Sunday, June 25, 2017

This weekend there was a regional agility championship held in my city.  I knew a few people running; a friend, some former shelter staff/volunteers, former instructors, former classmates, and even a shelter dog who I worked with briefly years ago.

After my friend finished running her dog, as I pulled out of the parking lot, a bunch of things hit me all at once.  How awful it is to explain to people that you can't play the game that you love because your dog can't leave your home.  How everyone I know is progressing so well and I'm stranded behind them by myself.  How, even if I get a puppy, it will still be years before we actually get to play (and then what if the new puppy can't play either?  Then what?)  How unfair it is that I have this great, fun, smart little dog and no one else gets to see how amazing and smart she is.

I'm just throwing myself a pity party, but I had to get it out.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I took my first Fenzi Dog Sports Academy class last August.  At the time, I didn't realize what an amazing community was behind the online dog training center, but with additional classes, I discovered the support and encouragement of other people embarking on the same training journey to improve the lives of their dogs (and themselves).  I have online, R+ dog-friends from other corners of the internet, but something about the people in FDSA has been incredibly inspiring and uplifting to me.  Reading others' stories and successes with their own dogs - some with very similar issues as Ida - has been been very encouraging for me and I am incredibly grateful everyday for having found a community that focuses on using R+ as much on its people members as on its canine ones.

But there has been something else that I didn't expect from joining such a large online community.  Even though there are thousands of people, it is quite tight knit, and the increase in support and motivation and encouragement has also come with heartache, as people who I previously had no connection with say goodbye to dogs that have taught them so much about themselves and the way they view the world.

Sometimes it feels like I've known the dog personally.  They've become fixtures in my online world, seemingly infinite and ageless, even as I see the numeral marking their years increase in online posts. Others I have never read about until their owner posts a heartfelt goodbye that reminds me how little time we get with our dogs.  It doesn't matter if it's one year or ten, it's never enough.