This is a favorite time of year for me -- a time to reflect back on the year and plan for the next one. A new year brings hope while a finished one offers lessons and accomplishments.
My overarching goal for 2010 was Excellence -- I wanted to do things well -- and I believe that I achieved my goal. In my professional life, a promotion is chugging through the channels, I presented at an international conference, my courses were well-received, and I have exciting data to analyze/write about as well as a couple of future projects that are exciting. Most importantly though -- I love my job and I work in a most excellent environment with good people :)
This Blog is primarily about dogs and so let's look back on 2010 through that lens. First, I want to note that while it is about dogs, it isn't about dogs -- well it is but it isn't. You see, the dogs are so much more than dogs -- not that being a dog is a bad thing! My dogs are my friends, my family, my constant and loyal companions. They are not people replacements -- they are additions to my life and something special that people do not offer. People are also wonderful -- but so are dogs.
And my dogs are a way for me to pursue excellence in something that I love -- I love them and I love training/competing with them. The creativity required and intellectual challenges are interesting to me, and keep me thinking. And I appreciate the opportunity to be a good person when nobody else is watching -- only the dogs know that I value them and treat them kindly even when nobody else can see.
The titles we earn with our dogs reflect accomplishment but it is more than that -- it is about excellence, commitment, teamwork, respect, mindfulness, creativity, ethics, intelligence, and all kinds of other important qualities that I believe are essential components of a good life; training dogs lets me practice these things all the time. Training dogs is not the only way to practice these things -- but it is one of my ways.
And so a (dog) title is like a (book) title -- just a few words that reflect an entire volume.
In 2010 Maize lived and lived well!
In 2010 Halo earned her Utility Dog title and became a Top Producer of Working-titled Dogs -- yea for Halo!
In 2010 Cadi earned her Brace Draft Dog title (three times), her Companion Dog title, and the Versatile Companion Dog 1 (VCD1) title -- and agility legs; she was also the second highest scoring obedience dog at the National Specialty and the only dog to earn the Triathlete Award by qualifying in four different working events.
In 2010 Asia earned her TDX (Super Yea!), her Companion Dog title, and the BMDCA's Working Dog award.
In 2010 Zoey did not earn any titles but picked up ten championship points, cleared hips/elbows (YEA!), and has been Winner's Bitch seven out of the eight times she has been shown since June; she was Reserve the only time she did not win.
In 2010 Sydney earned her first title -- the Tracking Dog title.
There are no unimportant titles but I am particularly proud that in 2010 I earned advanced titles on three different dogs in three different venues -- specifically, Halo's UD, Asia's TDX, and Cadi's BDD; I believe these titles particularly reflect my 2010 goal of Excellence.
I do not dwell on what was not completed nor do I lower my sights as a result of not achieving all that I planned. Rather, I continue to aim high because aiming low risks hitting trees and Heidi Marie -- while aiming high is the only way to ever hit the stars. We can choose to be disappointed about what was undone -- or celebrate accomplishments and progress -- obviously I intend to celebrate :)
With the review of 2010 completed, it is time to look ahead -- and even though we will experience sorrow and loss in 2011 there is much to hope for and to dream about -- so stay tuned for 2011 goals...
What are your hopes and wishes for 2011? Imagining them is the first step in realizing them so turn on the Imagination Channel and start hoping and wishing :)