Life is a journey!
Agility is a journey!
Enjoy the journey!
Everyone is on his or her own journey!
How many times have you heard these statements, nodded briefly, unconsciously, in agreement, and then promptly moved on?
How many times have you been on the receiving end of this advice and secretly thought,
“That’s alright for you to say. You have already reached your destination!”
I certainly have.
But then, that was at the very beginning of my own unique journey.
Now I’m more likely to hear myself repeat this same, sage advice to students and friends, knowing that it will be a while before they truly appreciate the wisdom in these words.
My journey, just like yours, is an incredible one that continues to this day.
Part of my journey is the one I have shared with my wonderful dogs – past and present.
This is the part that I’d like to share with you now.
As we each begin our journeys, I doubt we realize that it has started.
I’m sure we don’t know where it’s heading.
I most definitely did not.
When I politely asked shoppers not to step on Fluffy, my imaginary four-legged companion in Boots the chemist, (England) at the age of 5 or 6 (much to my mum’s extreme embarrassment);
When I walked my perfectly behaved imaginary, big white Pyrenean Mountain Dog from the bus stop to my grandma’s house in Wardington village (also in England);
I had no clue what was to come.
It takes time and maturity to realize that each and every journey truly is unique.
It is yours and yours alone.
No –one but you knows where you’ve been or where you are heading.
No –one has the right to comment on your journey.
Others can only see one tiny part of your journey – where you are now.
Each one of my dogs has helped me further along in this, my journey without a destination. It has been and continues to be a journey of learning, of ups and downs, of frustrating and soul-searching lows to exhilarating and intoxicating highs.
Dog training, they say, is character building!
I have been lucky enough to have shared my life for the last 38 years with a wonderful husband and almost 20 dogs to date.
There certainly have been plenty of character building moments and learning opportunities during that time!
If only I could remember them all!
As a friend of mine recently said,
“ It’s much better than the alternative, but aging certainly does come with its challenges!”
Here are some of the lessons that have stuck with me over the years.
Maybe some will be familiar. Maybe others will serve as timely advice. In any case, enjoy a little character building fun at my expense.
I dedicate each of the following lessons to a wonderful partner and friend whom I will never forget.
Thank you for all the precious moments and memories.
Lessons from dogs:
What can I say?
Thank you so much, Brandy. For allowing me to love my first real dog!
When we got married and owned our first home, a real dog was at the top of my list of priorities.
Yes, even before furniture!
Brandy was a gorgeous ruby red Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
He was a character. (Aren’t they all!)
He introduced me to the world of obedience training.
And taught me so many valuable lessons.
Lessons from Brandy:
I really, truly did want a dog mum.
It was not just a passing fad!
You absolutely should not store edibles at or anywhere near dog height!
Carpets are tasty!
Dog training is a fascinating new world. Once you begin, there is no turning back!
Sadly, dog owners have to make very difficult decisions.
“If I’d known then what I know now!”
Misty was my first “big dog”.
And what a “big dog” she was!
Misty was a beautiful, Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervueren).
She had one white rear toe!
Before she was mine, I took advice.
“Have a female!”
“They are easier than the males!”
Ha! Ha! Misty had very different ideas planned for me!
Lessons from Misty:
Coercion does not work! 😒
Dogs are very (maybe too!) forgiving!
I can win!
Working trials are fun!
Protection work is very exciting!
You really do need to crate train your dog!
You really must have a larger vehicle!
Sixteen years is not enough!