A different kind of spring

Here’s the thing. Normally every spring I travel around the province of Ontario shearing sheep, alpacas and llamas. I began my career when I was 12, and am now almost 32. I’m not doing the math. But it’s a long time.

Things that have come with turning almost 32 include:

….A somewhat cantankerous rotator cuff & desire to sit on ones butt occasionally and relax!

Spring has always created full and utter chaos in my life. I work 7 days a week, shearing animals, running my orthotic business, and trying to fit in all the things that I love – Oh. and Sleep!

Here’s what I have come to know:

i) I want my rotator cuff to be happy

ii) I am no longer able to keep up with this pace of life….AND I think its time to STOP living for other people and START living for me.

So this year I said no. To my clients, and their animals that I’ve grown to care for. It’s one of the hardest things I have had to do.  Shearing has been such a huge part of my life for so many years – but I feel like I am stepping away from it and into my future.

Baby Alberta

Cash was bred for a second time to a beautiful bitch named “Grand Oakes Capture the Moment” aka Leica – she produced 7 healthy puppies AND I was lucky enough to be there for the birth of most of them.  It was so incredible to be involved, and bear witness to something so  magical.

I knew that I could not take one of these puppies for myself, as I have my hands quite full with two young dogs under a year of age…but the Universe smiled on me and let me spend 48 hours with one of the boys.  We picked him up from Julie’s house on the way home from the USDAA Chicago Regional, and kept him with us in our home as one of the gang for a couple of days before he got on a plane with my husband to head to the Wild West.

I could not believe how much he reminded me of his father at the same age, and how quickly I fell madly in love with him. He is one special little puppy, with the most incredible eyes, and sweetest personality.

Having him for the short time that we did was a blessing – watching him get on that airplane with Bryan was SO hard! However, I know that he has a very good home in Alberta &  I am so excited to see all of the amazing things he and his litter mates will achieve 🙂

~ Karen

Trying Out, Journeying Forward & Daring to Dream

Cash & I have been on quite a journey the last few weeks – and honestly if I think about it, for his entire life! That dog has taught me so much, and pushed me to dream and believe that IT IS possible!

We participated in the CKC Agility Team Tryout at the end of March, and had an amazing weekend on some very challenging, fun & FAST courses designed by Zeljko Gora from Croatia.  We had two clean runs, placing 6th & 10th – and the other four had some faults. My favourite run of the weekend actually is one that we ended up off course at the end, and of course it was totally my fault! I will post some video when I get my butt into gear and do some editing…!

I was hopeful that we would do well enough to be offered a spot for the European Open in July in Germany this year – we ended up being named the first alternate.  It is a little bit hard to be that close, and not quite get it – but I know that with time, we will…and I really do believe that things happen the way they do for a reason.

So here’s to journeying forward, daring to dream…and all that the future will bring us.

~ Karen


Grand Oakes Girl on Fire. A.k.a “Keys”

I can’t take credit for this awesome name, a friend of mine came up with it after I had been struggling with what to call her for a couple of weeks! It goes nicely with my musical theme – Cash’s full name is Grand Oakes Man in Black.

SO excited to have this little spitfire join our pack! And that name is appropriate in more ways then one – she has a HUGE set of lungs on her!!! Boy can this puppy “sing”… LOL.

She is Cash’s full sister, so I’m referring to them as Double Trouble. He isn’t too fond of having his little sister around yet, but I’m sure in time they will come to love each other. Or at least tolerate each other 🙂 Until then Maya is happy to take the pup-a-lump under her wings & show her the ropes. So lucky to have that Red Dog in my life.

Signing off for tonight! Until next time

~ Karen

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!


I love Mondays!

I have started to love Mondays. I know – it’s a little odd… Most people dread the end of the weekend, but not me! On Saturdays I find myself wondering “is it Monday yet??”

Before you suggest I check myself in for a psychiatric evaluation let me tell you why.

Mondays are the day that I drive (or lucky me today, have my husband drive) over five hours total for a one hour agility class.

Convinced you yet ? Lol.

Many people in my life think I’ve gone a little batshit, but you know what? That hour is beyond worth it for me.

Are there agility classes closer? Yes. Will I be as challenged or learn as much? No.

I have the opportunity to train with one of the best handlers in the world (www.kaylmccan.ca) – and really learn how to run the amazing little dog I have been blessed with.

So if that makes me crazy… So be it 🙂

Feeling very excited for the future and where Cash and I are headed! Until next time!

– Karen


My Lightbulb moment

I just had THE MOST amazing weekend ever.  To those of you who don’t do agility, I will do my best to describe how awesome it was!  I attended a Kayl McCann (www.kaylmccann.ca) seminar in Barrie, Ontario this weekend with my hungover half partner (see previous blog posting) Lori.  Kayl was teaching on the “One Mind Dog” concept (www.oneminddogs.com) – and to be honest I had no idea what I was getting into or what to expect.  I am SUCH an agility newbie, and hadn’t heard much about the One Mind Dog concept.  It’s only been two years of agility for me so far, and I already feel as though I’ve been on a pretty steep learning curve!!

We braved some scary road conditions to get to a friends house North of Barrie Friday night, settled in for some drinks and relaxation before the seminar.  I had my dogs Maya & Cash with me and Lori her dog Squeeze and Izzy.  Izzy is a puppy.  She’s perfect. I’m in love. She’s a Canadian and one day I’m thinking I’m going to have to abduct her and bring her back to her home country 🙂 She actually could pass for Maya’s daughter – they are the same beautiful deep red, but I digress.

Day 1 of the seminar, moment 1 – (fully awake & caffeinated due to 1 hour drive in snowy conditions from friends house) – I knew I liked Kayl, and the way the weekend was going to go down.  She is an absolutely INCREDIBLE instructor, makes you feel comfortable instantly,  explains things super clearly and makes everything about it fun. Which is what agility is supposed to be! Fun!!  I’m not going to go into detail on the One Mind Dog system – because, well, you should take a seminar – but I feel as though I FINALLY learned how to speak the same language as my dog.  Words do not describe how awesome it is to look your dog in the eyes, and not only SEE but FEEL the difference in his response to your cues.

I hardly slept last night. I have been doing agility moves in my orthotic lab.  I am beyond excited by this, and am looking forward to what the future will hold!

Back to work….. until next time!

– Karen & Cash & Maya