SUMMARY: The emotions are still so fresh.
I just read Nancy Gyse's latest blog post, Endings and Beginnings. It took me back to the summer of 2009. Just wanted to capture my response here.
I went through the Performance-or-Championship decision with Tika when she was only 8–still running fast, still making jumps, no Early Take-Off (ETO), but was coming up sore more and more often during or right after a trial (not always–but enough to finally decide that it wasn’t just a random tweak, so went to the vet). Xrays confirmed that she had arthritis in her neck and lower back.
I do watch my title counts, and I know that it would be better to not do so, but she seemed to love being out there with me and running and jumping like crazy and I LOVED watching her do the courses. I cried because, you know, “all my friends have their platinum ADCHs” and moving to Perf meant that I’d never ever get that on any other dog, because she was so good.
That was a personal thing, so true…but it also hurt because I was sure that this would just be temporary–if she had arthritis, she’d soon be done with agility completely, and I SO wasn’t ready for that.
She was only a few Qs away from silver, or had finished, in all the classes, so I moved her to Perf in each as she finished them.
The surprise benefit to me, then, was that, at that time, I stopped thinking so much about titles because I thought that she’d be completely done in only a few months. The surprise benefit to her was that she started running like a young dog again, didn’t get sore, and started pulling in Qs and ribbons against some pretty tough competition!
In fact, my other surprise benefit was that we blasted through all of the performance titles and were less than 20 Qs away from that coveted platinum when heart disease sidelined her suddenly at 11. I’d never dreamed she’d like that difference in height so much or that she’d be able to compete that long comfortably, as big as she was.
(So, even when I started caring about titles again, it was almost all pure fun because her Q rate became so high.)
I don’t really have much of a point, except that, yes indeed, I understand the feeling about it being a physical milestone that one doesn’t want to see because it means essentially that the dog is moving on towards being an old dog.