The Countdown Begins

Well, we leave for Germany for the FCI championships in just 6 days. Our team flies out on Sunday evening from various airports across Canada and we all meet up in Frankfurt when we arrive Monday morning.

My dogs and I are ready to go. Last week we got the running orders for the event. The individual events start on Saturday. Encore will be somewhere around the 53rd dog in the ring (no way of knowing exactly as some dogs are posted in the running order that are actually running team only). Feature is in after Encore with about 40 dogs or so between the two.  From my best guess there are about 125 dogs running in large dog individual (give or take a couple). So after Feature runs in the 95th position there will still be dogs for me to watch at the end of the class.

Team is up before individual with the Jumpers and Standard course for the large dog running on Friday. Actually large dog team jumpers is the first class of the weekend with Canada drawing the number two spot in the running order.  Since I will be running both dogs on team for Canada I will be the 4th and 6th in the ring after the opening ceremonies on Friday morning.

Part of my preparations at home has been running the girls back to back on courses so that we all will be ready physically and mentally for Friday morning.  Physically I have to be prepared to run with only a minute or so between the two dogs (although we can always hope they give us more time:))  and mentally I have to ignore whatever my other dog is doing while she is being held waiting her turn as I focus only on the dog I am running.

I think I will be running Encore first  (unless our management has strong feelings another way). That means  Feature has to watch me run Encore and be ready to be at her best when called upon immediately after.  I know she is up to the task, but am prepared to run her first if others think that is the better way to go for the team.

I think what is critical at these events is to not fall in “love” with a certain way that things have to be done in order for you to do your best.  That is the most important part of getting ready for not just big events like this one but any event really. Don’t get caught up in things that are out of your control. Luckily for me and the rest of the Canadian team we have had some great mental prep coaching this year by John Cullen.

“It is what it is” is a great mantra to keep in mind when you want to do your best.

At this level of competition there are likely dozens of dog and handler teams that are equal to the task of winning it all. Making sure your mental game is in order is really the only thing that divides each of us from one another.

I actually don’t mind where I fall in a running order. There are pros and cons to running early or later. I will tell you what I think are the advantages of running early in team;

1. With our team up 2nd we get to relax and watch almost the entire class afterwards.

2. By running early we won’t be watching team after team struggling with a potential tough area on the course — an area which may not be at all tough area for my dogs — but one that you could make more difficult for yourself by obsessing about it if you see tons of handlers struggle.

3. Running early you have a much better idea about how long you have before you run.  With only one team ahead of us it will be easy to know when to have my pre-run snack, when to start my pre-run routine, when to warm up myself and the dogs up physically etc.

There is a positive spin to every situation. I live by the belief that God has a plan– and this year He has decided I will do my absolute best running early in the running order!

Rarely do I have time to do mindless-not-for-any-reason sort of activities. Lately with my back ailing I have been taking some down time to do that. One of the things I like to do for fun is to doodle. Here is a drawing I did of my gang-o-dogs.

I love how you can see each personality in the cartoon; Encore is making sure everyone is doing things correctly, Feature is trying to convince me it is time to train, DeCaff wants me to give her Feature’s frisbee and Buzzy is enjoying life on his on terms.

Here is what the four of them look like in real life, see if you don’t agree with me:).

Speaking of cartoons. This is a video clip I just love. Very talented lady with a beautiful look at two very important influences in my life.

Today I am grateful for Buzzy, it is his birthday, he is 14 years young. Although his body now pays the price for the rebel rousing lifestyle of his younger years, he really doesn’t show any signs of changing. He is just as enthusiastic about his life as he always has been and still brings a smile to the face of anyone that meets him.

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