Do the Brick Walls Get You?

Posted on 09/18/09 11 Comments

Thanks to all of you for your candid comments when owning up to being shaped by your dog.  Loads of funny stories that is for certain. Hopefully you will also consider how to make changes to your daily routine to prevent future issues with your clever dogs . . . but maybe not!


Today the best of the best (well, the best of the purebred best) are gathered in Austria for the FCI World championships. There are a lot of very impressive teams here.  I think we Canadians have one of our strongest teams ever, however it may also one of our youngest, so anything can happen!  


If you want to follow along the Canadian team’s journey my teammate and room mate in Austria, Tiffany Salmons is writing a World Championship blog. You can find it at

Canadian World Team 2009
Canadian World Team 2009


Thanks to everyone who have sent your well wishes to both myself and my teammates. Inspiration comes from all places. Preparing to make it to an event such as this one may appear too daunting for some people to even consider. I would like to encourage any of you that owns a fit and fast dog to not ever put yourself out of consideration.  Just preparing for the experience would be worth while. 


When people tell me they don’t believe they are good candidates  for a world team it reminds me of a great quote by the late Randy Pausch who said;


“Brick walls are there to stop people that don’t want “it” badly enough.” 

In other words brick walls serve to separate those that are serious about their goals and those who have a passing interest or vague dream.  The stumbling blocks are put out there for all of us. Some people trip momentarily but quickly dust themselves off and keep moving forward. Others will be tripped up but will choose to stay down in a heap deciding they don’t have the right stuff to play at that level.  That really is the only difference between a back yard enthusiast and a world champion.



For those of you that have never watch profession Pausch’s last lecture, it is well worth the hour or so it will take you to get through it. I was sent this for video for the first time about a year ago, yet I took the time to watch the entire lecture once more when it was sent to me recently. That is how powerful I think it is. Over 10 million people have watched it to date.  Well worth your time and a great message of keeping things in perspective as we head into our big weekend in Austria.


Today as Encore and I  head into our first runs of the Championships today, I find myself once again thinking of USA world team competitor Geri Hernandez who lost her great young dog Focus last week. I am so grateful to have been selected to this talented team of Canadians. I am so grateful to own an agility dog as talented as Encore. But Geri’s terrible loss makes helps to put this game in perspective and so today I am just grateful for the dogs in my life. Although pretty much a stranger to me outside of the agility world, I will say another pray for Geri today as she starts on her own journey of recovery.


  1. Claudia says:
    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 10:29pm

    “In other words brick walls serve to separate those that are serious about their goals and those who have a passing interest or vague dream ………. That really is the only difference between a back yard enthusiast and a world champion.

    – Thanks so much Susan. This cannot come at a more opportunate time for me. I need that reminder. Badly. Thanks for being always the inspiration, yet also always setting into perspective what dogsports is. One thing I’ll always remember from watching “Journey” is – and I paraphrase – It’s not about dogsports at all. Our dogs are there to teach us the lessons we need to learn in life. And if we don’t this time round, it will come back again. So very true. Our dogs exist to give us a chance to be a better person.


  2. Devora Locke says:
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 5:35pm

    Perhaps our greatest folly in agility is that we recognize only one winner. Success is better defined as a is a continuum, not a moment.


  3. Ingerid Margrete Klaveness says:
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 10:00am

    Wow, that finale almost gave me a heart attack!
    Congratulations on great runs at worlds! I still almost believe you won 🙂


  4. denise says:
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 4:17am

    I’ve been watching the live feeds and video on demand for the FCI world champs and I’m just so impressed by the standard of all the competitors. It’s just team after team of fast brilliant runs, (some with bizarre looking handling maneuvers 🙂 ), and so few mistakes! It’s obvious that it is a great achievment to qualify for the tournament and what a buzz it must be to be able to have a clear run with their dog on such a big stage. I’m getting very nervous watching Encore on the start line, I can’t imagine what the nerves must be like for the handlers!


  5. Marco says:
    Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 3:01pm

    What a run, you deserve your 2nd place ! Good luck for tomorrow, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you !


  6. Mari says:
    Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 7:35am

    Congratulations, Susan! The individual jumpers run today was awesome! I’m watching the Championships on live streaming right now. You are still in the lead at the moment and I really hope it stays that way! =D


  7. Debra says:
    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 9:57pm

    Lots of pawsitive energy and best wishes to you and all of our Canadian team. I hope everyone has the time of their lives! You’ve trained hard and you all deserve to be there, representing your country. Love your dogs and thank them – for without them, you wouldn’t be enjoying these glorious moments!
    Go Canada Go 🙂


  8. Sharon Normandin says:
    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 6:25pm

    I have a snowball’s chance in hell of being able to download a one hour youtube video with my wretched dialup, at least in this lifetime, but thank you for the quote on brickwalls.

    Not sure I agree with your statement about the difference between back yard enthusiasts and world champions. Yes, it’s true if you do have dreams of being a world champion, and allow yourself to be flattened by the brick walls; the only failure is in not trying. But some of us don’t even have the dreams of being a world champion; in my case, it would be a delusion. While I do, and will continue to, work to improve my training and handling abilities, reality is that I don’t have the talent, dedication and desire to be a world champion, and I’m not using that as a brick wall to stop me.

    My goal, which is as challenging for me to attain as any, is to someday have a smooth, flawless, brilliant run with Flint, and that one of you guys who are the best of the best will remark to me as we leave the ring, “nice run!” That will give me the same rush as I think you guys get from standing on the podium at a world or national competition receiving a medal. And I’ll keep on picking myself off and dusting myself off as I inch towards MY personal goal. And hey, if I don’t make it, the journey was well worth it.

    A belated good luck to you and all of your teammates, as well as my USA team, since I know that the first day of competition is complete in Austria.

    And thank you also for the reminder about Geri and the loss of focus; I too will have her in my thoughts; I’m getting teary-eyed right now.


  9. Kathy Smith says:
    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 2:31pm

    Oh my Goodness!!!! How truly moving…


  10. Trudie says:
    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 8:20am

    As well as the Randy Pausch, I really enjoyed your friend’s blog, especially photos of the dog club which is partly in Austria and partly in Switzerland, and I can see why she says flying with your dog is not for the faint of heart!


  11. Jan V says:
    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 5:11am

    Thanks for the perspective and video. No time to watch it right now – time to play with Lynda O-H at Katie’s. Hope to watch some of your runs this weekend.

    BTW – Had trouble finding you in the team picture… but then I remembered the hair color change. Looks spectacular with Encore at your side. Go get ’em girls!


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