In 1977, the sport of agility was born in the U.K. Like a summer algae bloom, agility fever swept through dog lovers around the world and hundreds of thousands of people leapt in with both feet. I remember walking through a local dog training club when I saw people trying the sport for the first time. My reaction was immediate: I am going to do that.
For me and for hosts of others, the sport became the glue in our lives. Days and weeks were organized around agility training, agility trials, agility dreams. Then wham. We have been left agility-less. I am not complaining. It had to happen, but I have had time to reflect on why we love agility so much.
When I ask people, they come up with several typical answers. We love the sport because it makes our dogs happy. We like it because we have a community of friends who share our passion. We enjoy the weirdness of walkthroughs and people front crossing on the way to the car. We meet our competitive needs.
All true but it does not address the black hole I know many of us are feeling. I like a number of activities, but I have not felt bereft by the loss of any of them – except agility.
Let’s look at a list of characteristics. Just read though and check those that apply to you.
- becomes obsessed with the activity
- needs more of the activity to feel the same euphoric effects
- seeks out and engages in the activity even though it is causing physical problems
- will engage in the activity over and over and over
- will spend less time with activities they used to enjoy
- feel irritable, restless, and depressed when unable to do the activity.
How many did you check? I had to admit to all of them.
Know what that list is? It is the clinical characteristics of addicts. ADDICTS.
Hello. My name is Laurie and I am an agility addict. Your turn. Hello, my name is ____________ and I am an agility addict. This is the first step toward recovery.
The question is, do I want to recover? Not really. What I really want is to go pound my sore knees on the agility field, sign up for three straight days of trials in blistering hot July, and spend hundreds of dollars on motels.
Until I drop that first agility trial entry in the mail, I will continue to be easily annoyed, restless, and depressed. In the meantime, I will sneak out to do a bit of practice and count the days.