Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoughts from A Dog Friend

A fellow Agility Underground member and dog lover posted the following Note on Facebook. With her permission, I'm posting it here as others may also be interested in finding out what draws people to Agility.

Michelle runs 2 French Bulldogs, Brutus & Carmen, with great success.

{Michelle &  Brutus}

{Carmen & Brutus
aka 'Team Frenchie'}

Be sure and check out Brutus' Blog

Agility - Why I am addicted!

by Michelle Hrnchar on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 7:29pm

I've been thinking about writing this for a while.  Hope that many of my friends (fellow agility enthusiasts or not) will take a moment to read it.  I try to keep most of my dog activities on the dogs' own pages, but it's undeniably become one of the biggest passions in my life.

First of all, let me say that I'm unbelievably lucky to have so many people around me who are amazingly understanding.  Although they may find it tough to grasp why I love spending so much time doing "crazy dog things", they entertain my quirks, my stories, and even my tardiness to family events!  I couldn't do what I do without the support of my dad & stepmom (who let the dogs out a few times each day that I work), my wonderful husband, Paul (who endures my absence on many a weeknight to train and many weekends to trial), and even my extended family & friends (who have come to accept me for the crazy dog person that I am). 

Next I have to give credit to my amazing dogs, Brutus & Carmen - who I affectionately refer to as Team Frenchie.  French bulldogs have been bred for decades to be companion dogs.  Astoundingly enough, mine have allowed me to indulge in a sport developed for performance breeds.  Beyond that, they have met & exceeded every goal I've set for them, and become a real source of both pride & joy in my life.

Brutus - my heartdog - who came into my life on a whim during a trip home from Chicago - certainly one of a kind.  You can't deny he has issues, but he has taught me so much - not just about dogs, but about life in general too.  Although far from perfect by Frenchie standards, Brutus is amazing creature.  From puppy classes at PetSmart, to his first agility/obedience titles, to qualifying for the 2011 AKC Invitational & more - he's risen to the challenge every time!  He could teach us all a lesson about breaking stereotypes!

Then there's Carmen - my little princess.  She came into my life in 2010 as the result of a friendship as well as generations of careful breeding.  She has the moxie to make it in the breed ring, but it's like she's known from the get go that there was something else in store for her.  Carmen has always had a "small but mighty" mentality, apparent from the time I met her at the tender age of 4 weeks.  She has a drive uncharacteristic of her breed, and athleticism & an unbelievable energy level to compliment it.  Her desire to please and sheer enjoyment of running/jumping/climbing is something rarely seen in a "nonsporting breed".  I am so honored to be her teammate, and so touched by all the people who have gone out of their way to compliment her efforts!

Finally, the element that my (non-agiilty) friends & family find the hardest to understand.  The answer to the question "how can you spend ALL DAY sitting around at an agility trial"????  Yes, we drive many hours to spend all day for what amounts to less than 5 minutes in the ring - but there's so much more to it than that.  First, the training & goal setting that gets you ready for the trial.  There's the mental challenge of memorizing the course.  Figuring out how to best handle each individual dog thought the challenges each course presents.  The adrenaline rush of actually running the course (as short as it may be).  It's all part of the wonderful package of dog agility!

But above that - it's about relationships.  Bonding with my dogs and watching them learn is a wonderful thing for sure.  But beyond that, it's about all the friends I have made along the way on this crazy journey.  From training partners to (seemingly) random friendships that have developed along the way - the bonds I've formed with so many people who share my addiction to dogs.  All that time around the ring together, rooting for one another, sharing stories & successes, and consoling one another when it doesn't go so well.  The human bonds I've made in the last few years are as much a part of  my passion for agility as are the dogs that make it all possible! 

So thank you to all those who have made Team Frenchie possible.  My family, my dogs, my friends, my trainers - you are all pieces in the puzzle!  Whether I know you you well, or only know you through the auspices of Facebook - please know that I appreciate your support!  Each time we step into the ring, it is with the understanding that this is something truly special that we are privileged enough to do.  We have many more goals to attain, so please bear with us & know that we never take it all for granted!

1 comment:

BRUTUS said...

Hey Dee - thanks for sharing! I'm thinking of reviving my blog, you've inspired me :)

Michelle & Team Frenchie