Agility House!

12 Sep 2005Steve Schwarz

Well I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks. As I mentioned back in March, I’d been looking for a new house that will allow for a better dog training environment. Well after not too much looking, I found a place in the Northwest Chicago suburbs and will close on it this week. So the past few weeks all my spare time has been spent in preparation for the purchase and in preparing my existing house for sale.

My new house has most of the features I was looking for:

  • A flat yard with a dog working area of about 90 foot by 90 foot. It doesn't yet have a fence so I'll have to put one up.
  • It is about 1.5-2 miles to the nearest Metra train stop. So maybe I'll have to bike instead of walking in good weather.
  • It is pretty quiet. The yard is literally surrounded by 15-20 foot tall blue spruce trees. There is one lot between the back of my lot and a somewhat busy street, but once I have the fence up I won't even hear that traffic.
  • It is a three bedroom, two bath ranch with a basement. The family I bought it from was an Austrian-American family who kept it very well maintained and did a lot of remodelling. I mention their nationality because the house has an Austrian/German decor. The most striking aspect being the knotty pine panelled basement with a full wet bar and long pine table, making a classic Rathskeller bar from the region.
  • It has a two car garage (completely tiled with meat hooks hanging from the ceiling - he is an avid hunter and would butcher his deer and elk in the garage before loading it into his freezers).
  • The property has two large sheds on the back corners of the lot. One is full of split hardwood, the other is for storage but has a 3 foot by 3 foot by 10 foot tall brick smoker with a brick pizza oven. So the owner would also smoke sausages and meats made from the animals he hunted. I'll use one for the lawn mower and my agility equipment. I hate to say it, but I think one or both sheds (and the smoker) may need to come down in the next few years since they are taking up valuable practice space...
  • Inside the layout is fine, the arrangement of the two bathrooms is a little non-standard, but otherwise the rooms are reasonably sized and there is good traffic flow.
  • They added an approximately 20 by 15 sun room that opens onto a 20 by 20 deck. So that will probably be the main living room for me.

Of course no existing house is perfect for the new owner. But there is nothing inside the house that I have to change. My initial focus will be getting the yard ready for the dogs. I have fencing, and landscaping (have to remove some small trees from the yard and move the dirt from a raised vegetable garden) contractors set up to come in the day after I close.

My other big expenses will be to buy a dog walk, some weaves I can leave outside, and buy/build 8-10 more jumps. Of course I still need to build the tire jump I bought the parts for five years ago :^). I should also order another tunnel.

So I’m very excited about this new place and hope it will allow me to take my training and handling to the next level (it will at least get rid of any excuse for not training). It will also make it easier for me to prepare material for the dozens of articles I want to write for this site. I’m also planning on setting up full courses, inviting other agility friends over and then documenting some of the handling challenges and solutions.

So gentle reader, please be patient as I go through this upheaval; I’ll have more to write about when it’s over.

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