I spent the first weekend in April in lower mainland BC at a flyball tournament.
Ptera ran full time on a team for the first time, and ran like an experienced pro. She earned over 900 points over the course of the weekend. I only realized on the drive home that she had also earned her next title, Flyball Dog Champion Gold (FDCh-G).
This trip was pretty interesting because I packed into my van with two friends and 8 dogs between us for the trip. The amazing thing is that we all fit, and with all of our luggage that we needed, and extra crates for at the tournament venue. We also all shared a (really amazing) hotel room where the staff kindly turned a blind eye to the number of dogs we had. The hotel room had a living room, full kitchen (complete with stove, fridge, freezer, sink, microwave, and dishwasher), large bathroom, and a bedroom with two twin sized beds. Two of us took the beds, and the third crashed on the sofa cushions in the living room.
One of the friends I carpooled with debuted her dog, Flynn (who has appeared on the blog before) in flyball, earning his FD and FDX. Flynn's little fluffy butt and adorable pointed toes make me smile when I look at this picture. And none of these pictures is taken by me. I set my camera up, and then the third person in our carpool took the pictures for Flynn's mom so she could have pictures of his debut- and got a few pictures of the other dogs on the team as well, including Ptera and Remi.
The weekend was amazing in many ways, with flyball successes, some really fun close racing, a great hike on Friday, and the carpooling vanload of crazy. But it was hard in one huge, tragic way when one of our flyball friends lost her dog suddenly. While we don't know exactly what happened, we do know that it was not flyball related, and likely could have happened at any time, anywhere. So all of Region 7 spent the entire weekend seesawing madly between horrible grief and fighting back tears and the enjoyment we get from this awesome sport. Ollie was an amazing flyball dog, and was deeply loved by his person. We will all seriously miss him.
But, hard as it can be at times, I know that the best way to honor his memory is to continue in the sport, continue to celebrate the milestones and incredible moments, and to continue building relationships and enjoying the tight community that comes with running flyball in our amazing region.
At the end of the weekend, there was grief. There will be grief for a long time coming. But there was also joy, and a deep sense of camaraderie.
Hug your dog tonight. Do something fun with them. Enjoy the moments you have. Not because you never know if it might be your last together, but because every moment is deeply worth enjoying, even if you have thousands of moments more.