Now we are safely in to 2010 I've decided to have a little reflection on 2009... :-)
2009 has on the whole, been awesome. Ok... I'll rephrase that... 2009... from July onwards, has been awesome.
At the beginning of the year I had almost no hope of Tia coming back to agility, well, I always had a little bit of hope, but the reality side of me said that it was just nearby impossible as she was so broken. Yet here we are in January, coming up to 2 years since we went to Lowri's, and Tia has been sound for 9 months and been competing at full height (albeit very lightly) for the last 6 months. Going to Denmark, Austria and France in July was SUCH a highlight for me, it was amazing, to spend a month in great company, Lee was brill to go away with and he is Mr Sensible so I knew he'd keep us safe. If it was down to me, I'd have probably lost all our passports in Austria and Tia would still be in quarantine! LOL! And we both learnt how to use a Danish washing machine so the trip was educational too :-)
We have given up obedience, my goal for 2009 was to retrain Tia to work stylishly and motivated, and that is what we achieved. However, somewhat strangely... when I in my head achieved this, I lost all competitiveness, and I realise that the only person I wanted to prove to that I could do this was myself - I did it, Tia was working brilliantly, but I had no more desire to do obedience shows. I don't think that working on one side, with the dogs head up high, does any good for a dog in terms of them muscling up/favouring one side more, and I would rather do fitness training/agility training than obedience. So we quit obedience! Tia has just got stronger and stronger and is looking so fab. She behaves immensely immaturely, and it's hard to believe that she'll be 8 in May. She's training on 22" at the moment and looking good, the plan is to enter 2 classes per show with her, planning on a show a couple of times a month, and we'll see how she goes.
In 2009 I only did a handful of shows, Jess and Lee have taken Ricky off for quite a few weekends and Lee and Ricky have done brilliantly. Ricky adores them, and loves his weekends jetting off in the caravan. He's nearly 11 years old and is doing brilliantly. 4 years ago I remember worrying what he would be like when he was 10 or 11 as he was getting quite arthriticky, yet he is going great guns. He does get tired very quickly when I train him, that is the only problem, he still has the mind of a 2 year old and I am sure he would work all day if he could! So 2010 for Ricky is just about keeping fit, keeping healthy, and enjoying his veteran classes.
And then on to Scandal, where do I start. She has contributed to the high lights and the low lights of the year! Low lights being my failure to train a reliable recall for her, she has improved tons, but still not 100%, which I find really frustrating. She is an absolute loony watching agility, again I have found this frustrating at my perfect girl going from angel to maniac in a split second. I have learnt a lot and I think I will be able to deal with her a lot better this year. Last year has certainly been a lot of trial and error... more errors I think! Her agility... again I find quite frustrating, but I will do a separate post soon as to why. I do think I should make a video of all the tons and tons of rubbish I have on my video camera, so you guys can see how bad it is most of the time! Amazing what a bit of video editing can do, hehe. Obedience on the whole I've been pleased with, she's decided in the last few months that heelwork isn't quite so bad and actually seems to like doing static position work, and hand touch when my arm is outstretched. Not going to compete with her but I'd like her to be able to do the basics.
The second half of the year I have been to a lot of shows just to watch and it has been lovely to catch up with people after not seeing a lot of them for over a year. Imogen started her training with me at the end of December 08, by Sept 09 she won out of grade 1, had qualified for Crufts YKC Agility Dog of the Year, and qualified for the Agility Club Starters Finals. I am so proud of her and Honey, I think they are going to have lots of fun this year :) Garth's been a great chauffeur and very patient with Scandal, when he is trying to have a sleep in the car and Scandal won't stop barking, naughty Scandal :) I enjoyed travelling to shows in their company last year, and am going to take Imogen to some shows in the sexy van this year, well, there is a spare cage in the van which might as well be occupied (for Imogen if she is naughty :))
Outside of agility it has been a tough year, and I have no doubt that if I hadn't got Scandal, I'd have probably quit agility completely now. However, she is my little ray of sunshine, my angel, she is the sweetest, softest little dog going (if you haven't seen her at home, you are probably wondering which dog I am talking about!) and makes me smile so much, she is very much the comic out of the 3 of them, bouncy and sooo playful. No matter how much other people let me down, I know that she never will!
I have learnt that when times are hard, those guys who are your closest friends hold their hands out for you to reach, and if you reach out and take their hand, they will be there for you to help you through your darkest times. So many people have been so kind, I find it amazing and very humbling to have special friends that would go to the end of the world to make sure you're ok.
So 2010 now and the next couple of months are going to be a bit of a slog, finance exam revision, dissertation draft due in at the end of the month, plus 3 pieces of coursework due in for next month. A few months ago I wondered how it would ever be possible to get through the last year, now I can see light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't seem such a scary path to take. And I am REALLY looking forward to what 2010 may bring. But at the moment, I'm loving every minute of it :D