Me and the dogs spent the last two weekends at agility trials. I have a new member in the mutt pack, Ripley the border collie. I’m running him this year for fun and to try to qualify him for USDAA Nationals next year since his mom can’t run him anymore. The dogs have astonished me at how well they have accepted this new guy into our pack and he is doing good with the mini mutts sniffing him and bothering him in the down time. Both weekends proved successful, we’ve already racked up a few Q’s for each dog towards Nationals. While we spent 3 whole days away from home for the trails, we spent about 7.5 minutes total actually running agility in those 3 days.
Spending time away with the dogs brings many special moments and a sort of refocus on life that just isn’t possible when at home going through the daily tasks and my busy schedule. It got me thinking this weekend… 99.99999% of the time at agility trails isn’t spent doing agility. Even when I’m volunteering all day and running around like a crazy person at the trial, there are so many moments that I am so thankful for that don’t involve actually running a course but have been given to me because of the sport.
Two weeks ago a woman walked by me and the dogs and told me what a beautiful “picture” she saw when she strolled by us; Me sitting in my chair all bundled up in a big coat as the sun was rising, Juno sitting on my lap and reviewing the course map with me, Ripley and Rookie both laying down in the back of the opened van tailgate sun bathing and watching me happily- it really was a nice moment of utter relaxation and serenity. At least once per trial weekend I am struck by a moment like that and it makes me happy that year round, not just during the Thanksgiving season I can be so very thankful for special times like these: watching how damn happy it makes the mutts when I walk back to the van after being gone only a short time, walking them around the show grounds when I have some free time, settling into the van at night to camp with a good book, some wine and the dogs snuggled in all around me, watching and listening to the rain pour down at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds while I’m tucked in cozy in my van with not a thing in the world to do, working the score table with a sleeping Rookie content in my lap, going through the drive-through at Sonic with 3 dogs fighting to poke their heads into the front seat to catch a whiff and say hello to the person inside the little window, practicing Nosework with Rookie on a fog covered horserace track at 7am, the cries of excitement when we get off the freeway and are close to arriving at a dog show, and the list could go on and on.
These are such simple things but so important to me and often stand out more than the big life events when I think back about what makes me happiest. I always feel rejuvenated the days following a dog trial, like my mind if refocused on what’s important in my life and what makes me happiest. It’s a grand feeling! And it so just happens that for 30 high energy seconds scattered throughout these memories are our actual agility runs and I’m totally fine with that ratio