House hunt, work on hold, but addiction to dog agility gets new fix

Posted: Sunday, April 25, 2004

Despite the fact that I only write a column once every couple of months, I cannot believe how difficult it is for me to find something to write about.

I basically have three things happening in my life: house hunting, work and dog agility, all of which I have written about numerous times.

My husband, Mark, and I have been looking for the "perfect" house for nearly a year and a half. Initially, questions of "How's the house hunting going?" sent me into animated conversation, as I rattled off all the different abodes we had ventured to, although nothing seemed to measure up to our specifications.

Now, after so much time has passed, people are afraid to ask or even make eye contact with me.

I fear we have driven our real estate agent to near insanity, as we have changed our minds so many times.

"Should we build? No, let's buy. No, wait, what day is it? Maybe we should rent, no ... ."

Needless to say, the long, drawn-out process has us exhausted and frustrated.

The good news is I still have the other two distractions in my life. Work keeps me quite busy, but in reality, it's just a way to support my agility habit. When it comes down to it, agility has pretty much consumed my life of late. I eat, sleep, talk and think agility.

Luckily, Mark has been extremely patient with my obsession. However, I know it disappoints him when he asks me to try and go one day without using the word "agility." It just cannot be done.

"Isn't it a gorgeous day?" he asks as we drive around looking at houses.

"Yes, it is. It's nice to see the sun again. Oh, honey, watch out for that dog."

"I see it."

"Wow, did you see how fast it took off? I'll bet he would make a great agility dog!"

I can do nothing but look at him and smile.

"Sorry."

He shrugs his shoulders. "Oh well."

I know I should be more considerate of his needs, but I can't help myself. The addiction is powerful. It has sucked out my brain and replaced it with one from a golden retriever.

"Can we go play now? How about now? Do I need to get the ball? Can we go play? Can we, huh?"

You may think I'm joking; Mark knows I'm not.

But Mark does get huge points for support. For some reason, there tend to be more women handlers in agility than men. I have no idea why, but I can't tell you the number of times I've heard, "I wish my husband was into this!" or "It must be nice to have a husband who likes doing what you like."

Yes, I am lucky.

From the first time I stepped into a class with Bailey one of our goldens Mark came to watch and occasionally ran her to try out the sport.

I was hooked immediately. It took a little longer for him.

Eventually, Mark got Tucker and competed for a while, but when he hit age 2, Tucker's brain left his body and he decided he could take it or leave it. Mostly he left it and ran right out of the ring.

To stay involved, Mark started to assist me with teaching classes. At 6 feet, 5 inches, he towers over the students, but his patience, kindness and keen eye make him an excellent instructor. OK, so I'm partial, but his students do think the world of him.

Ever since agility entered our lives, we have never been the same. If we're not teaching, we're competing. If we're not competing, we're training. If we're not training, we're sleeping.

Recently, Mark confessed that his interest in agility is purely selfish. He said he only got involved so he could spend more time with me.

Yes, I am lucky.

So I figured perhaps it was time we took a much-needed vacation together. There would be no house hunting, no work, no agility trials, no dogs, just Mark and me for a week someplace warm doing something we both would enjoy.

Mark liked the idea. We booked our plans last summer, knowing we shouldn't hesitate in case I started to weaken. We knew we had to do this for us.

So as you read this, we are in warm and, hopefully, sunny California, kicking back, watching life go by at a dog agility camp.

You didn't expect me to go cold turkey, did you?

Oh, and we only brought one dog.

Wish you were here!

Dori Lynn Anderson is the assistant editor for the Peninsula Clarion.



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