today, Xyla had probably her most excitement-filled day since she’s been living with me.
we got up early (ok, regular time, which is way early for a saturday!), packed a bag of snacks & supplies, and headed out to a dog park about an hour north of here to meet up with the whippet playdate club. this dog park has several large fenced-in fields for various activities (e.g., a complete set of agility equipment), and we were in the one with the lure coursing set-up. it was steadily drizzling all day, and just like her last meet up with the big pack she was completely overwhelmed by 20-something whippets crazily milling about: the first hour or so was not particularly fun for her. she was shivery until i put on her sweater (a super stretchy acryllic one that’s easily machine washable with no ill effects), and hovered uncertainly behind me at least as much as she trotted off on the fringes of the group, so it wasn’t shaping up to any kind of red-letter day on her part.
then they got ready to run the lure.
after free-for-all, get-your-ya-yas-out playtime, it was time to give everyone a chance to chase the lure one at a time. several dogs – last year’s puppies grown up, and new rescues – went before us that were new to this game. the instructions from the always-helpful rescue/playdate coordinator were the same for the newbies: release them aiming at the lure; you might have to run with them for a while until they get the idea, how to use the lead, etc. a couple of the new kids were pretty well into it, one other ran for a while before turning around and sprinting back to mom at the start line. all this time, we were outside the fence watching the other dogs run, and Xyla was moderately interested. she’d prick ears and give a pointed stare towards the action at the start of each run, then go back to sniffing/exploring the rest of the world. when it was our turn, someone lent us a very nice leather coursing slip-lead, and we got those same instructions. the plastic baggie on a string whizzed off, i pulled the free end of the lead to loose the hound, and oh. my. god. i thought i’d seen her run before, when she was playing chase with a buddy or sprinting off after her toy. i was wrong. i’d never seen her little legs tear that fast, and all of a sudden the quoted top speed of whippets being at around 40mph became fact instead of theory. rescue lady chuckled and announced, “we’re going to have to start getting some of these rescues ILP numbers.”
after that one run, she understood to her bones what was going on in the field, and was in sheer torture each time that “bunny” zipped off without her behind it. i almost got pulled over a couple of times when she’d try racing along the fence line to follow – 25lbs of determination suddenly stopping at the end of the leash hits your arm like a wee freight train. we got to make a couple more runs later on: the string broke in one, the bag was too far ahead in another so she just attacked the string, and the last one was as good as the first. she’s most definately keen for it. and she slept pretty well on the way home:
we got home, i got the mud bathed off her, got some last-minute supplies all set up, and headed back out again for the other fun dog-related excitement of the day. since the doggy blanket was already conveniently in the front seat, this guy was good to go for his own ride back to my house:
Xyla doesn’t know quite what to make of him – he’s a lot bigger than she is – but hopefully, they’ll warm up to each other soon. he’s made himself right at home on the couch with the chew toys, so now he just needs to figure out the dog door and he’s good to go.
oh yeah, and we need a name for him – feel free to suggest!