our family regimen without making it seem like “my time”.  Most of you know my son Reed- many of you have held his hand during a run through or have found an errant tractor in a tunnel. At this point, he is very agile himself.  He knows how to weave, perform the teeter, scoot through a tunnel, and lie on the table. He is learning to recognize numbers and help me label a course!  Because of this, we go to the field at undesirable hours, not because we are anti-social. While Hunley and I are drilling contacts, there is often a soccer game with husband and child being played on the field, jump poles turned into forts, and a buffet lunch of Panera being served on the fence. Sometimes there is a kid under the A frame that pops out just at the wrong moment (and people wonder why Hunley generally sticks with me?!).

I justify these activities by thinking that this has made my dog a better agility dog. Hunley has to focus on me or our game is over for the day. It lets me spend quality time with my child and my dog together in the outdoors. I’m hopeful that my child will bond with animals the way his parents have- dedicating his life to their health and welfare.  And hey, if a large ball ever rolls on the field during a trial or the judge hides under a contact, I am fairly confident that my dog will keep running with me!

I appreciate being a member of a club that is family friendly and willing to hold a little hand while I run a course.  I appreciate that I have a healthy, happy dog that will run with me despite most distractions. I appreciate that I have a child that is pretty flexible about his parent’s extracurricular activities. Most of all, I appreciate that I have found the time to play with my dog! 

Anne Cook

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