June 28, 2010

I can't go to the show that weekend...I'm going camping!

Anyone who knows me might need a minute to pick themselves up off of the floor and make sure that they're in the right blog, check that their glasses and screens are clean and that they didn't mis-read that statement. Just for clarity, let me repeat that: I can't go to the dogshow that weekend, I'm going camping.

Yep, it sounds the same way the second time.

Blame it on Karen Ramstead. Because this personal growth or fit of insanity, depending on your point of view, is her fault. Completely and 100% her fault.

Let me give you a little bit of history. A few years ago my husband, Sean, started going out with a group of people who thought it was fun to go dry camping and run their dogs in the desert on weekends. Dry camping - an activity involving sleeping in tents, on the ground, in undeveloped camp sites with no facilities other than a fire ring. Get the idea? Roughing it.

I was happy to let him take the dogs and take off, usually with my Mom, to meet up with Nicole, Patti and the rest of the Red Mountain gang for the weekend while I went to a dog show, slept in a real bed and had ameneties. Then Karen came to town.

I'd "known" Karen on line for some time. The woman is amazing. She has run the Iditarod several times, lives in the wilds of Perryvale, Alberta (that's Canada, not a typo for Alabama) several miles from the closest Starbucks. She has working dogs who show, and successfully too. She's amazing, because she does all of this while making us, her internet fanclub, feel like we're part of her team. When she does well, we all celebrate. When something goes wrong, we feel like we're sharing her pain and disappointment. Yeah, we're Karen groupies. Then she came to town.

I must have been at a point in my life where I was ready to learn more. When we attended her talk, I listened with my heart as well as my head. I heard her love for the dogs and their love for her while they were out on miles of trail without another person around. I felt my growing envy as she described the teamwork and relationships she developed with each of her dogs. I mean, I love my dogs and we have a great relationship...especially the ones who sleep in the bedroom or travel to shows with me. But the relationship she described went so far beyond that and it made me wonder. What was I missing by skipping out on running the dogs?

So I announced to my husband that I was going to Red Mountain with him that winter. When he picked himself up off the ground, he grinned. Or was that a grimace?

It's been two years of winter runs in the desert now. I can't describe the joy of watching my dogs do what is in their heart...running in harness. I can't describe the joy of watching Robin develop as a leader, choosing trail and developing the confidence not to look back and ask "is this OK?" as she moves the team around a turn and headed up the trail. The utter contentment as they curled up on their picket line, resting after a good run was amazing to see...even more so knowing that it would change in an instant if I were to pick up a harness and let them know we were going out again.

I couldn't tell you exactly what Karen said. Maybe it was her words and the light in her eyes as she described a trip with her dogs. Maybe it was the moment she told us about a lessons she learned from one of her dogs. Whatever it was, I'm glad she said it at the exact moment that I heard it. Because it made me say "I want that."

So I won't be at the dog show (insert random weekend here) ...I'll be up at Big Bear camping with my dogs. Hey, at least Big Bear has amenities...in the desert the only amenities you have are miles and miles of trail and that's more than enough for me.

P.S. Karen's coming down to Southern California again. If you're not going to be at the dog show that weekend, check http://www.urbanmushing.com/ for the details and registration info.

June 04, 2010

I love time with Mom

Don't get me wrong, I really do....but do all of my trips with her have to be preceeded by a bath? I mean, really, every time? When I go with Daddy I don't get baths. In fact, Daddy lets us play in the dirt.

I didn't get to go last weekend; Emmy got the bath and the trip with mom and they were gone a long time. Today it was my turn. Mom keeps muttering "2 more points" and I don't really get what she means, but I got a bath.

I'll let you know if I figure out what that "two more points" thing means.

Luv, Robin