Yesterday we competed at the ACT-Up Agility NADAC trial.  My 2nd trial in nearly 5 years and Zora’s 2nd trial ever.  It was great.  We Qed in 5 of the 7 runs, finished 2 Superior Novice Titles, and found some skills to continue to practice.  My husband seemed to enjoy himself and Tom got lots of pets and ‘awe he’s so good!’

Way back when, ACT-Up was the club I started in.  This was before training centers offered agility classes and your local club was where you went to learn.  And we all learned from each other.  Since agility was so new, no one was really an expert yet.  Agility training in its infancy.  ACT-Up, its members and the regional agility community were a huge part of my childhood and adolescence growing up.  When the dog I had showed signs of severe aggression, meaning in part that he wasn’t safe to bring to club events and practices, rather than saying ‘oh well,’ club members let me assist with beginner classes.  I was about 12 years old at the time.

A much younger me with my 1st dog, Barley at club demo at a fair

When no one else wanted the job, they let me as a young teen take over as equipment manager.  Pretty soon I was helping with putting on the club’s 1st trial.  And later was Trial Chairperson among other jobs.  I went from assisting with beginner classes, to developing curriculum and teaching the classes.

We used to go to local fairs and put on demos.  I think about how the facility the club rented for weekly practice, like every other dog training place then, had only old fashion roll out obedience mats, so the club had this 4×6′ anti-fatigue mats we used to lay out on each take off and landing side of every jump to try to give the dog’s some added cushion.  I remember how in the summers we’d have club practices at Brownie’s.  Or at Sue’s.  Or how if folks went off to a seminar somewhere with someone then well known in agility, they would come back and teach everyone in the club what they had learned.  And I remember the comradery and everyone gathering at a local restaurant after many club practices to grab a bite to eat and socialize.


My 2nd dog, & 1st flat coat, Regal, competing at 1 of those crazy 3 ring trials I remember

I remember when there would be enough entries to put on these crazy 3 ring NADAC trials.  With wait lists.  Outdoors.  Sometimes in the rain.  Sometimes in the blazing heat.  Spending almost a full day before setting up for the trial.  Squaring the rings.  Fencing being some electric fence posts stuck in the ground with surveyor’s tape strung around the top.  The PA going on the fritz.  People camping out.  The food vendor with the best bread pudding ever.  And it being so much fun.  Sometimes tear your hair out stressful, but really rewarding and fun.

Yesterday’s trial was different.  Much smaller.  Didn’t fill.  No wait list.  1 ring.  Indoors with heat and air conditioning.  Nice indoor space to set up crates and expens.  No crazy ring juggling.  Quiet.  Relaxed.  Still fun, very enjoyable, just very different from the early days I remember.

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