My Ocean… retirement

To Ocean, Happy Retirement … my agility partner for eight fast and furious years!

It was simply improbable all the way around.

She came from a backyard breeder where the puppies were living in trash, nine energetic puppies scampering around in piles and piles of trash. Ocean had a diaper on her head, surely she had a sense of humor? She was cautious, shy, and under weight. And she cost me a whopping $45.

But I had dreamed of her, and I knew it was Ocean when I picked her up. The deal was sealed in my heart in that very moment.

She excelled at everything we tried, but fell in love with agility.

We tried group classes for awhile. They were a good start in some ways but more along the lines of the School of Hard Knocks for Agility. So at six months we decided to branch out and train on our own. My husband built equipment, I watched other handlers like a hawk, and then we went into my laboratory, better known as my yard, and we learned together. I tried things I had seen, I tried things I thought might be kind of cool, but I also listened to Ocean. We worked it out together.

When she was old enough to compete we entered our first trial. She rocked in every way, in fact I saw her for the first time as not only my partner but as a fierce competitor. I was humbled by her desire, for what I’m still not sure. Motion. Speed. Mental challenge. Work. Team. Me. Us.

I wasn’t quite so sold, in fact I remember specifically telling someone that I thought agility trials sucked the big one. The energy at a trail, especially your first one, can be overwhelming. But she convinced me to try it again, and we did, a lot of agains as a matter of fact.

She wasn’t an easy dog to handle in a big environment when she was young. She could be reactive, she could get barky, and sometimes even so terrified of some noise outside that she wouldn’t come out of her crate. We worked through it all. Team and Trust.

She has had many successes in agility. While she wasn’t what you would call, a versatility competitor, she excelled beyond words in specific areas, mainly weaving. And weave she did! Every time we stepped up to the start line, she was prepared to give it 100%, never less. She ran and competed with her heart, because I know that sometimes she was tired, or a bit sore, or afraid of the fireworks going off outside of the barn. But that start line meant business for her, and she was all about it! Impressing me at every trial was not hard.

Over the last six months I have really been thinking about retiring her from agility. Yes one day, hell no the next. It’s a decision that I always thought would be super obvious when the time was right, but it wasn’t. It really came down to age, and me wanting her to be able to walk squarely on all four paws for another eight years. We are by no means retiring from life. We hike, play games, have fun with treibball, and freestyle our days away, our second passion together.

I sat in my chair today reflecting on what I was most proud of, as in Ocean and her agility career, and what we have done together. All of it really. The top ten lists, the Championships, the fast runs, the titles.

But there is one thing actually. We wrote our own path together. We stepped away from what others were telling us about who we were as a team, what our relationship should look like, and what our goals should be. She trusted me enough to go along with trying new things. I trusted her as my partner, 100%. And we grew together.We took risks, we had fun, we laughed, we traveled, and we went super duper fast every time!

Cheers and here’s to you Ocean! You have been an amazing partner and it’s felt like flying most of the time… We have mountain ranges to explore, beaches to visit, and lots of lakes to swim in… A margarita for me and a raw yummy bone for you! We did it Sister!!!


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