I've been thinking about this post for days, knowing I had lots to say, but I've been unsure how to go about getting it out. Life is a series of defining moments, I've become more convinced of that lately. These are moments that make life crystal clear and the direction you are aiming for very certain. Or they can change the course of your life forever.
I've had several of those, and an unusual amount of crystal clear moments this winter and spring. But, most are way beyond the scope of this old blog, so will have to remain as just that; defining moments in my career and personal life that are changing who I am and where I am heading.
I've been very aware that I am just coming up on an anniversary of one such moment; nearly 5 years ago, I was in a car accident that caused the loss of my beloved, albeit way to much dog for me, dog Mortimer. It set into motion a series of events that brought Spike into my life and a determination to have a dog who could run dog sports.
Another such moment is just past; 3 years ago at Easter time, my niece Katherine was diagnosed with Leukemia. This changed my path as I found myself living in the Saskatoon area, when I had planned all along to go to Edmonton. Katherine is about 9 months past chemo treatments, has a head full of red curly hair and enough spunk to propel her forward into life. She's full of energy, joy and happiness. Yes, she's well on the road to being just fine. But, still a defining, life changing moment and with one simple declaration from a doctor changed my family forever.
This past weekend was another moment for me, in several ways. I attended an agility seminar with Spike and that was a moment for me. We accomplished more than I thought possible, and for the first time this winter I walked away feeling like I CAN run agility, Spike and I CAN be successful and I am able to do this! I felt that way in the fall, after running a couple trials but I am feeling like I am getting there, not just my dog; I've never doubted Spike's ability, but I have questioned mine. I want to run agility, be successful, and someday teach and judge agility myself. It's a new goal.
The other moment occured thanks to Sophie. Sophie met my friend this weekend from Edmonton who has multiple labs, all very sweet, all very good agility dogs. Sophie was her usual, wild self and my friend set me straight. She told me the truth, which I heard loud and clear: Sophie is an unmannered, badly behaved dog. And, I heard the message loud and clear and as such have changed Sophie's life forever. I am on a journey to learn to be a better dog owner; I babied her because I felt bad about how bad she felt. I babied her because she was cute and gave me "the eyes". As a result? I have a dog who is difficult to live with and I now have the task of cleaning up the mess. So, end result? Sophie is on "manners bootcamp" where she has no freedom in the house, is on strict leash walking routines, and is earning back privileges like "sleeping outside of the crate at night". It's hard work being consistent, but I am way more stubborn and determined than she is. I do not want a dog who snaps at another unsuspecting, undeserving lab. I do not want a coffee thieving, food thieving dog in my house. I do not want a dog who has no self control because I haven't taught her to use what she has. The defining moment was clear; I do not have to live like this anymore.
I've struggled with Sophie's behaviours for a long time. There's no doubt that she is a spirited, willful dog but I haven't had the plan in mind until last weekend. That's when it became crystal clear; I can have a normal, happy, EASY TO LIVE WITH lab, if I decide that's what I want. So, stay tuned on updates about Sophie's "manners bootcamp". We'll get there, her and I. I'm way more stubborn than her and already in the span of a week have seen "baby steps" towards improvement. At this moment, I'll take what I can get.