Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is Success?

Before I started this blog, Maisy already had her first title- the APDT RL1 which she earned with an Award of Excellence- as well as her second- the RL1X. She had already had numerous placements in trials, including her first blue ribbons and high-scoring honors. She was well on her way to being nationally ranked.

My mindset matched her accomplishments. I had dreams of high level titles, starting with the ARCH, but eventually tackling the OTCh. That is, in fact, how my blog got its name.

But we haven't shown for a year now, and I don't know when we'll show next. Meanwhile, my friends continue to enter and excel at dog sports. While I'm happy for them, I've also been jealous, because I want to be out there with Maisy, showing the world how awesome she is. I've wanted to compete and win. I've wanted to be successful, too.

I've learned a lot since I started this blog, but I think the most important thing I've learned is that titles and placements and championships are not the only way to be successful. In fact, I still dream big. I still yearn for that championship title. I definitely hope we can be nationally ranked again, and I spend more time than I should obsessing about ribbons.

But I know that we don't need to compete to be successful, because I know now what success is:

Success is the quiet moments at home and afternoon puppy-naps.

Success is being able to walk your dog without having to scan the horizon for the unexpected.

Success is being the one your dog turns to when she's scared.

Success is learning how to read your dog's body language, and then respecting what it tells you.

Success is off-leash hikes in the woods. 

Success is being able to put your dog's needs before your own wants.

Success is knowing that your dog is awesome, not because she has letters before or after her name, but because she is herself.

That is success.


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

And success is pushing yourself and your dog, just a little bit, to see what you can do in practice or in a trial. Just make sure you're not the one holding your dog back ;)

Crystal Thompson said...

Oh, Laura. I'm am really, really hoping to be at the next APDT trial. I don't see why we can't, AND that's plenty of time to work on the level 3 stuff we need to perfect. :)

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I will hold you to that! And I hope Maisy holds you to the training part!

Crystal Thompson said...

The biggest barrier I foresee is a scheduling conflict. April is already looking full for us, and I won't enter her if it's the weekend following a big thing.

andrea said...

Success incudes enjoying the journey ..
and you are on quite the trip :)

I totally agree with you ... my relationship is not predicated on titles - thank heavens:)

Crystal Thompson said...

Excellent suggestions: Success means never giving up (that's how I've decided to interpret yours, Laura), and success means enjoying the journey. Love them both! :)

Ninso said...

I took Laura's comment more to mean that success is about not always playing it safe, or not giving up because it's the easy way. I think it's ok to give up sometimes. I am really competitive and I will push myself hard, but I have learned since having dogs that I can't always do the same to them. I would LOVE for Lok to be an obedience dog. I know he can do it, even blind. But he doesn't want to. So for us, success means letting my dog decide what does and doesn't make him happy, and respecting that.

Crystal Thompson said...

Oh, I like your interpretation much better, Ninso.