Un-Still Life With Cavaliers: Transitions

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Blog, Trials and Tribulations | 5 comments

I had planned to call this post “Changes.”  But after doing “Fame,” I didn’t want to head down a path of 70’s songs, cleverly inserting lyrics along the way.  Eventually I would have to go for “Bohemian Rhapsody” just because, like Mount Everest, it is there, waiting to be done.  And then my head would have exploded.  Go ahead, sing, you know you want to.  I’ll wait.

I was thinking about transitions (changes) over the weekend, but never got a chance to sit down and write.  The gym I worked out at for a hundred years just closed, semi-unexpectedly.  Not entirely unexpectedly.  This is my first week at a new gym and it’s very unsettling.  It’s a little fancier than what I’m used to, but in time I will relax and settle in.

My son is about to start his senior year in college.  My daughter just started graduate school.  It’s that time of the year.  Transitions.  Lots of people shopping for notebooks and pens and paper and lunch boxes these days.  If you have a school-age child you don’t need me to tell you about the late-August transition.  Pretty soon the air will feel colder, drier, the sun won’t feel as strong on your face.  Each season smells different; fall is wood smoke, wet leaves, one last good dose of cow manure on the fields.  Maybe not if you live in New York City.

We were at an agility trial this weekend (shocking, I know.)  Not just another agility trial.  We are now co-chairs for this trial.  Not the only co-chairs but kind of co-co-co-chairs (you can sing it like ch-ch-changes if you can’t let go of the song lyric thing.)  One more in a series of agility trial transitions.  When I started agility, my favorite job was to run leashes.  Pick up the leash from where the handler leaves it (or hurls it at your head) take it to a designated spot, put it down, repeat 60 or 70 times.  Good exercise, not too much thinking, occasional special instructions from the handler.  Almost like going to the gym.

Transition:  somehow I accidentally got trained to build agility courses (I’m claiming to be the victim here.)  Get the map from the judge, pick things up, move them to a designated spot, put them down.  Maybe tweak them a little for good measure.  It requires a little more thinking than leash running, need to play well with others, very good workout and still almost like going to the gym.  Maybe a new gym.  No problems, except maybe a screw loose from time to time (on the equipment.)

A model agility course, of course

Now for the big transition to being part of planning and running a trial.  The map, the judge who made the map, the equipment on the map, the site where the equipment on the map gets placed along with the judge, and just about everything else on and off the site and on and off the map, now I need to worry about getting it and moving it and troubleshooting on the fly, while running my own dogs.  Not quite just picking things up and putting them down any more, but still a good workout!  I think our first one went well.

But that’s not even the biggest transition in our lives right now.  The biggest transition is now 3-1/2 pounds, and her name is Rogue (nicknames yet to be assigned.)  She is “jet-black with rich, bright tan markings over eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs and underside of tail.”  Love the descriptions of proper Cavalier colors.

Some transitions are planned, some are like walking full speed into the wall in the dark when you swore you knew exactly where the door was.  But if you do agility, at some point you need a dog.  And sometimes that dog starts as a puppy.  The puppy is a blank slate, it is the fix for everything you did wrong with your last agility dog, a do-over.  This dog will be faster, more stable and confident, work in the rain and the heat, perform (insert problem obstacle here) flawlessly.  It’s a big transition in a small package.  If you are lucky you can plan this transition well in advance, and always have a dog to play the game with.

Lisa is lucky, and she has a puppy.  Bonnie and Gib are still healthy, but it’s time to start planning to not walk into that wall.  Rogue has been to trials before this weekend, but she has always had to stay in the ‘Mo Mobile and receive carefully screened visitors.  This weekend Rogue got to transition to the building with the agility dogs.  She got to meet lots of people and a few dogs and she was a rock star.  She got carried away by friends and she played tug with Lisa.  She even got to meet a USDAA agility judge.  The Rogue party is on!

Agility dogs should feel at ease around judges

Agility dogs should feel at ease around judges

It’s a very exciting time to have a puppy.  Lots of our friends are transitioning and training new puppies, or are about to get new puppies.  Now I will pause and insert some cute photos while I transition to the conclusion of this post.

Introducing Rogue

Introducing Rogue


Rogue’s Aunt Eve, a great role model!

I am also planning my next transition.  Cruiser, my youngest agility dog, turned five this spring.  Elmo will be nine in the fall.  I would like to have a dog ready to run in about 3 years, a blank slate, the fix for everything I did wrong with my last three dogs, a do-over!

Still don’t know what I was waiting for…


  1. I LOVE your blog!
    And Rouge is soooo adorable…..

    • Thanks Sherry, I have a soft spot for the black/tans too, and spelling is highly overrated, as long as the Gate Steward can pronounce it!

  2. And maybe I could spell it right – Rogue…..

  3. Your puppy is too cute for words – and I’m not certain what you are going to fix from your past dogs because they are pretty darn good!!! As for transitions with your kids, just wait until one of them turns 40 and THEN you can talk to me about transitions – I’m still reeling.

    • I saw that you had a “kid” turning 40, can’t believe it, you’re way too young for that!