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It could be verse...

Do you like poetry? Are you the budding Wordsworth or Keats of the canine world? Do you think in iambic pentameter or dream in haiku. If you have ever scribbled a poem on the back of a show schedule while waiting in the car park for your go or written a verse to show how you feel about your dog, email them to:- Agilitynet

Freezing Your Mutts Off
by Sue Howis

The weekend will be chilly.
Get out your thermal vest.
Those fleece lined stretchy legging
They'll be put to the test.

We will wrap up warm and toasty.
There'll be Dryrobes out in force~
And our dogs all warm and cosy
In their Equafleece of course.

We will waddle round like penguins
Until it's our turn to run.
Then we'll all strip off
To have our agility fun.

We will warm up in the cafe
Breakfast, pasti
es. chips.
With all the cold and exercise,
It won't go on our hips.

And whatever the results
We will enjoy, it's what we do,
The Schnauzers will be there
And their human, Sue.

Time To...
By Alison Phillips

As this season draws towards an end, please take some...

  • Time to thank your dogs

  • Time to reflect on show days

  • Time to think of camping fun had

  • Time to think of new friends made

  • Time to remember friends past

  • Time to rejoice the highs

  • Time to celebrate the lows

  • Time to look back at the fun

  • Time to think of the courses

  • Time to plan training

  • Time to thank the judges

  • Time to appreciate the ring parties

  • Time to be grateful to show committees

  • Time to remember to smile

  • Time to remember to laugh

  • Time to remember it’s ok to cry

  • Time to remember the support

  • Time to appreciate your agility family

  • Time to thank your families

  • Time to remember the weather

  • Time to hide the bank statements

  • Time to think of next year

  • Time to start saving £

  • Time to remember where you started

  • Time to remember where you are

  • Make time for you and your dogs

  • Take time to reflect

  • Life isn’t measured by time

  • It’s measured by moments

Enjoy the time.

When You Are Ready
A Scrime's Story
By Rachel Oliver

‘When you are ready, Josie.'
‘I'm John, my dog is Josie
Well, it is the weekend.
‘When you are ready, John.'

Off he scampers – this is going to be a good one.
Eye on Judge, ooh check timer – it's not working, damn.
‘John, Josie, John stop STOP, timer didn't start, come back.'
We checked it a hundred times' too.

Mutters come from behind: ‘It's the wind.' ‘Is it turned on?'
That's a shame.'
Right let's try again – ‘When you are ready, John.'
He's away.

Eyes on Judge.
Sneak a peek at timer – we are good. Breathe.
Judge is waving at me. ‘Hi.'
Oh no, that's a fist. 5R.

Ooh another one – bad luck, buddy.
Beep. Timer has stopped.
What's the time?
My tummy says lunch time.

‘How many more dogs?' ‘Just two.'
‘Next ticket, please.' ‘Can't find it.'
‘Who you got?' ‘Mary.' ‘Here it is.'
‘When you are ready, Mary.'

Judge is still. Is she watching? Hello?
Beep. She claps. There's cheers all around.
Well done, Mary, your first clear round.
There's a ticket shoved in my hand. ‘This is the last one.'

Hooray, my tummy (& bladder) scream.
‘When you are ready Henr... ‘Where is Henry?'
‘Not here yet.' ‘Did he walk?' ‘Yeah.'
‘Ring to PA – can you call Henry to run in ring 2?'

Now! I am hungry and need a wee. ‘Please.'
‘Here he is. '‘Don't rush, no panic – oh, you haven't walked it?'
Ah, thank you, Mary, you are going to talk him through the course.
‘One, two, three, fooooouuurrr… eighteen, nineteen.'

‘Right, Henry, on the line.' ‘When you are ready.'
‘Can you take the harness, too? And the treat bag,
And the ball. ‘Oh, your coat, too…'
‘Ready Henry?' (Pointing at jumps) ‘1,2,3,4...'
Timer, please work, please… ‘When you are ready, Henry.'

The Ring Manager
By Rachel Oliver

I don't wear a top hat and tails or carry a cane,
But I am up with the lark to help the Judge in the main.
I am first at the ring, to ensure the day goes with a zing.
Arranging the tunnels, the numbers and wings.

I collect the ring pack, with the sweeties and papers
It's in the scrime tent – no smoking, no vapers.
The timer is set, let's give it a check.
We are ready to go, the competitors let's get.

If you are on the PA, please listen to me, I'd like you to say
‘Senior jumping in Ring 2 is ready to walk,
Put it over the PA, please be clear in your talk'
Everybody has walked, they've debated and talked.

Ring 2 to PA, we are ready to start.
Get the dogs on the way and up to the mark.
My ring party is here, and they have all the gear.
Everyone knows what they are doing.

 –Oh no, look that dog is pooing!
Pick it up in a bag, don't leave it near me.
That means only one thing...
For you that's an E.

Who's next in the ring to run in the sun
A dog with a smile, who can go that extra mile
To get a clear round, we'd all love to see.
Let's gather around and watch it with glee.

The dogs have all run, the sweeties are gone.
I think it went well, my job here is done.
Let's pack the ring down, make everything safe
I don't mean to frown, as it's been a good day.

But I do have to say, when I asked for some help,
I could hear the dogs yelp.
But the owners did hide, rather than rush to my side.
The usual clan have worked hard as always,
And I know they'll be back for the rest of the days.

I've laughed and I've smiled at the antics I've seen.
At times I have gaped at the things that have been.
A ring manager's job can be fun and extreme.
I am sorry PA if at one point I screamed!

I have kept the ring going , all issues were solved,
The judge was unknowing.
You can call me a hero, now where is my cape?
Did someone say Aero? Or just chocolate cake.

A T&A Team Christmas Poem
By Kirsten Cutler

T'was the night before Christmas and the T&A team
Was so very proud of their awesome dream.
Despite the last year and a half of Covid,
lockdowns, masks, sanitiser, QR codes, extra risk assessments,
extra insurance clauses, disruption and the 2020/21 glum,
Tony was busy planning next years fun.

Nothing can stop us! Exclaimed Tony, rubbing his hands with glee,
Let's put on extra dates next year.
Let's make it all work, tee hee!
More shows, more laughs, more competing with no end,
Let's make 2022 the best yet, my friends.
We have so many ideas, so much for you to enjoy,
2022 will be the year to top it all, ahoy!

So have a happy and peaceful Christmas T&A'ers, one and all,
For we will be back in January for the next call.
But for now, we sleep tight, tired and happy,
Dreaming of next year's fabulous independent league finale.
Hold your precious, clever dogs tight tonight, give them an extra squeeze,
And be so, so proud of everything they have achieved,

Next year will be awesome, all you need to do is believe...
And get excited about all those beautiful red rosettes you might receive.
Merry Christmas to you, each and every one of you.
We love you all and we genuinely THANK YOU for supporting us in doing what we do,
So that you can have fun doing what you do.

Why I Like Dogs
Adapted from a horsey poem by Dawn Gilmour

Why do I like dogs? I think I must be mad.
My mother wasn't doggy - and neither was my dad.
But the madness hit me early - and hit me like a curse.
And I've never got much better. In fact, I've just got worse.

My cages are immaculate. My house is like a dump.
Last year for my birthday - I got a brand-new jump .
I hardly read a paper - but I know who's won each course.
And I wouldn't watch the news - unless Crufts was on, of course.

One eye's always on the heavens - but my washing lies in vain.
As I rush to get the jumps back in - in case it's going to rain.
And though they're wearing cosy coats, the best that you can get,
I put them in the van to keep them dry - while I get soaking wet.

I spend every pound I've got- on doggy stuff for sure.
I buy collars, leads, fancy tugs - and then I buy some more.
I should have had my hair cut - or bought that nice pink shirt,
At least it wouldn't now look ripped and showing up the dirt.

I can't make a bloody sponge cake - so I don't even try.
But I can back up a car and caravan in the twinkling of an eye.
It's leggings and Salomons that I live in night and day.
And that smell of wet dog just doesn't wash away.

Once every now and then I dress up for a ball,
With make-up and posh hairdo- and high-heel shoes and all.
I ache from long-forgotten falls. My knees have got no skin.
My toes have gone a funny shape from being squashed again.

But late at night, when all is still - and I've gone to give them dinner,
I touch their soft fur and my worries are all but dimmer.
They give a gentle sigh and they nuzzle through my hair.
And I know where my heart is - more here than anywhere!.

Going Over to the Dark Side (1)

I would have got a collie
Over twenty years ago,
But the person that I trained with
Said No No No No No.

You're not a collie person
Of that I can be sure,
And if you go and get one
You'll be shown the flipping door.


Going Over to the Dark Side (2)
What happened next
Shirley Elkins

I would have got a collie
Over twenty years ago,
But the person who I trained with
Said No No No No No.

You're not a collie person,
Of that I can be sure,
And if you go and get one
You'll be shown right out the door.

So now it's been so many years, and I am pleased to say
That not long after this was said, a collie came my way.
Was I a 'collie' person, only time would tell
So I trained it to the methods which back then I knew so well.

Over time and over years, I got another five!
All became agility dogs, four had lots of drive.
I trained each one all by myself, in the heart of Devon
Getting two up to Grade 5 and one UP to Grade 7.

Am I a 'collie' person, it there such a thing?
I'm thinking that there isn't, is what I want to sing.
I love my dogs with all my heart, so glad I went ahead
And got the collies when I did, even though I felt some dread.

Twas the night before The WAO
Joanne Tristram

Twas the night before Worlds
And there in the dark
Not a handler was stirring
Not even Ant Clarke.

Team T-shirt's we're hung in the cupboards with care,
Hopes of gold medals and clear rounds filled the air. 
The dogs were well rested and snug in their beds,
While coaches dream podiums, draped in white and in red. 

Go out there, enjoy, show off this great team, 
Make sure the England supporters learn God Save the Queen.

Good Luck to all of you!
Enjoy every moment.

Twas the night before Cruftsmas
By Caroline 'Pig' Smith

Twas the night before Cruftsmas when all through the house,
Not a creaTard was stirring; not even a Mous(s)e.
The show leads were hung by the trolley with care,
in the hope that at 2am they'd not be left there.
The doggos were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Bonios danced in their heads.

When out from the kitchen there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
What to my wondering eyes should appear,
But one of my doggos and the Crufts picnic so dear.

With his movements so needy, deft and quick
I knew in a moment it must be that Pick(le)
More rapid than collies those Labradors came.
I whistled and shouted and called them by name.

Stop Pickle, No Pork Pie, Down OinkyBoo, 
Leave Bat, get off Truff, pack it in MooMoo
On the worktop was Snouty and Squeal in the fridge.
Away they all scattered, every one last bitch.

Back to their beds, the Flyenpygs they flew,
With the bag full of food and liver cake, too.
An hour was spent cleaning and putting to bed.
At last I could rest up my sleepy head.

The alarm it did sing at a quarter to two,
The doggos were loaded and the coffee was brewed,
The time to set off had finally come,
I just hoped and prayed it would be a smooth run.

In the dead of night we went to Coventry,
To a place so magical  - the NEC
And just as we left, I exclaimed to the night,
Merry Cruftsmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Caroline 'Pig' Smith breeds and shows Labradors and competes at Agility with her Cocker Spaiel, Bat. She is very creative with her dogs names as can be seen in this poem. The other Flyenpyg's dog names are Mousse, Pickle, Pork Pie, Oinky Boo, MooMoo, Squeal, Snout and Truffle.

Why Own A Dog?
Author unknown
From Shirley Elkins

Why own a dog? There's a danger you know,
You can't own just one, for the craving will grow.
There's no doubt they're addictive, wherein lies the danger.
While living with lots, you'll grow poorer and stranger.

One dog is no trouble, and two are so funny.
The third one is easy, the fourth one's a honey.
The fifth one's delightful, the sixth one's a breeze,
You find you can live with a houseful of ease.

So how 'bout another? Would you really dare?
They're really quite easy but, oh, Lord the hair
With dogs on the sofa and dogs on the bed,
And crates in the kitchen, it's no bother, you've said.

They're really no trouble, their manners are great.
What's one more dog and just one more crate?
The sofa is hairy, the windows are crusty,
The floor is all footprints, the furniture dusty.

The housekeeping suffers, but what do you care?
Who minds a few noseprints and a little more hair?
So let's keep a puppy, you can always find room,
And a little more time for the dust cloth and broom.

There's hardly a limit to the dogs you can add,
The thought of a cutback sure makes you sad.
Each one is so special, so useful, so funny.
The vet and food bills grows larger, you owe BIG money.

Your folks never visit, few friends come to stay,
Except other 'dog folks' who live the same way.
Your lawn has now died, and your shrubs are dead too,
But your weekends are busy, you're off with your crew.

There's dog food and vitamins, training and shots.
And entries and travel and motels which cost lots.
Is it worth it you wonder? Are you caught in a trap?
Then that favorite one comes and climbs in your lap.

His look says you're special and you know that you will
Keep all of the critters in spite of the bill.
Some just for showing and some just to breed.
And some just for loving, they all fill a need.

God, winter's a hassle, the dogs hate it too.
But they must have their walks though they're numb and your blue.
Late evening is awful, you scream and you shout
At the dogs on the sofa who refuse to go out.

The dogs and the dog shows, the travel, the thrills,
The work and the worry, the pressure, the bills.
The whole thing seems worth it, the dogs are your life.
They're charming and funny and offset the strife.

Your life-style has changed. Things won't be the same.
Yes, those dogs are addictive and so is the dog game.

Going Over to the Dark Side

I would have got a collie
Over twenty years ago,
But the person that I trained with
Said No No No No No.

You're not a collie person
Of that I can be sure,
And if you go and get one
You'll be shown the flipping door.

Stick to the Plan
By Charlotte Allen

What's the secret? Some people ask
To happiness that's made to last? 
I believe it's when you know 
that you did your best and even though
The red rosette's gone and you finished last
You had a freaking, awesome blast! 

It's important to remember that the dogs don't care,
The result, the time, that tight turn over there,
It's the time with you that they hold dear
They're delighted just to hit top gear
So don't get caught up in all the drama,
5 metres, 10 metres, what's it matter? 
When over that finish line you stagger
Be proud and do it again with swagger!

And remember the reason this all began
To have fun with your dog and stick to that plan!

Agility Blessing
By P.J. Hughes, Inspired by his little 'Tater'

May the tunnels not have too much suction,
May the course be fun and fast,
May your dog not stop to say 'hello'
to the photographers they pass!

May the table not be too slippery,
May the chute house no scary beast,
May all the yellow parts be touched
with one little toe, at least.

May the wind be always at your back,
May no bars fall on the ground.
May the A-frame have no stop sign on top,
May the judge's whistle never sound.

May your dog obey all correct commands
And ignore the ones that are wrong.
May your heart be light, your feet be sure
and the bond with your dog grow strong.

At the finish line, may great joy abound,
regardless of your score,
You have your dog, your dog has you,
and who could ask for more?

With thanks to Dan Shaw for calling our attention to this poem

By Iris Richards

Now I know that much has already been said
About when help is help
It's something we all dread.

Show managers and judges all can confirm
That when writing a list
We always will learn.

That there's never enough people to spare
Some do too much
And some may even share.

 But more often than not, it's always the same
Tannoy's calling for help
Again and again.

Some competitors really don't understand
How easy it is
To just lend a hand.

 Pop into the ring and pick up a pole
Pass on a scribe sheet
Or fill in a hole.

Pass the lead down to the jump numbered twenty
Calling for dogs
You know there'll be plenty.

But please do a little, a lot if you can
Judges do like some help
To set their ring plan

Remember that if this non help continues
There will not be any
Agility venues

Consider the thought of not running your dogs?
Why expect judges
To do all their own jobs?

Just a little offer of help
Can go a long way
To enjoying the event
And having a great day.

 Judge's Grovel
by Anni Telford

Oh Brenda, darling Brenda
Your courses are divine
Regardless of the standard
The dogs run them just fine

So when we're up at Scunnie
I'm sure we'll all agree
Your courses are just yummy -
Or so says Nick and me!

First seen on The Agility Forum (08/04/02)

Judge's Reply
By Anni and Nick
Were taking the mick!
Now they've run the course
They might change their thoughts.
(Sorry - rhyming was never my forte.)

 Limericks & Doggerel
By Martin Pollard (in high spirits - hic!)

Why, Oh why, can't I try World Agility?
I was told by the 'suits' in authority
'Your dog, we decree,
Has no pedigree,
So is therefore devoid of ability.'

A Wolfhound from Burnham on Crouch,
In the weaves would often cry 'Ouch!
These poles are too short
for a dog of my sort,
They tickle me right up my crutch'.*

I have a dog - Hillary by name,
He loves to climb to the peak of the frame,
and standing there takes in the view,
He says 'I'll Everest here, if it's the same to you!'

Ding dong merrily on high
The poles are falling over
Ding dong merrily below
The height's too much for Rover.
Glorororiaa, glorioria, glorioria, Gloria
Gloria's crying, Boo Hoo!
Glorororiaa, glorioria, glorioria, Gloria
Now she's stuck them on with UHU - HU.

* Once printed in Agility Eye

Pedigree Logic
By Martin Pollard

With biting dogs we're all agreed
In every case we blame the deed,
It plainly cannot be the breed.
But if the deed is good and kind,
(Agility might come to mind),
Do we now all praise the deed?
Of course; it cannot be the breed!

Agility Assault Course
By Hilary Bates

She's taking me to agility.
She says I'll like it a lot.
Don't know who she's kidding -
I'm sure she's lost the plot.

Have you seen the height of those things!
A-frame, dogwalk and all.
If she thinks I'm going up there,
She's really up the wall.

She runs me to the A-frame
'Get up,' she shouts with glee.
By the time I've reached the top
I'm ready for a pee!

Why can't I have somebody older?
About 90, who sits in a chair -
I could sit on her lap and be happy
And never have a care.

But no, it's jumps, tunnel and A-frame.
She shouts 'Get up! Get over!'
If I could I have my way
I'd be on a ferry to Dover.

She rushes me round the course
Shouting do this and then that!
By the time we have finished
I feel worn out and flat.

Not that it bothers her
She thinks it's lots of fun.
I'd love to see her do it
And crash land on her bum!

Reprinted from The Poodle Training Club Newsletter (Summer 2000)

The author Lucy is a black Toy Poodle belonging to Hilary Bates. They train with Bob and Wendy Ratcliffe at Benbow AC and in the garden at home.

Agility Addiction
From Sue White

You know you're well and truly hooked
When every weekend in the summer is booked
When even your annual holiday vacation
Has become another agility vocation.

You know when you've gone round the bend
When you get every schedule for which you can send
When you've spent every last penny and pound
On your not so good, but loveable hound.

You know when you've gone totally cuckoo
When the accommodation's a tent with an outside loo
When your feet are wet and your hands are cold
And your dog still will not do what it's told.

You know when you're out of your head
When at five in the morning you're out of your bed
When the odds of winning are 500 to 1
But you still carrying on doing it 'just for fun.'

You know it's finally taken over your life
When you've covered the distance from London to Fife
When nothing will make you miss your agility session
And you're booked up every type of course and lesson.

You know when it has affected your brain
When you're standing in a field in the pouring rain
When your heart is beating and you're gasping for air
And you're covered in mud, and still don't care.

You know you are certifiably insane
When you study a course again and again
When you are willing to travel mile after mile
For one small rosette that still makes you smile!

Agility Anxiety
By Sue White

Here we go, another early start
Packing the car down to a fine art
Not light yet, but off we go
To another agility show. Down country lanes and dirty track
Hope we can find the way back.

Hundreds of people and even more dogs
Park the car and find the bogs.
Let the dogs go out for a run
Trying to remember I do this for fun
Praying and hoping for some clear rounds.

 Please dogs don't leave the show grounds
Walking the course again and again
The butterflies start, I must be insane
Working out the right place to switch.

Hope I can run this without a hitch.
The timekeeper says 'When you're ready'
I think, 'Will this dog, for once go steady?'
Off we go like a bolt from the blue.

I wish I had gone once more to the loo.
40 odd seconds go in a flash
 Over, in, through the dog and I dash
The judge's whistle we did not hear
If no time faults, we went clear.

Another day, another smile
That's what makes it all worth while
As long as my dogs are happy and content
Next week a different field, a new event.

More Poetry in Motion

Updated 28/11/16



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