A magical whirl wind doesn’t even begin to describe my U.S Open experience. This was our first non-AKC national and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to fall head over heels in love with the event and become so enthralled by it that I plan on attending it every year from now on. I’m not even sure I could put my finger on what made it so marvelous. The friends? The challenging courses? A weekend of nothing but agility? Spending time with my fur babies? The atmosphere? All those things and so much more…
The courses were hard. Probably the hardest courses I’ve ever run. But, instead of letting them defeat me before I even stepped into the ring, I decided to give them all I had. The courses tested the competitors’ skills without mercy, and it was exhilarating! We got to run snooker for our second time ever, and compete in our inaugural gamblers class. Games classes certainly pose different challenges and techniques and I look forward to improving our abilities in them.
Both boys had a blast! (Although, Pan’s favorite part was probably swimming in the pond out front of the arena) Pan put his heart into all his runs, unfortunately they proved to be a bit too technical and off courses looked like more fun than the actual courses. He was the top (albeit the only) brittany spaniel there…. and he’ll always be my #1 Panda Bear. My special boy who has taught me so much, not just about agility, but life as well.
Bilbo amazed me with his performance. He ran like the wind in every class, and was consistently the fastest dog in his height class. He joyously barked and yelled at me through every run… by the end of the weekend I was wishing I could borrow some of his energy! His bright eyes sparkled with intensity and I could feel his eagerness emanate from him. It was contagious! As I looked at the difficult course maps in the morning, I felt excited to face them with my little hobbit. My Bilbo raises me up to be the handler I’ve always wanted to be. He gives me courage.
As I walked to the line for each of our runs, I reflected on what they really meant to me. I thought of my cancer scare; how I didn’t even think I’d still be alive right now. I thought of how scared I was of losing Bilbo in his pancreatitis attack. I cried as I stood behind the podium, waiting for them to call Bilbo & my name. We were national champions… 1st place in Masters Series. I thought of how bone deep my happiness was that I was there, with family, friends, and my dogs… doing what I loved.
*Think of the happiest things. It’s the same as having wings!*