A note to my incredible students on the eve of a trial (or three):
I am so proud of you. It is an honor and privilege to work and play with you and your incredible dog. You have worked hard. You have put in hours of practice. You have creatively overcome challenges. You have created clarity in your cues and communication. You have developed a beautiful relationship like no other with your canine teammate. You recognize your team’s strengths and weaknesses. You have set realistic goals and strategized how you will handle your runs to best benefit your dog and yourself. You have read the rule book, asked questions and engaged in discussion. And while you may be nervous and your dog may at times be distracted, you both are brave and brilliant. Remember that every run, Q or no, is an opportunity for learning and growth. This is a game we play to have fun with our amazing dogs. We don’t get nearly enough time with them in this life, so take time to enjoy the moment. Remember that your dog loves you and you are going home with the very best dog there. Make good decisions. Be kind to others. Be kind to your dog. Above all, be kind to yourself. And when you don’t think you can go on, remember…I once lost my skirt in the ring and kept showing because I was lost in the joy of working with a brilliant partner. If that doesn’t make you giggle, nothing will. You got this!