A Bittersweet Ending
Three strikes you're out.
I had been wanting to give AKC Versatility class a shot for a while. This year I had particular incentive, with the opportunity to earn an Achiever Dog certificate too (which Tripp certainly deserves for all he has done in his career!) - he has enough variety in past qualifying scores, he just needed one new Q in a sport for this year...
So we entered a few local obedience trials in hopes of at least winning one. And each time, Tripp performed really well... with the exception of one silly little thing (different each time) that killed it for us. :-(
Our third and final trial was in Topsham, ME last Saturday morning. We made a short weekend of it, enjoying the area afterwards, so the trip was not a total loss. And I did get our performance on video! (Thanks to a nice guy who's been following me around. ;-) Definitely a bittersweet memory that I'm grateful to have.
I was happy to see Tripp work so well, enthusiastic, not straining to take full jump height, and very nicely focused... his positioning was even quite good overall! But then that brain fart at the very end, on the turn & sit during directed jumping... Sigh.
I am glad we didn't completely go down in flames. I'm glad we can end on a high(ish) note. (Of course it would have been higher if we got that Q & Achiever Dog. haha) Sure, we could keep trying, but at this point I have (unfortunately, several) bigger things to put my time & money into. I raise the white flag. Tripp is ready to officially retire.
It is certainly not easy to admit defeat. Tripp is still a good worker. But he also doesn't have the stamina he used to. He's got some old man stuff going on. Calling official retirement really hits hard that my baby is in his veteran years.
I confess, packing up our show setup for the last time was rough. I was very thankful to have JZ with me for support, so I wasn't sitting there alone on the floor crying like an idiot. :-p Not only was it coming to terms with Tripp's aging, but it was also letting go of my lifelong dream of participating in dog sports (which I am so grateful to have fulfilled with this special Poodle). It is the end of an era.
There will, of course, be more for me in the future. I will, at some point (after Tripp is gone), get another Standard Poodle, and return to dog sports & showing. I will hopefully get the chance to do some things I did not with Tripp. (Which of course isn't much, as he's done a lot! LOL) My dream is not over. And this winding down actually times well with other things I have going on in my life right now. It still doesn't make it easier. But so goes the journey...
And so, I leave you with the final performance of Team TNT:
Below are pics from the trial - warming up before ring time - followed by part of our excursion along the Maine coast. :-) Tripp stood at Land's End (in a very cold wind!), then in view of the Cribstone Bridge from the other side of Bailey Island. We also spent some time in town Brunswick & Freeport, where (as usual) Tripp left every other passerby in awe of his magnificence. haha
He was happy & tired that night, for sure, and quickly took over JZ's bed while we played a board game. LOL Because, of course, he knows a soft bed with pillows is where Poodles belong. ;-)
Especially a great, versatile Poodle who's earned a much deserved retirement.