I want to write tonight to say how grateful I am for my dogs. I mourn Ein's compromised physical condition, I joke endlessly about Molly's "lookin' out for Number 1" attitude, and I would probably pay a good amount of money if I could magically make Perri less ... eccentric and fragile.
None of this means that I don't treasure each and every training session and moment that I have with them. This weekend at the rally trial, mine and Perri's instructor joked with me that I have "too much empathy" for my dogs. I allowed that that was definitely true. I am a deep thinker, everything is life or death, everything has to be analyzed mentally, and I have to beat myself up about any errors I have made. I am Too Serious. I could never be accused of taking for granted my own mobility and good health. Just today I was walking around for some geocaches and I was pissed off because I was very hungry and had to pee but my god I thought, I can walk and I feel no pain and that is something. Every day, I am grateful. And I could never be accused of taking my dog's mobility and good health for granted either.
I love them, head over heels. I try to stop being so serious, I always give them the benefit of the doubt. If something went haywire, it was my fault. I might tease about Molly being "crazy" or Perri being a martian, but I agonize over my own mistakes and treasure my dogs. Those dogs give me 100 percent every time we go into the ring. Every time we train. Powerful joyful Molly. Sweet graceful Perri. They are my sense of humor and my teachers and I am never not grateful to have these dogs to trial with. How lucky I am, how very lucky.
A friend of mine had to euthanize her sweet brindle dog this week. Hemangiosarcoma. Sudden. No time to buy her dog all the special treats she loved, no time to even realize what the hell was happening before her girl needed to pass away.
This weekend me and my own brindle girl could earn our CPE C-ATCH title. I will be thinking of my friend's brindle agility dog that will run no more in this world. If Molly and I don't earn our C-ATCH, then we probably will another day. That's just fine. And was it ever about those letters, that ribbon, for me? Maybe. But now it is the miles driven, a meatball for her and a ribbon for me when we do a good job, the learning, the teaching, every sweet step into that ring and the pounding of two feet and four paws in how many different rings bonding and growing and loving together. It is about respect and appreciating everything my dog and I can share together, because it can all be gone in the blink of an eye. Every day is precious, and I don't intend to ever take that for granted.