We started the new year off with a road trip (in a snowstorm, I might add) to New Hampshire for a USDAA trial. Our team was perfectly named "East Coast Eh?", and we pulled through in the end with a 3rd place finish! Mach placed 2nd individually, and even got a pesky GP Q! The entire BARK! crew is always so welcoming, and I've never seen a more supportive group (oh, do they ever cheer loud!). I also had my first Japanese Hibachi grill experience. If you haven't been to one, trust me, you want to go. I didn't stop laughing the entire time. Good fun. Also, singing "Oh Canada" in French really loudly while waiting for our table at Olive Garden was worth every single stare.
Then UNB decided to go on strike for three weeks, and mostly I was upset that when they finally came back and had classes during March Break and extended the term, that I had an exam on the weekend of Spring Cup. I wasn't ready to go back, but education and stuff (I hate it, but I guess I *am* grateful). But during the first week of the strike, I felt all inspired, and chopped off my beloved hair, and got my nose pierced. Change is cool, and fun, and should happen more often!
During the Winter Olympics, I was glued to my laptop. I lived, breathed, and dreamed Olympics. We have some incredible athletes representing our country, and all their stories are so great, and I loved every second of it (also, we are kick ass at everything; #WeAreWinter). Maybe Mark McMorris had something to do with it, but I felt the need to hit the slopes as much as possible this winter. I am determined to learn how to do all the fancy tricks at some point in my life (catching three inches of air is as much as I can handle at this point, haha). Watch out Winter Olympics 2018! ;)
A spontaneous trip to the ever so lovely Hays Falls also happened. We maybe kind of, a little bit got lost on the way there, but we did find our way and the trail is so beautiful after it snows. There was a group already there when we arrived, and Mach wasted no time at all at making friends that would throw him a stick. Good people, and good places. We also found our way home using only road signs, so basically we are gypsies.
Toffee turned 9 years old this year. NINE. Where on earth has the time gone? I remember going to get her, and a few weeks later starting middle school. I remember all of the places she brought me, and the people I met because of her, and the experiences we had together. I can't help but think how different my life would be if I didn't get her as my pup. Would another dog have gelled with me as much as she has? Would we have had the same success as Tof and I had? Would that dog teach me as much as she has? Would any of it be the same? Impossible to say, and that's what makes life so fun, isn't it? I'm so thankful to have this little girl in my life, and even though her turning nine was a little emotional for me (I know, I know), only the white on her nose has shown her age. She is just as fiery as ever!
The next big adventure! World Team Tryouts!!
It started out as the BEST TRIP EVER. We got our flight changed so it was direct. We also got bumped to first class. SO EXCITING. They give you really nice meals, with REAL dishes, and there also may have been free beverages of some kind, and WARM FACE CLOTHS, and so much leg room!! I was so excited the entire time. I even tried studying, but we all know how that went over. I was busy taking photos of everything.
Andre and I competed at our first CKC agility trial on the Friday before the event. Mach handled the flight so well, he wasn't off at all the next morning. I still get the warm fuzzies inside when I see Mach being a brave boy in situations where he once wasn't, or when he takes new experiences in stride without falter. The facility is like a dream. If you ever have the chance to run at McCann's place, do so! It's wonderful. Going from a thick, dusty old dirt barn all winter to turf made me feel like I was running on clouds. So fast.
When we walked into the building on the first morning of the tryouts, there was a very noticeable energy shift from the day before. Everything was buzzing, and I got to meet some more great people, and competitors. I don't usually get nervous for runs; I could tell you all of the runs that I have felt nervous in the 11 years I have been running agility. That morning, I was nervous. We didn't start off the day in the way I had hoped we would, and then the rest of the day was more or less the same. I'll be honest, I was bummed out. I needed my Mom. She wasn't there. I was half way across the country, and bummed out. But I took lots of deep breaths, thought a lot about what we were doing, and got a good night's rest.
I came back on Sunday with a different mind set. We were connected again, and I am proud of all of our runs that day. Mach has brought me on so many roller coasters; at some point there is a little tiny mental breakdown, but in the end, I feel so bold and exhilarated, and want to hop on again. This weekend was no exception. We ended the weekend with a fun "Mia-Chase" at 22". Even though we didn't win on a spot that day, I'm proud of how we came back from the first day, and ended the weekend strong! Are comebacks our thing?
The trip would not be complete without a dramatic sprint (literally) to our gate when we were a tad late getting to the airport. Nothing like leaving t-shirt weather to come home to yet another ice storm!
Then it was a month of dragging me to the finish line, rather than sprinting to it. Exams are hard. But remember when my exam was on the Sunday of Spring Cup? Well, thank you Andre. He made me email my profs and look at that! Got two of them switched so I could go! The power of fancy words (they were actually so chill with it). I had finished all but one exam before going to Spring Cup.
Spring Cup. That was a whole lot of fun. Mach ran like a dream. Maybe, just a little out of shape (sorry buddy), so not our fastest weekend. The courses were wide open, which isn't necessarily our strength, BUT, the only bars he knocked all weekend was that HUGE ascending double. He has come such a long way, and I am so so so proud of that weekend. We won both the snooker and gamblers, so won combined games. We also managed to place 3rd in Masters Series Heat 2 with a bye to finals! Plus, we qualified in two Agility runs, so we got a bye to second round at the Canadian Open! I'm thrilled with his results, but more so with how he ran through out the weekend, and with my mentality. He challenges me in so many ways Toffee never could, so it's been a very fun ride to piece our puzzle together. Watch him be really cool.
Mach had a lot of TNT relatives who were also competing at the Spring Cup! Good looking, talented pups!
And lastly, a fun outing with my long lost friend Tracy who is probably the coolest person you'll ever meet. We went to Tree Go. First customers of the season! We felt like squirrels up in the trees - so much fun! Go to Tree Go, seriously. Great work out, too.
And with that, Spring is finally here! All the great, unknown, and exciting adventures awaits us! Let's do it!