It’s been simmering in my core for the last three weeks or so. That knot of apprehension, the growing seed of uncertainty, the lovechild of exciting possibility and dread. Every few hours, when I have a free moment from the distractions of real life and work, it boils up. Rising into my chest and shortening my breath until I re-focus on something else, telling myself that Saturday is too far away to be this bothered about it now.
My start in dog training, and introduction to NAVHDA, began as the proud owner of a 10 week old puppy. The man who owned her sire called me up and said “We’re training tomorrow, I’ll pick you up at 5:30.”
I left that training experience in a sense of bewilderment… I remember thinking, “you’re telling me my dog can do ALL that? Seriously?”
And from there, the benchmark was set. They were training for the Invitational. And in my head I set a goal. I would run there one day, too.
It’s silly really. It’s a Utility Test, not a life and death decision or event. She’s already run it once, and I know she can do a prize worthy version of the work. But can she show up and put forth a Prize 1 effort? Can she (we) qualify? How much do I put in or take away in that equation… So much uncertainty.
It’s too close now for the “too far away” excuse to work. Tomorrow. Bright and shiny and 90 degree high, tomorrow.
I’ve learned a lot in the three and half years since that first training experience. I grew, and so did the dog. She’s been great to me anywhere I’ve taken her, and she’ll continue to be, hopefully, for many more years to come.
I guess… At the end of the day tomorrow, does it really matter? Will she care about the new numbers next to her pedigree? High or low? Will she know we will, or won’t be going to Iowa next September?
Or will she be curled up on the front seat, enjoying the air conditioning, and dreaming about a cool breeze, golden leaves, and standing stock still, waiting for the sounds of the gun.