Monday, July 11, 2011

Volunteering and the Fourth Green Ribbon

I do not remember sending in a volunteer form with my entry to this trial, but when I showed up, I was on the schedule.  At the briefing, the organizer lamented that only 75% of people had volunteered, which she clearly thought was low.  This seemed like a slightly different culture than I'm used to.  In fact, many things about the trial were different:  there were only a handful of dogs that I recognized, people called obstacles different things (like "hill" or "wall" for the A-frame, and "bar" for jumps), and the upper level dogs were, in general, more advanced than those I'm used to seeing.

Anyway, now that I think of it I probably did send in a volunteer form because I'd seen that 75% of the entries were held for volunteers, and I was signed up for bar-setting which is my preference.  I had been assigned to Standard 3, which I was running in, so I had to scratch myself from that but I put myself in Standard 1 instead.

My volunteering experience this time was significantly more positive than the first time.  In Standard I was near the last line of jumps, and the judge kindly taught me how to set the 'eyes'--the electronic timer on the finish jump.  Few dogs dropped bars and it was fun to be in the ring.  There were no strange experiences with dogs trying to jump in my lap or anything.  It was really quite easy.

Then I worked Snooker 1 and 2.  This was much more of an event!  Instead of having 3 bar setters as before, now I was the only one.  I always seemed to sit in the wrong spot, and dogs liked to knock the farthest bars no matter where I was.  Also at least 4 dogs decided they had to potty during their runs.  The judge and I had fun laughing at all the running around I got to do :).

A little while later I was reading and waiting for my next class when I heard someone yell, "Katie, can you come here a minute?!"  I gulped and grumbled a little, thinking I had missed another assignment or something.  When I walked over, though, the judge was preparing to distribute her nice green and yellow 'judge's choice award' ribbons, given for 'anything extraordinary.'  She had two:  one she gave to a woman who seemed to be having extraordinary fun with her dogs who were having extraordinary fun in response.  They were a lot of fun to watch, and quite good, too.  The second award went!  I guess all my running around bar-setting did more than give me a good view of the action and a little exercise.  Our little friendly conversations about the irony of my seating positions had made an impression.

Now, I want to clarify that I in no way share this to draw attention about this to myself because that is not at all what this blog is about.  The award had more to do with the situation of not having other bar-setters around than it did about me.  I do feel, however, like it is a good way to follow up my Blog Action Day post from a few weeks back.  My first volunteering experience had turned me off from the task, but now I see that it can be fun and relaxed.  Plus, I'm disappointed that we missed our Jackpot run, but we still managed to come home with four green ribbons :).

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