Monday, March 06, 2006

Rally-ing around each other

It occurred to me, as Zsa Zsa and I went through our Rally class Saturday, that the two of us suffer from the same overwhelming desire to please that can flood our brain to the point of total shut down.

Rally is significantly different from the more well-known events of agility and obedience. Agility is a steeplechase race against the clock. Obedience is like a marching drill. Rally is a ballet. Only in this ballet, you have to read, count and signal while pirouetting.

I know what you’re thinking: What is Sisiggy doing in something that is, even metaphorically, ballet-esque?

And that’s what I’m thinking as I stand at the first station: What am I doing here? I don’t belong here doing something…well…physical. It is extreme irony that, having spent a high school career trying to think of ways to get out of gym class, I am purposely standing in front of people moving. I can write, I can sing, I can sew and knit, I can cook. But I don’t move well and that’s a fact.

For Zsa Zsa this whole event is an opportunity to please me and become Most Favored Dog. She is terrified she’s going to misstep and, therefore displease me. So she is hesitant instead of fluid and timid instead of confident.

Like me.

So Rally is a sort of therapy for the two of us. I pretend I don’t feel like a hippo lumbering through a swamp and Zsa Zsa pretends she has every confidence that she is reading my signals correctly.

I like to think that, after weeks of practice and a sort of aversion-training, we’re getting better at this. I like to think that one day we’ll go onto the rally course with total confidence and perform as one unit, smooth and graceful, the epitome of dog-human bonding.

One of us is getting better. And she looks hopefully at the opposite end of the leash for some sort of miracle that will render me something, anything, approaching the words “graceful” or “smooth.” We have been able to complete the course without her looking embarrassed for me, so that’s progress!

Zsa Zsa is happiest at the final station because that means “Lots ‘o Cheese.” For me it means, “I survived and no one got hurt!”

We all need our little motivations.


Leslie Shelor said...

Rally sounds really cool. Lily and I could do this, but she'd really be mad if I messed up.

Mrs Lifecruiser said...

I would have LOVED doing that with my former dog! I don't say that we had been any good at it though, because he had such an explosive energy, but it would have been soooo FUN. Probably he would have running around like an maniac, but at least he had fun. He always was transfering his happiness over to me and it was so nice to feel it.

I don't beleive that you look like
a hippo lumbering through a swamp, but even if you do: the main thing is that you have FUN together, nothing else matters.

Actually, that was my dog telling you that ;-) - that was lesson I learned from him....

(I still miss him 13 years later)