I never thought it would happen, but Minnesota finally exited the heart of the sun and cooled off enough for something like autumn to happen and for us to go scootering regularly again. Some of the Mush Puppies’ verbal commands (coughONBYSQUASHcough) were a little rusty, so we’ve been doing a combination of scootering and canicrossing about 2-3 times a week for a few weeks now. Migrating geese as well as deer and squirrels preparing for winter have given us plenty of remedial practice.
There are only so many pictures of my dogs’ butts than can be posted on the internet, but I think this is my new favorite picture of them in harness.
And this was an adorable moment where Maisy struggled with inner conflict over whether to chase a squirrel or not, which she resolved by hopping straight up into the air and calling that a good effort.
Anyway, part of getting back into the swing of things is checking over the equipment, and I’m glad to say that almost everything is in good shape. The only thing that really needed to be replaced was my scooter noodle. The noodle is a short segment of some kind of stiff material that prevents the line from getting tangled in the front wheel if the line goes slack. When the line is out, the one I had looks something like this:
When slack, it looks more like this:
That strap that attaches to the handlebars helps keep the noodle elevated off the wheel because, although it works great for starts and stops, if the line unexpectedly goes slack while we are going fast enough the foam actually is soft and flexible enough to get sucked up by the tire. And that’s happened a time or two, so my poor noodle has taken a beating. I bought it pre-made, and that pipe insulation is supposed to be tucked neatly inside that blue nylon cover with the strap. The poor nylon cover is in tatters, though, and the foam itself is starting to split down the middle.
So I was pondering whether I wanted to replace it with the same thing or try to do something handy, when my eye fell upon some of my other dog-related supplies. We play a little Agility and Rally-O on the side, and so I have stuff like this lying around my backyard…
So I thought, hey, that PVC pipe shouldn’t be too hard to make into a noodle. I started by drilling a hole near one end. For the safety nerds, this photo is totally staged after the fact; I just wanted to illustrate that you really need to do this at an angle. I tried going straight down and the bit just kept rolling off to the side. I believe I used a 9/32″ bit if anyone cares.
Then I just clipped a clip through the hole, scavenged the strap off my old noodle, and used a keyring to attach the strap to the clip thusly:
Here’s what it ended up looking like, with the line taut and with the line slack:
Sadly, the keyring was not strong enough to withstand the sheer raw power of my Mush Puppies, and it pulled apart about halfway through our run today. But I got to thinking – since the PVC is so much stiffer than the foam, it doesn’t really need the strap to elevate it off the wheel – it’s not getting sucked into the wheel pretty much no matter what. So it just needs to be kept in place on the line close to the scooter. While I whipped up a new attachment, the puppies waited patiently:
Until I was done creating a double secret clip arrangement thusly:
Which worked wonderfully. No pesky strap, the PVC noodle stays in place on the line, and all is well. Which makes us all feel like this:
Now that we can actually scooter again, I should update more frequently. Until next time, LET’S GO, PUPPIES.