Friday, October 24, 2008

TGI Flyball

My Hybrid adventures took me to Mountlake Terrace today, where I work (48.4 miles from my driveway to be exact). I commute three days a week to and from "MLT" and work at home two days a week. If you ever have the opportunity to work at home (or "WAH") TAKE THAT OPPORTUNITY!! You will work diligently and you will get things done. And, your animals will not bug you 24/7 or bark/meow when you're on the phone with your boss.
So, the weekend is approaching and I have, as usual, a pet-filled-packed couple of days ahead. Tomorrow I'll be running a friend's dog in a flyball tournament. The tournament is local - near Auburn, WA. Of course, I'll be driving the Hybrid down there and hope to use just 1.5 gallons of gas on the 68 mile trip.

Flyball is a team dog sport. I used to competitively run my Shih-Tzu Maltese mix Lucky in flyball until I learned this past year from our vet that his knees are too wobbly to jump and he's getting arthritic. So now, he just does flyball demonstrations at dog shows and rescue events.

What is Flyball you ask? Well, flyball is a fast action, loud, fun dog sport. You have a team of 4 dogs, one being a small dog or "height dog" since the height of the jumps the dogs run over is determined by the smallest dog on the team. There are four jumps, set 10 feet apart from one another. Ten feet from the last jump is a spring loaded box in which one tennis ball rests in a pocket. The dog will leap onto the face of the box, releasing the tennis ball into the air. The dog then catches the tennis ball, runs back over the four jumps, and at the "start line," the next dog passes and does the same thing. Basically, the fastest team to complete the set with no errors wins the heat. For more info, visit .

Now the sport is filled with Border Collies and Jack Russells and other working-type dogs typically labeled as being "strung out," "nuts" or "crazy." A typical Border Collie will run the entire loop (110') in about 5 seconds - some do it in under 4 seconds. My Lucky, pictured below in a race a couple years ago, averages around 8.5 to 9 seconds -- Shih Tzu's weren't developed for speed or agility but they sure look cute when they run! Races are timed to the hundredth of a second and in some instances, winners of a race are determined at that level!

My other dog, Mattie, can also do flyball (she's a total athlete) but since she isn't a "team player" we have found other venues to keep her occupied/challenged. More to come about Mattie and what makes her so special later.

After flyball, Jerill and a friend of ours from Tennessee intend to go to the Oktoberfest celebration at Snoqualmie Pass. I'm not sure what we're going to find when we get there, perhaps a few old drunks, some good German folk music and lederhoesen. Should be fun!

And the Sunday, the dogginess starts anew with a sheep herding lesson in the morning and a three hour SPDR meeting (


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