A wrinkle was added to my summer when Tai was injured in late spring. So, this whole summer season – so cherished after our loooong winter and long spring has been spent on a different road from what I expected. Life has a way of doing that.
Tai is young and strong and every indication is that he’ll recover fully from an iliopsoas strain. How to prevent future injury is another blog post altogether. How brave he has been through this whole process could be another.
For this here and now, I am reflecting on little moments with our dogs and a little/big/huge concept of teamwork. Do you ever step back and think about how AMAZING it is that they even want to do this crazy agility sport with us? We layer all this human stuff on top of the game we play with our dogs. Like getting that “Q”, “QQ”, title, placement, championship, qualification, etc. Believe me, I’m not immune from that way of thinking. But it does get in the way at times…of appreciating those little moments when the connection with our teammate is simple and pure. Those feel good moments. Ultimately, having more of those moments with my teammate is what motivates me.
Speaking of teams…here is a common question that I get when trialing and it makes me laugh a bit. How did Tai/Breeze do today? I usually respond with something like “Well, Tai/Breeze was perfect. I messed it up”. Because, of course, we know that the human half of the team makes most of the mistakes. Maybe score sheets should be required to include the handler name because we are the responsible party!
But, here is my big point about little moments. When I say “I messed it up”. Probably, I only messed up one thing…maybe I became spatially disoriented for a split second, maybe I misjudged where I could be relative to my teammate and my timing was slightly off. The rest of the run may have been simple and pure and beautifully reflected all the training together and the hard work that went into preparing for those training sessions. Reflecting on those moments builds confidence; thinking about and holding onto those moments might even make them happen more often.
It’s easy to get hung up and entangled in an artificial framework of success. Our sport is a bit brutal that way since in most classes no mistakes (bars, contacts, refusals, etc) are allowed for qualification. Especially AKC style agility. Ok, that might be a different blog post. But think about it…a team might have a fast, lovely run with all those simple and pure moments and the dog runs by the last jump. Refusal called. Oh well, no Q today but a lovely NQ is worth celebrating too!
This is the attitude I’m going to foster as I begin trialing with Tai again. I’m going public, so I give you readers permission to hold me to it!
Hey, here is another question. So, if this is a team, why does my teammate get to take a nap while I schlep all the equipment around the yard?