I mean to do a quick little post in honor of Molly's 5th birthday, but life has been awfully busy lately. My job has been very hectic, dog classes and therapy work consume each of my evenings. I have signed up for Bronze level of three very busy classes at the Fenzi Academy and have barely had time to do anything more but peek in and out of the forums (and become giddy each time - because each time I see more fun things we can work on.)
But yesterday is Molly's imaginary birthday and so she is five years old! Five is not old at all, but my girl is mellowing out for sure. And I must admit that I find that to be very pleasant. I grew up with a labrador retriever who also was completely irritating to me for the first few years of her life. Molly was a challenge. Stubborn, frustrating, reactive, leash pulling and always on the edge of control and embarrassing me. I think that everybody in my life loved Molly more than me.
Agility, or the natural course of time, seems to have changed that in the last year. We have grown and bonded in ways that have astonished me. I have found myself calling Molly a "good girl." Molly watches me on the agility course now. She takes my micromanaging in stride and just deals with it, though it stresses her out. When I tire Perri out with training Molly is there with a wagging tail to remind me that she will happily work for an hour with me, if I will only tell her what it is that I want. She adores shaping, she is comical, she is an epic dog. She never runs out of "want" or "try". Ever. I will admit that when I am at an agility trial chock full of border collies, golden retrievers, shelties and corgis... I feel more than a little honored to be different, with my beautiful girl on the other end of the leash. She has a swagger, she has beautiful eyes, she would sell her soul for a chunk of string cheese. She is not a cookie cutter dog.
I used to resent Molly being my agility dog. She was so crazy and unmanageable and I had to stick in it with her because she was all I had. I learned that our problems were more than 99% my fault. And we learned to work together. I never imagined that I would enjoy being Molly's partner so much - but here it is. I do. Things have changed. I'm not sure how or exactly when, but I have spent nearly every day training this dog (whether for 30 seconds or 30 minutes) and hours with her at trials and I see videos and photos of her on the agility course actually looking at me and loving me and something just shifted without my even realizing it.
I cannot even imagine where we will be next year. But instead of resenting my partner, I find myself driven to see just how good of a team we can become. I find myself wanting to see what else we can do, how far we can go.