Well, Encore and I leave on Sunday for the World Championships in Austria. I have chosen to drive to Montreal in order to get a direct flight for her. I really prefer when flying such a long distance that my dog has no plane transfer to endure (especially if it is in a city that doesn’t speak English).  Last year I traveled to Newark to get a direct flight to Finland. This year 2 others will join me on my car ride so the 7 hour drive won’t be so bad.

Encore’s training has gone well these last few weeks. She is such an awesome dog. In honour of her I did something I have never done before. It was kinda fun. I had my hair coloured this week. I have had highlights put in in the past, but mostly I let the sun change my hair colour all year round. I wasn’t brave enough to go turn myself into a full red head, but I did go very dark with some auburn undertones. Yes, I did leave some blonde streaks. What fun, although John wasn’t too impressed. He asked me where I was planning on sleeping from now on:).  He got over it quickly. I told him it was like the one and only time he shaved his beard. I kept staring and staring at him, it was like I was having an affair with this clean shaven man.

Anyway, today and tomorrow I will wrap up Encore’s training with some jump grids on the

Encore at 5 weeks of age already owned my heart.

Encore at 5 weeks of age deveoping her great style.

carpet. No doubt she is ready,  as always. Next week in Austria I will spend a lot of time visualizing past runs in big events in order to continue our preparations as a team.

I think the only thing that really separates all those great dogs running at World Championships is the handlers nerves. In my mind the one big thing that is different at this event is the fact that I am running representing my country. That adds an extra element you need to include in your preparations. When you run and any other event you never hear a big announcement in a quiet arena  “now, representing Canada, Susan Garrett & Encore.”  That will get anyone’s adrenaline going and it is something I have been including in my visualizations

However my mental prep is a pretty simple one. I believe God has a plan for me and there is no sense stressing about it. I get a great deal of comfort from that fact .  It is what allows me to relax and just enjoy the time with my dog at yet another agility trial.

Today I am grateful that Encore will have an awesome team taking care of her in in Austria. Carol Smorch will be doing her body and energy work and Dr. Leslie Woodcock will be accompanying our team to do veterinary chiropractics.  Knowing my dog is well cared for also takes away a big element of stress for me!