Flyball

I seem to be having a great deal of “dog stuff” to report lately. I think Magnolia is taking over my life (much like child would I suppose). Today my mom and I went out to check out the flyball tournament that my trainer’s team was hosting. I was terribly disappointed that Steve couldn’t make it, but he was off playing football with the Unknowns (2nd practice of the new season). We had a blast! I thought we’d stay for about 15 minutes, but after nearly 2 1/2 hours we weren’t even ready to leave!

Flyball is a sport for dogs. There are, of course, rules of play, referees, and winners and losers — though the dogs wouldn’t know they were losers, they always win when tennis balls are the object of the game. So here’s how flyball is played… There’s two long tracks, a starting line that has an optical eye so the ref can tell exactly when the dogs pass it, then there are four hurtles spaced 10 feet apart and at the end of the hurtles there’s a spring loaded box with a tennis ball loged in it. There are four dogs that run the course and the object is to run down to the end, get your tennis ball and run back, with the next dog crossing the “start line” at the exact same moment as the first dog. Sounds complex? You should see it. There’s dogs and people everywhere, they’re all barking and yelling and everyone’s going crazy. There’s lots of drooling and “lemme go!!! lemme go!!! lemme go!!!!” from the dogs, and the handlers are all screaming and pumping up the dogs and making lots of ruckus. Then the dog gets to run down there and get their tennis ball, and let me tell you… they book it! The hurtle height is determined 4 inches shorter than the shortest dog’s shoulder height, so each team wants to have at least one little tiny ankle biter dog so that the bigger dogs can just kinda step over it and not even blink an eye at the height. Really this is a sport for border collies, but there are lots of dogs that play.

Mom and I couldn’t stop laughing. Printed word just doesn’t do this justice. You really have to see it to believe it. There was one huge burly guy (Tattoo-man) who had an American bulldog that was dying to get the ball out of the other team’s box — he got disqualified. So they brought out is other dog, a huge german shepherd to take his place. And that dog could move out! And then LATER Tattoo-man had another dog he was running, but this time it was a teeny-tiny little Jack Russle named “Stella.” So when he was calling his dog to him to come back after she had gotten the ball, he’d get down on his knees Marlan Brando-style and yell “STELLA!!!!!” Hilarious.

I can’t get enough of it. Maggie’s going to make a great flyball dog one day. We’re thinking of dubbing her “The Spotted Rocket” (borrowed from some random art found on Cafe Press.com)

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