Over time, our little class in Acton has become like a little agility family. We have had basically the same little group for a long time, no one ever misses class and everyone has always been very supportive of each other. It is the type of class where everyone notices that this week this dog did better at staying with their person, or look how fast so and so is going this week and it is the type of group that tells the other people when they see these things. It is just a good feeling to have the same stable little group that comes together to share a mutual interest/activity. I can honestly say I do not feel any sort of nasty competition or anything like this in this class. It is really a neat little corner of the world every Thursday.
One member of our class that has had a definite impact on all of us is our friend Renee. Renee came to class last summer right before I got to substitute teach for the summer. Since Renee joined our class she definitely made a place for herself in our family. Her little poodle Promise is a tiny little curly, springy little dog that can be prone to running off if she gets stressed or is not sure what to do, not unlike my Lizzie, and she had a fear of the teeter so Promise, Renee and I would spend a little time each class with my liver worst treats we saved just for the teeter and Renee and I would work on the teeter. Promise had not quite concurred the teeter, but definitely had got to the point of playing and having fun on the teeter. Renee never game up, she plugged along each week. When everyone wanted to enter the NADAC trial a few months ago, Renee was right there. She really wasn't concerned that their performances were not perfect yet, and she didn't seem at all nervous- she was just always ready to try anything.
I received a call this morning to tell me my friend and class mate Renee had died. Renee will leave a definite mark on me and I hope I will be able to use her inspiration to make me a better person. Renee was 78 years old, and the last time I saw her she gave me a hug and said 2 more days!!!! I knew what that meant because she had been giving me a countdown for the last three months about how long it was until her official retirement. Up until just a few days before her death Renee worked, she boarded dogs, she did in kennel training and she did agility. Renee was always ready to try something new, she was always ready to jump in, and when she wanted to do something I never saw her worry or hesitate. Renee was a remarkable woman and lead a remarkable life. It is just so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that she will not be there this afternoon, driving up in her green van with Promise sitting next to her. She loved Promise her poodle deeply and Promise loved her and I feel so bad for Promise, Renee's family and her other dogs.
I am torn -feeling somehow glad for Renee that her end was quick and she did not have to deal with lots of health issues and that she could be active until the end, because I know that was important to her. I feel so sad that we did not have any notice so we could say goodbye or be somehow prepared.
I hope Renee somehow knows that she has touched our lives and we are the better for it. I will miss you Renee and I know there will definitely be a big hole in our little agility family.