Thursday, September 5, 2013

Draining Me

I probably alluded to this in previous posts, but today, it really hit me.

The truth of the matter is that agility sucked the life right out of me this year.

I wound up attending a lot less trials than I originally anticipated -- a couple canceled by the host clubs, a few scratched off the calendar due to Marge's injury, and others doomed from the reality of my ever-shrinking checking account. But, despite the fact that we didn't trial nearly every weekend as I had planned, it felt like agility was always on my mind. When does the next trial open? Where's my entry confirmation? What hotel are we staying at? What time are my runs? Where are Nationals going to be? Am I going to have enough points for Nationals?

Nationals, Nationals, Nationals. That's all this year became to me. A race to the top... or to the bottom, depending on how you look at it.

Suffice it to say, my thinking has changed quite drastically. It is quite clear that we are not going to AKC Nationals and quite frankly, I'm happy about it. I've stopped entering trials just for the sake of padding my calendar.. because as I was nonchalantly filling every weekend with agility, I was shutting other people and things out.

I'm over it.

As of right now, I'm entered in a grand total of three days of agility with Marge for the rest of 2013. That may go up by a day or two after I enter another trial or two. But that's it. As much as I enjoy agility trials, spending all eight weekend days of a month in a park (or planning to do so) means not getting to keep up friendships (and many of my friends live far away, so the opportunity to see them is not always there), not getting to horseback ride (because I can't really ride during the week with my school schedule the way it is), and not having adequate time for my relationship and my family.

It also means having to scrounge for money for things that probably matter a lot more, since, let's face it, I work one day a week at a not-so-high paying job and have a little extra cash from my newspaper route.

I had fallen in to a holding pattern -- every weekend was meant to be spent doing agility. It cannot be that way. Especially when it was being done for all of the wrong reasons.

I'm in no rush to go back to agility, honestly.  I don't yearn for it right now, after almost a month of my dog not running, as I thought I would. In fact, I'm thinking more about other things - like going hiking with Marge. And taking a vacation.. finally getting my ass on an airplane.

I'm not giving up agility. Not even close. But, I am scaling back. Trialing less seems like the way to go for a while. It'll help Marge's body catch back up, help my wallet catch up, and help ME see that there are other things in my life that need my attention.

For those that do have the time, money, and correct attitude (and the correct DOG) for heavy trialing: that's fine. Nothing wrong with that. This post isn't supposed to be about how heavy trialing is a bad thing.  It isn't. I've just discovered (the hard way) that I am not in that position at this point in time. And that's OK.

And that doesn't mean Marge is, in any way, shape or form going to be robbed of having fun. No. I want to start to do other things with her in addition to agility. Like taking lots more walks. Going on hikes. Maybe have her accompany me on an overnight non-agility trip somewhere. Maybe dabble in other dog sport activities, too. To be perfectly honest, she doesn't seem to be too terribly bothered by not running agility.  Even if I stopped agility altogether (which I'm not), she wouldn't be the kind of dog that'd be really upset about it.

For me, the phrase "I can't, I have a dog show" isn't how it has to be all of the time. There can be balance between in my life. And here's to finding that balance.


Jo's World September 5, 2013 at 10:33 AM  

Very smart, Sam, for you and the beautiful Marge!


Jo, Stella and Zkhat

Sue September 5, 2013 at 3:24 PM  

Balance is a good thing.

Diana September 5, 2013 at 3:29 PM  

I could never trial every weekend. The most I do is two trials a month. Its to expensive. Having to drive 2 1/2 to 4 hours to a trial every weekend and then back home again, just isnt fun to me. Esp. AKC where you wait for hours for 2 freaking runs. I think balance is a good thing and taking a break is good to. For everyone, you and the dog.

KB September 5, 2013 at 8:44 PM  

You are very wise. I'm glad to hear that you've taken the "good" from Marge's injury, which is realizing that you don't want to be so intense about trialing (for now). I love to hear your plans and hopes, for hiking and lots of fun things. Balance is good!

Part of why I never allowed myself to start doing agility competitively is that I'm intrinsically a very competitive person. I didn't want to put that pressure on my dogs... So, we have our little agility course in the backyard, and we have tons and tons of fun! But no pressure or travel.

I take it from your post that Marge is improving? I hope so.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart September 6, 2013 at 9:14 AM  

I think it's a good lesson, at any stage in life. I have so many friends that I don't get to see because they are so busy on weekends at shows.

How Sam Sees It September 11, 2013 at 10:05 AM  

I feel your pain - although, my money is spent on the horses. I've had to reorganize my priorities, and sometimes that has hurt. Enjoy your Agility weekends! :D


Kari in Alaska September 14, 2013 at 6:26 PM  

Balance is important in life

Stop on by for a visit

Unknown September 19, 2013 at 4:07 PM  

You've done so much together. You must be very proud of Marge and she must really look up to you and adore you.Being rescue and adopted dogs ourselves, we know how much all that you've done means.

Now of course you both deserve a break.
Have fun :O) And bring back photos for us all

Ginger, Buddy and Shadow

Dawn September 29, 2013 at 8:12 AM  

You've brought Marge so's the time to enjoy a variety of things...and some things that don't cost any a good romp in the park! :)

Kathy Mocharnuk November 29, 2013 at 10:25 AM  

yep, that balance thing can be hard to manage, and the money thing, YIKES, trailing is EXPENSIVE when you don't have wads of cash laying around ;-)

Jenna Z December 11, 2013 at 12:04 PM  

Been a while since we heard from you. Have you found some balance? I teeter between TOO MUCH dog and the pulling back and feeling like I'm neglecting them. Anyway, if you're coming back to blogging I'd like to invite you to join in my new blog hop.

WinsDay is the place to show off your dog showing/trialing/training pictures and stories. Show off your ribbons, tell us about your latest training triumph or ask a burning dog show question you're dying to hear others' opinions on.

Unknown December 15, 2013 at 7:13 AM  

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tiffany January 15, 2014 at 11:44 AM  

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