(Un)lucky

I’ve never much believed in luck.

I think hard work and success is sometimes wrongly called good luck. That sometimes what we perceived as unluckiness is more a result of negative thought and action than anything else and those who are lucky are simply talented. Luck seems to cheapen success. I’m not sure I’ve entirely changed my stance on this, though the last few months have tested that theory quite a lot. If there is luck at all, then I’m convinced I’ve been followed by the bad version of it.

In April Vibe went to live with a new family.

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That sentence hurts more to write than I can describe, even a month removed. Some days I come home from work still hearing her excited jumping at the pen, waiting for me to pick her up. I hear her fast feet bounding up and down the hall—kitchen to living room, back and back again. I see her frantically wiggling tail as she meets complete strangers, offering the sweetest, smallest kisses to their out-stretched hands.

But, despite that, she’s not in our home any more. Unlucky? Maybe. Just not meant to be? I guess—again. Again. I try to hold on to the belief that what is meant to be will find you, but that has been tested. Maybe things don’t happen for a reason, maybe they just happen and you have to make choices.

I’ve been put in the position to make two difficult decisions in a short amount of time. Doing the best for two separate puppies who were very different and who needed different lives than the one I could provide. Vibe wasn’t cut out for the physical demands agility would ask of her. Joe and I talked a long time about what our lives would look like if she stayed knowing this. It was an unfair thing to do to a dog so full of life and energy—who needed a job in some capacity. She deserved to be the center of attention in her home, not the third, or fourth string dog in a house focused on this sport. So, I made the hardest phone call I’ve had to and drove the hardest drive I’ve made; wrenching cries then and now. Unfair, unlucky, but here we are again.

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I’ve felt removed from the agility world for nearly half a year now, spending a lot of that time wondering if I still had the passion I used to for it, if I could even bring myself to try again. I wondered a lot about if agility was meant for me at all any more. Not just with Bolt, but with any dog in the future. The work, the commitment, the pain, the heartache, the dreaming—the joy, yes, there is that too. Was it worth it? For a time, the pain has outweighed the joy. When that happens you must re-evaluate. If something is meant for you should it feel this way? I stepped back. I filled the time with travel and running and plans outside of agility. They offered more than a distraction, but rather an affirmation that there is more, much more, than just this one thing.

Bolt’s return to agility has been purposely slow. His PRP injection in November feels impossibly long ago. So much has happened since, in and out of the dog world; a time so completely full of ups and downs and stress, of growth and aging, and loss—much loss. Although I knew tryouts and team would not be something attainable for this year it didn’t feel real until this last weekend. I promised myself I’d avoid following updates the best I could and use distractions for the weekend, but that didn’t happen. I obsessively refreshed, smiling for new team members and for those who chased down and caught the dream. I also felt the heaviness in the pit of my stomach of being on the outside looking in again. I cried Monday morning driving in to work with this feeling hanging over me.

That pain though, I realized, was the dream still stirring.

Apathy would mean that nothing was left, but that sting was strong and it was real. It’s still there after all.

I’ve begun working on new goals for this year, filling my calendar in the coming months with events that to be honest, scare the hell out of me. Training plans, event plans, and future team goals are slowly being added back to my schedule. I’m opening myself back up to the idea of finding the right puppy and leaning into this dream fully with another dog in the future, as hard as that is to envision right now.

I’m afraid to jump back in this world again, afraid to start planning and dreaming, afraid to start again.

But there’s really only ever two options—do it, or don’t—and we’re not very good at giving up.

So let’s do this.

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