“Your time will come…”
I’ve heard that a lot over the years. Even with my first dog, Flame when I was just eleven and twelve years old running around the Open ring literally praying for a Q in standard so we could start our MACH journey. I heard it when I started training Nike, when he was afraid of the world (parked cars, trash cans, waving flags, and strange men all included). When we went to our first national event, our first tryouts. When last bars would fall, or a contact would be missed.
I hear it now with Bolt, too. And for a while I sat back and believed it. Our time will come, I thought. But really, what does that even mean?
Tulsa last weekend was an absolute joy. It was one of the first national events I’ve attended where the stress didn’t weigh heavily on my heart, or stomach. I was excited– that was all. Expectations aside, small goals set, and a better routine in place. Things didn’t go exactly as planned (do they ever?) but I had been in that position before. After a 6th place finish in jumpers and then a bobble in standard that was quite unexpected (anyone who got to watch that run may have seen my dog *convinced* I was wrong when I tried to pull him off the double– he turned back and took it just to be sure. Ah, Bolt.) we had to push in hybrid for a second year in a row. I think I like that sort of pressure. Having to perform when it’s do-or-die is exciting– but that wasn’t what I wanted for this year’s nationals. I wanted to go 1-2-3 and get it done “right” this time around.
But, as a friend so kindly reminded me, our way is the right way.
So we attacked hybrid like we did last year. I still don’t know where that seated us in placements, because it didn’t matter. We had done all we could do– what would follow would happen. Friends were texting asking who did what, who was clean, who placed where in what round (well-intentioned friends) but I didn’t check. I have no control over what other teams do, only what Bolt and I do. But, there it was– the list came up and there was a C beside our names for a second year in a row.
As excited as I was for challengers– because truly, it is an incredibly exciting round– I couldn’t help but feel a little pessimistic about what the outcome would be. The 16″ class is unbelievably competitive, more than it was even just 5 years ago. It means more than an uphill battle to make it to finals. Still, we ran our hearts out. Bolt was electric with energy before we walked in the ring. He carried wide after a turn– a fault– and there our adventure ended. Still– I couldn’t be too sad. Even now, writing this, it feels silly to be disappointed about that. It was a thrilling ride. Thanks, my boy.
After, I heard that phrase again. Your time will come.
Yes, time will come–and almost as quickly, it will slip past us. Because the thing is, our time is already here. Our time is now. For all of us and our dogs– this is it. This is what we’ve been given. How incredibly amazing is this? How lucky are we that we get this time at all? Pushing off enjoying the present for an uncertain future is an injustice to us and our dogs. I don’t want to look back on my career with Bolt and realize I wasted years wishing for something else when I already had something amazing.
We’re in the thick of it and, truth be told, we’re having a hell of an adventure together.