Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why Weekends Off Are Bad for Your Health

Let it be written that I tried a weekend off, thinking after the last show that surely non-stop agility weekends could not possibly be healthy.

CLEARLY wrong.  There are FAR WORSE THINGS. 
I’m assuming at this point most everyone knows what I’m referring to.  If not, well, not sure you want the nightmares so maybe come back and visit another day.

My poor little bird. I keep thinking about it, and what could have been different: how it could have been worse, how could it have been better. These thoughts are unnecessary…torturous…dangerous. Sigh.  Can’t stop them from coming though.

We all remain shell-shocked.  I take the girls for a walk and wince at the site of other dogs with their owners.  Do these people, too, believe their dog is incapable of being a threat? How tight is their grip, how well staked is their line?  I see my once solid, confident, appropriate Dog try to hide from them in doorways.   I am so upset at the site of unattended dogs that I (the world’s most passive of passive aggressives) complain to property management and demand action.   I am so upset that even taking that step, I don’t think we will go for walks here anymore.

I’m sure she will be ok. Only a few weeks and I will have my girl back where in another reality maybe I wouldn’t.  I am buoyed by this. I am satisfied that the property management takes these things seriously and has already formed a plan. I am beyond thankful that my family was there in that moment and that my parents were champions for The Dog when my hands were otherwise occupied.  Grateful too that this meant my Pup is safe and whole.  But it doesn’t stop the heartbreak or the fear, can’t erase what is done and I don’t know what will.  Time makes things like this burn less brightly; fur grows back… but the marks will be there, just under the surface.  I can’t tell yet what this will mean for all of us.

But for now, looking forward, I will try to focus on being proactive and thankful and I am hoping that will move us through the shock and past those unnecessary thoughts.
Feelin' much better without the drain. Soooo.... ball? 
Mega holes. Ear on right. 
In case anyone would like a drain close-up.
Blackmail photo. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why the Silver Medalist Cries and Other Things I Learned Last Week.

Our epic travels are done; a brave experiment was conducted as to whether or not traveling for two back-to-back Regionals was going to be a GOOD idea or a BAD idea.

Well, as most of our adventures seem to go, it turned out that wasn’t so much about the outcome as it was about the journey and what we learned along the way.   
Last year, you may recall, the NC Regional was the site of a Major Crisis of Confidence. It was one of those weekends that made me seriously reconsider well, everything.  My handling, my attitude, The Dog’s attitude, our combined mental fortitude, our knowledge, skills, abilities, etc etc… it was all center stage suddenly and not making the cut.  

It was pretty sad-making.

But as sad as I was, when the time came that I chose to continue or not, I picked continue.  I was not immediately rewarded. The Nationals dealt another blow shortly thereafter.  (I know this comes over as very dramatic- I realize none of this is life or death and in the end that the joy is where I make it. But- and I know I’m not alone- there IS a lot of joy in attainment and if you aren’t emotionally invested to some degree, then I’d ask you- why bother?)
After the Nationals, it became clear that we needed Change. There was no way I’d reach the level of Attainment with The Dog that I wanted without it. 
Enter: Daisy Peel, mental management and the best piece of throwaway advice I’ve ever received.
One changed the way I approached the course, one the way I ran the course and the other the way I felt about the course.  The end result was that, at least sometimes, and with growing frequency, we could run to our potential. And when it mattered!
Coming full circle then, after a year of what I would call True Investment, we land back at the NC Regional.  I had hoped there would be some amount of redemption- that I would be able to say THERE. Hard work pays off. See how different?  Truthfully, it was different. But the end result on paper? The same.  No byes. Still a sad car ride home, feeling very upset.  And then angry with myself for feeling very upset because I’d set a goal of getting through the weekend with a happy dog who could hold her own against some good competition and we had achieved that goal.  SHE did great. We had no melting or bad runs with Es and actually had some frickin’ fantastic moments with just some plain, old fashioned Bad Luck in the runs that really mattered.  But I could not stop thinking “a whole year later and I’m still sad in the car???” Silent Screaming and all that. 
So, while I initially thought the Russian gymnasts were being dramatic, crying over their silver medals, I sort of get it.  Because you HAVE to invest big if you’re going to even get to the Olympics.  Big investments = big disappointments if you can’t make it the most amazing performance of your life when you need it to be.   I decided that it was okay for the silver medalists to cry.   But then what?
Now again, I was at somewhat of a crossroads. After doing literally everything I thought possible to set myself up for a great weekend, and not (on paper) having the outcome I’d expected, I could likely look to the second Regional as DOOOOOOM…
But luckily, the night I arrived back home, I read “Freedom Flight,” a story of sorts that was a thinly veiled mental management guide.   The story was weak but the message was oh so strong. And appropriate.  At the heart of this book is the reminder that sometimes, it is just not your time…Yet. But if you want it enough, doors open.   Events do fall in line, but not until they are supposed to and until then you get what you need.  The first Regional…not ours.  But not time wasted. I learned exactly what to do to have success the following weekend.  Sure enough, from the moment we arrived, everything fell in line.  Doors falling open. I wasn’t worried about the outcome, because I already knew what it would be. 
Maybe it’s My Time to play the lottery too?
Pup and her Cat
Cat Wuvs Pup!
Whaaaa? I get to spend THREE DAYS WITH MY CAT??
The Very Serious Sheriff of Rm 108
Black Dog! Big Mouth!
More Big Mouth
Wittle Mouth
Posed for pouncing.
Artsy medal pose.
Medal jealousy and photo crashing.