January 3, 2013

What is it about dogs?

If someone had told me beforehand that I'm not going to think about agility or some other type of dog activity every other hour or where to get my next Border Collie puppy every free minute I have surfing on the internet, I would've thought them crazy. How could I not think about the two things that keep me going? The two things that I've basically built my little life around? Or had anyway.

Here I am, in the middle of a tropical paradise called Zihuantanejo looking at Vanilla jumping in the water after Cody, trying to think if I've thought about agility once in the last couple of weeks. It almost makes me feel ashamed of myself. Is it really that easy to forget? But I have to admit. When you surround your life with as much activity of other kinds as me and Cody have with constant traveling, new places, sailing, meeting people . . . it's hard to keep track of the things I used to think about in my daily life. I still think about dogs when ever we plan our lives ahead. I make sure I mention getting another Border Collie at "some point" in my life, and that I want my "dog zone" to be as easy as possible. Usually meaning, that no, I will not move into an appartment building in the middle of LA. I might consider living on a boat in LA though . . .

But that's as far as my dog thoughts have gone lately. Considering the amount of effort I used training Vanilla, thinking about it since I first got her, and how many goals I had set for myself for Vanilla's "career" both in training and breeding, it's really hard to believe the change in myself. Now I think of it as a positive thing of course, although I'm sure it'll be very easy for me to fall back into my "old habits". But it is in it's own way also made me think of the realities of life. What is it that makes life worthwile? What are the things that make me happy? And what is it about dogs especially that make me happy?

Beyond my basic affection for the breed Border Collie in general (why I took Dani) I used to think I wanted to have a dog like Vanilla, with tons of potential, so that I could breed the best little Border Collies around or that I could learn how to train dogs better and figure out how to get a dog into Master's class in agility or how to save people's lives by Search&Rescue. I thought all these accomplishments would make me happy.

Now sitting here on our boat, I'm beginning to realize that all those things don't actually matter. I still have a ton of respect for people who are good at all those things and would most certainly like to learn as much as possible myself during my life, but I've realized that those things by themselves are not the source of my happiness with dogs. I just love dogs. I love their company, their joyful attitude towards life, adaptability, their way of living life in the moment . . . They could teach us human's so much about what is important in life.

Even though I can say I love all dogs, I would still pick a Border Collie over many other types of dogs. The reason why this particular breed is so close to my heart and happiness, is their loyalty and endless will to please (and of course they're darn cute!). They want to make you happy so bad that there is no other way to be except to try and give them back as much as they're giving you. I used to think I wanted to do agility with Vanilla because she was so good at it, but I now know that that had very little to do with it. It was because Vanilla LOVED it so much. You could see her whole furry little body get excited when she realized we got to the agility training place. That happiness and joy that she felt transferred to me and made me enjoy every moment of it. So it wasn't about the sport itself.

I guess the reason why I haven't really been thinking of dog training as much is simply because me and Vanilla are having such a good time right here right now. Who cares if we ever get to the Master's class in agility? I can see Vanilla getting excited the minute Cody or I change into a swimming suit and is hardly able to wait for the dinghy to stop when we get to our swimming spot before she's in the water. I can also see Vanilla spending every minute of every day with the people she loves, without waiting at home for her folks to get home from work, and enjoying every night curled up next to my leg while the boat swings around at anchor.

This is what I love about dogs and these moments are the moments that make me happy. I hope I'll always be lucky enough to have a couple black and whites running at my feet.