Rocky Mountain Magic

Shortly after finding out about the European Open I was scheduled to hop on an airplane & head to the West to spend some time with my husband and see the Rocky Mountains.  I was quite stressed to be leaving Cash behind when I felt like I had so much to do…but a very wise woman reminded me that in order to be truly successful you need to have balance in your life.  She’s 110% right.

I flew out of our tiny little airport on a very tiny little plane. They definitely should consider installing Holy Shit handles in those things – I was quite certain we were going down on more than one occasion! I survived both flights & landed in Calgary…a short couple of hours later and we were at our awesome hotel in Canmore, Alberta.

I have seen the mountains as a young child…but my God are they breath taking. We only had four days together, but managed to see a lot of the most talked about sights, enjoyed each others company and ate far too much yummy food 🙂  The first full day together we took the spectacular drive up the Icefields Parkway and just missed the cut off for walking on the glacier! We dipped our toes in Lake Louise, Bryan almost broke through some ice on Lake Moraine, I hiked in sandals through snow drifts *not surprising if you know me*, my bum “temporarily lodged me” in a Cave adventure we decided to go on AND we were able to see mountain sheep, elk, bears, a lone wolf (or at least he looked alone!).

The only dog related homework I did was drinking German Beer in preparation for the European Open…oh and Cash’s boy Tag did drop by for a 30 minute visit 🙂

I will post some more pictures later – the one above is from the top of the little hiking path from the Banff Gondola.

~ Karen

Am I dreaming?

It has been eleven days since I found out that I do in fact get to represent TEAM CANADA at this years European Open!! I am beyond excited & deeply honoured that Cash and I are representing our beautiful country at such an awesome event.

I got the news while I was a passenger (thank God) in Mom’s car heading to work – I am fairly certain I caused some permanent damage to her hearing and may have affected the shocks in her car. I screamed & bounced and carried on for at least an hour.  There were also some very loud voicemail messages left for friends – NONE of which seemed able to answer their phones!!

After the excitement *started* to settle I got down to business to book my flight overseas & found out we were going to get to go a little bit early and stay a little bit late… That’s okay though! Cash and I are going to make a little European vacation out of it.  I immediately googled “Things to do Alone with Your Dog in Munich”. I’m not sure I’d recommend that search.  LOL.

55 Sleeps until the competition begins!!! AND…less than 7 weeks until we leave. I feel a little bit overwhelmed with all of the things I need to get done between now and then but am thankful for the support of all my friends and family. You know who you are 🙂

~ Karen

Video, Connection, and Nowhere to sleep

Almost every trial I go to I have someone videotape my runs. I do it because I want a record of those amazing moments – the runs where it felt like perfection, where time slowed down and it is just me and the dog doing our dance.  There is so much magic in that connection, and I think it is a big part of what drives me in agility.

The last few days I have decided that it is time to go through ALL of my video. I would say that at this point I am about 50% done editing, reviewing & compiling the last years worth of agility trials.  I have always had a hard time reviewing my video. I find it difficult to watch the runs where I’m making mistakes, have poor timing, or am not showing up 110%.

You know what I’ve realized? I need to do this. I REALLY need to do this. I need to watch every single minute of this video.  It is good for me to SEE what I am doing wrong, and to realize that NO MATTER how the run turned out that my dogs are always bringing every ounce of their beings. Watching my dogs attempt to understand what I want when my timing is bad, or when I’m making mistakes shows me just how lucky I am to have them and how much HEART they have.

The dance of agility might not always BE perfect, but tonight as I watch myself stumble along in some less than spectacular runs I am thankful for my canine partners.  They don’t understand outcome, or have expectation. They live wholly in the moment, and once and awhile I am lucky enough to truly join them there.

Off to bed now…although if you see the picture above you’ll see I have nowhere to sleep 🙂

~ Karen

Being More, Doing Less

Love the part about spending more time “being” and less “doing”. So much truth to that.

The Cognitive Canine

Things are changing in the sport dog world.  We are suddenly immersed in activities to do with our dogs.  We can participate in scent work, dock diving, barn hunt, and more.  Just having one measly agility class a week no longer needs to cut it; we can now attend a dog-related function, be it class, seminar, or competition EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.  So, should we?

I feel that dog guardianship falls on a continuum these days with most pet dogs still not getting enough in regards to mental stimulation or exercise and most sport dogs being run utterly ragged.  Yes, I said *most* sport dogs.  If you attend a dog-related sanctioned activity that requires enormous amounts of mental stamina from your canine companion every single weekend and one or more nights a week, you might want to reconsider.  Why is it harmful to do too much?  Besides the risk…

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The Next Chapter

So much has changed since I last sat down with my laptop to share my experience of life with the world. We have moved from the home that we thought was our forever home, to a place where all my agility dreams are going to come true. There is so much to say just on that! But I will blog later about our adventures here 🙂

What I really want to share this morning is video from a seminar I participated in with Kayl McCann hosted at the gorgeous McCann Agility arena in Flamborough, Ontario. I was lucky enough to audit the camp the first three days, then participate the last two with my dog Cash. I was able to feel what is possible with this dog, and glimpse the future – while being challenged, and inspired to keep working. It was one of the best experiences of my life! Check out some of my favourite moments here:

As always – thanks for listening!

Karen