Saturday, January 5, 2013

Time Flies

I can't believe how much time has passed since I last wrote. So many things have happened, both happy and sad and it seems the year ran away with me. My mother was in poor health, in and out of the hospital, and I made many trips to their home in Northern Wisconsin. When I last wrote, I was preparing for trial in June with Buzz and Cooper. A glitch in the flight arrangements for the judge and poor entries for the conformation show resulted in a cancellation of the event; as it turns out, that was fortuitous as I was needed back home. 

In the meantime, our club struggled with replacing helpers who had moved or moved on.  Much of my technical work was done using a jolly ball.  Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!  Transport, escape, call backs... all trained with the jolly ball.  This may be something for a future post.

Ray A. JohnsonMom fell during during dialysis and entered a rehab facility. More trips up north. Uncle Ray Johnson passed away on July 17th at age 84.

On July 28, my Aunt Elsie wood, my Dad's older sister, passed away at age 92.  On my way home from her funeral, I stopped to visit with my Mom.  We had a really great visit with lots of laughter and love, and I kissed her and said "Love you, Mumser".  It was to be the last time I would do that in this life.  She passed away on August 10, 2012 at age 79.

Our trial had been rescheduled to August.  The day before I had to pick up Judge Mike Caputo, my dear Mother passed away. She had always been supportive of my dog endeavors and asked about them. Mike was so wonderful and caring, and I opted to soldier through the trial for the sake of the people who were counting on me, knowing I had an angel on my shoulder. Buzz and Cooper both earned their IPO1 titles, and Cooper was High in Trial.  The most difficult moment was when I walked off the field, and the first thing I thought was " I need to call Mom and tell her..." only to realize, I couldn't do that any longer.  We packed up and left to join the family.

Then it was back to work.  On August 26th I trialed Buzz and Cooper for their IPO2 titles at O.G. Inselstadt under UScA Judge Al Govednik, but on that day, Buzz just was off on his tracking and did not pass.  He is an excellent tracker and so it was a puzzle as to what was going on with him. Cooper earned his IPO2, and was High IPO2.  Cooper made another appearance at that level at the North Central Region Championship, under UScA Judge Johannes Grewe and again passed and was the Regional IPO2 Champion.

 I had entered Buzz in a trial in MN for his IPO2, and drove 5 hours over to the site, practiced, checked in the hotel and was there 2 hours when I received a call advising the trial was canceled as there was bad weather and the judge could not fly out!  So, I turned around and drove 5 hours back home again that night and Buzz went back to his owner, who finished the IPO2 with him herself.  Go, Team Buzz!!! Buzz was such a pleasure to work with.  Tom loved having him here, too, and jokingly threatened to steal him he was such a love!  Buzz will earn his IPO3 in the 2013 trial season.

We lost our sweet house dog, and Cooper's dam, Roya vom Foxtal, on September 27th to bone cancer.  There is an empty spot on the bed. All in all, it was a pretty rough year for losses.

The one thing that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other on many days, is my dogs.  The dogs still need time, attention, training and love no matter what else is going on.  Being with them is a comfort, and training takes my mind off other things.  For some people, training is a means to and end; something to get through.  For me, the process is what I find rewarding and energizing.  A new client dog joined the household.  This time, a new one for me-- a dobe!!  I am fortunate that I do not have to take on clients to support myself, but do it because I enjoy it so I can be selective.  This young guy came to me at 7 months and by the time he left at 9 months, weighed over 90 lbs.  Boss is a BIG boy, and very social and enthusiastic.  He went home for the holidays and will be back in the spring to continue training for his IPO titles.

The last trial of our season was at Greater Chicago under UScA Judge Al Govednik, where Cooper earned his IPO3 and High in Trial. Somewhere along the line, possibly in practice the day before, Cooper pulled a muscle in his rear leg which showed itself in his reluctance/refusal to sit during the trial but he continued to work.  Since then we have been visiting Dr. Strickfaden for bicom treatments and doing our off-season rehab. This week we were invited to join IL-TF1, an US&R team.  Cooper and I will be visiting them later this month and are excited to become a part of that team. I am also keeping an eye on the IRO trial scheduled for August in New Hampshire.

I traveled--- dog-less--- to Nashville, TN in November to attend the UScA German Shepherd Dog Championship, as a delegate for our schutzhund club.  I  was proudly elected to a position as Director at Large.  It is always exciting to see old friends in the sport, and to see how improvements in training perform in the stadium.

As the year closed, and the daylight ours shortened I hit a bit of a slump. Perhaps because I finally had time to sit down and actually consider all that had happened, and facing a first Christmas without my Mom.  Not to be on a soapbox here, but what keeps the light in front of me is knowing that I will see my loved ones in Heaven, and that this life is not all there is.  There were some low points, and many challenges, but I have a wonderful husband, friends, family and the dogs I adore.  We make of life what we choose, and I choose to be excited about tomorrow!

So now I am out the other side.  Fox Valley Police & Schutzhund Club held their annual meeting today, and despite my pleading, I am still President! :) I'm excited about 2013.  We have new club dogs, including a nice little black female GS and everyone is excited to get back to work. I took Marco out the other day to demonstrate how to "drive" and shape positions and he was spot on-- made me very excited to title him this year, too!  Boss will be coming back, and will be joined by a young GSD female for IPO training. My pack will be joined by another (yes, ANOTHER) German Shepherd puppy this spring, if all goes well, a half sister to Buzz. Big plans for her! And I hope to have breaking news soon regarding a litter sired by Cooper vom FoxTal, CGC, RH-1,IPO3, Type1/CE!!

I'm back.  I hope you are, too!