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World Agility Open

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


As I sit here, reflecting back the World Agility Open, my first international event, I am overwhelmed by the flood of emotions.  How can one describe something that has touched their soul?

I have written before about my Cushing’s disease, and the tumor that caused it.  I’ve relived the moment that my doctor told me I had an over 80% chance of my tumor being cancer.  Don’t worry, I won’t go into that experience ad nauseum.  You can read about it in other posts.  I only bring it up, because of its connection with my experience at the WAO.  One of the first things I said when faced with my own mortality was, “I never got to see Europe”.  I saw my dreams of competing internationally evaporate.  Having survived my adrenal tumor, this trip made those dreams come true and then some!


The courses were hard, challenging, and fabulous!  I loved every minute of them!  They really tested what Bilbo and I were made of… and turns out we’re made of grit, moments of brilliance, and lots and lots of joy!

Here are the courses: WAO Courses


None of this would even be possible without my little furry wonder.  My angel dog.  My speedy hobbit.  My Bilbo.  What have I done to deserve such a dog?  Bilbo has made my dreams come true.  This little dog has more heart and love in his tiny body than most dogs four times his size.  He took care of me throughout the entire WAO.  Heck, he’s taken care of me his entire life.


Why the halfling?  Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.

Speaking of me being lucky… my husband, my other half, is the rock I stand on.  David has supported me and my dreams from the beginning.  His unwavering love and encouragement has helped me soar higher than I ever thought possible.  After my team relay run, he met me at the ring exit with tears in his eyes.  We embraced and cried as the whole world seemed to disappear; we reveled in the moment.  I look forward to a life-time of sharing moments like this with my best friend.



I couldn’t imagine a more loving and supportive team!  Everyone supported everyone!  I especially felt embraced by the team.  Mary and Tracy gave Esme a team jacket and team USA outfit respectively.  Their inclusion of my daughter made me cry; it meant so much to me.



Elicia gave much needed pep talks when the nerves started to take over.  And mama hen, Andy, really took me under his wing and provided advice & support on many courses.


I could go through each and every member of the team and name several things they did to support me.  I love them all for it.  Mike and Jan really went above and beyond the call of duty.  They were amazing at getting us where we needed to be and supporting the whole team.


And then there was Loretta… my coach.  I can’t begin to describe all the things she did for me and how much it all meant to me.  She made my dream possible.  She took the chance of putting a pregnant woman on the team, with so many unknowns.  She was there for all my walk throughs, providing advice, laughs, and encouragement.  One of the most powerful moments of my entire experience at the WAO was before the final team event.  Team Relay.  Team USA was in first going into the final round and Bilbo and I were the small dog team that would run.  I was understandably nervous.  Loretta looked me in the eye and said, “If I didn’t think you could do it, I wouldn’t have put you in. Make this course your bitch”.  It was exactly what I needed.  It gave me the confidence to take on the course, and also lifted some of the pressure off my chest as I laughed.  That’s what makes Loretta a phenomenal coach.


Here’s the link to the video:


We ran the course clean and helped seal the Gold for team USA.  Bilbo and I had done it; we were clean.  I got not only a hug, but a kiss as well, from Loretta as we exited the ring.  I then proceeded to completely lose it.  I cried my heart out… I thought back to that scared girl, whose life outlook had seemed so bleak.  I had run that course with all my heart and soul for that girl.  For me.


Think of the happiest things.  It’s the same as having wings!

2 Responses so far.

  1. Iris Richards says:

    Hi Britney, it was a pleasure to meet you only briefly at the WAO. I talked to you first when Esme was crying in her car seat, and found that she was only 10 weeks old on this her first trip to England. You were always smiling when I saw you, and sounds with very good reason. I watched your Team USA run, and after you were so happy with your run and rejoiced with your team mates. May your agility success continue, and wish you and your family all the very best of health too.

  2. Cathy Benson says:

    I am so excited for you and proud of you. What an Inspiration you have been to so many. Greay dogs, great hubs, great baby girl. ‘Never give up’ is your mantra!
    Keep on keeping on . Write a book!
    WAY TO GO!!