I have a wall in my bedroom that is chalkboard paint. One half of that wall is covered with inspirational quotes. Some from dog trainers, others from writers, and a few from Walt Disney. The other half of that wall is a list of goals. Most have to do with agility. Some big, some small, some long-term, some short-term. Each one has a small white box next to it, waiting to be checked off, complete. I have only ever checked two off, “EOJ 2015” and “Start a Blog”. That list is constantly changing; things being added, erased, or rearranged. That’s the glory of the chalkboard. It can be altered any time I want. And changed it has.
I got Tempi during a very hard time in my life. She was my light, and my joy. Yes, I had hoped to accomplish many of these goals with her, but her main purpose was to bring me the happiness I was missing. And she did just that. My goals with Tempi have changed greatly over the past year. I thought I could get her and make her a “world-team dog”. That, If I worked hard enough, we could that. Well, that didn’t work out. We don’t work well together. We clash. We get frustrated with one another much too easily when it comes to training. I spent a solid year crying after every training session, because I was so discouraged. I knew it wasn’t supposed to be that hard. But I am not one to give up, ever. So I pushed, and pushed to make her what I wanted her to be. That had the exact opposite effect. She began to hate the game, and so did I. But I couldn’t, I wouldn’t give up. I saw a light in her, and I still do. I just needed to figure out how to get that out of her. And I think I have, in my Mom. Tempi works great for my mom and they have fun together. Something I never did.
But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was giving up on her. And she didn’t deserve that. She deserved everything I could give her. I had goals and plans with her. How could I just toss those aside, just because she wasn’t exactly what I wanted her to be. Maybe if I worked a little harder I could get her there. Maybe. Maybe I’m just not a good enough trainer. I’m learning that that’s not true. That sometimes trainers and dogs just don’t work out. Other people do it all the time, get new puppies when the first one doesn’t work out. So, why couldn’t I convince myself to do that? Because I wanted nothing more than for Tempi to be my “world-team dog”. My partner, my teammate that I could check things off my list with. But, I’ve accepted that she’s not. That no matter how hard I try, I can’t make her what I want. Dogs have personalties too, and sometimes those don’t mix with ours well. So, I’m changing how things with Tempi go, and handing her training over to my mom.
Things can’t always happen the way you plan them. There will always be surprises, and changes. I’ve had to change my methods and my goals to fit my current situation. Because as much as you try, you can’t plan your future. But, you can change the way you go about it.
I’ve changed my goals with Tempi, but I still have those big goals, goals that require a dog. Do I really want to get a dog two years before I go away for school? Where does that leave my mom, in a house with 4 dogs by herself? That doesn’t seem fair. Do I take Zippy full time? Well that doesn’t seem fair either. And then fate happened.
A breeder I’ve admired for awhile has a litter that I instantly fell in love with. I’ve followed these puppies since the day they were born. It just so happens they have one puppy available. He’d be ready to come home right after I got back from the EOJ. I know, and love a dog from a previous litter of the same breeding. Things just felt right. That feeling in your gut you get sometimes, when you know somethings good? I had that in a major way. But there were so many “Ifs”. How could I guarantee that this dog would be what I thought he would? How could I guarantee it wouldn’t be a repeat of Tempi?
Well I can’t guarantee those things I’ve learned. And that sometimes, you just have to trust your gut. So, I’m jumping.
Introducing, Ignited Checkpoint “Check”
I’m hoping he will be my partner to help “check” those goals off my list. His name is also in honor of my first international competition. Something I hope to be able to do with him someday. But if we don’t, that’s okay too. You can’t assure these things. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try my very damnedest.
I’m ready to explore my goals, and this world with you Check.