Lizzie and I in Acton last summer when I was teaching-I do not have a lot of pictures of us together....
My best friend in the world has turned 4 years old. Looking back on this journey, who knew when I showed up at a little ranch in Temecula and saw this little split faced curly haired red/white dog how she would change my life. There have been times I did not know if I was up for this journey, but the things most worth while in life can be the things we have to work hardest for.
I have definitely not been the only one who has worked really hard. Liz is a special creature and as hard as I have worked to train her, she has worked just as hard if not harder to try to please me and to figure out what it is I want. It just has not been easy for her. How could I not love and admire a dog that always gives her all, it is just that some things I wanted from her she was just not mature enough, or able to give me, but it was never because she did not want to.....so we both hung in there and kept chipping away.
I have not been perfect at all, and I am still learning but Liz has taught me so many lessons about patience, and love, and being clear, knowing what you want and how to communicate that, and about how important it is to do what I feel is best and act/train in a way I feel good about -other people can think I am an idiot, or not understand why I will not push my dog or use methods that are against my principals of how I want to treat my friend....no one has to agree with me, it is between my dog and me. It has also forced me to define my own parameters of success, who cares what success means to others, Liz and I have our own little definitions and we feel like we are the most successful team in the world. A title or a few blue ribbons would not make me feel differently about either one of us when she cuddles up behind my head at night. We might get those things one day and we might not, but that is not the point of our relationship. Liz has really taught me to look for the little steps, and by making me more consistent and clear with my self and my dogs, she has made me a much better trainer and friend. I wish all this had come easy to me, but I had to be dragged kicking and screaming because I am a real people pleaser and when I felt more unsure there were so many people anxious and eager to tell me all the things I was doing wrong, LOL.
We celebrated Liz birthday by starting our new agility classes.
OH MY GOODNESS-overnight she has just really been maturing very quickly. She did so good during her class, she worked the entire time and did not run off or do any zoomies. This was a class I thought would be way over her head so I would have to just do bits and pieces, but she was awesome and the most comfortable I have ever seen her.
The next day Breeze was not able to go to her class...an even higher level and there was a very hard course, but only two dogs showed for class. I took Liz and figured it would just be a good time to watch what we were missing since Breeze could not be there, and I would use it as an opportunity to work on some small sequences with Liz, nothing too hard. Well, because of the small class and how well she was doing we were able to run her the whole class. A first-two classes in two days and she was amazing. In Breezes class there were some skills she had never been taught because this was a higher level but Deanna patiently helped us work through those and Liz was able to take the frustration of learning some new skills that were not that easy for her.
I have to say that as we hit the four year mark and she is growing up, I almost miss the wild little youngster and the journey because it was so intense, and what a trip to just keep working and having no idea if any of this would all come together, I did not know if I would ever be able to even keep her safe. I wish I could go back and do that all without the worry and knowing it would all be ok, then I could have enjoyed her young years even more. I really do not think that Liz is able to do more now because of anything I have done, I think that she has just matured, her milestones just seem to come over night and I think she just needed to grow and mature at her own timetable. Liz has changed my life and I am really lucky to have been forunate enough to have my world shaken up by a little red headed whirlwind-she has definitely done that and I am better for it.