Thursday, May 19, 2011

retirement, the dreaded decision

Okay so those of you who follow my miller blog know that I have been really wrestling with this decision. I had previously had miller to an animal communicator and we talked about what his signal would be when he was ready. As silly as it may sounds, he told me that when he doesn't pull me to the ring, that means he is done. Well, this weekend at USASA nationals, miller did not pull me to the ring at all and when we would get back to the room, he would zonk out cold and not stir until the morning. I had him checked out to make sure he was okay by dr. connie and she couldn't find anything physically wrong. So i think he was trying to tell me it was time. He Q'd in one run every day, even getting an excellent FAST send that I never in a million years would have thought he could have gotten but I felt like he was running because I wanted him to, not because he wanted to. When I would let him out of his crate he would just look at me with a little gleam in his eye but not his normal jump out, wiggle, and bark at me. I went ahead and pulled his entry from the July show and am leaving his USDAA june show entry in. Maybe we can get that last gambler's Q we need for his P3 title and then he can just do veterans now and again. I am not starting over in novice in AKC, unless I could find a junior handler to take him, so he will probably retire from that venue altogether.

Last night I was working deuce and miller had come with. I like to let him just run around while we work as he likes to hunt and forage. I put the jumps down to 16 and had him come over and do what deuce and I were working on and he loved it. I still think it is time though. I have decided to do tracking with him to keep his mind busy and keep us doing stuff together. We will probably never compete but just getting to interact since he isn't a cuddly, loving, in you face dog will be alot for him. i wish he was more like my other dogs, more toy driven, liked to do certain other things like obedience or rally, but agility is his thing. I love this big red dog with all my heart and soul and i want what is best for him. To go from a dog dumped at the shelter, one day away from being put to sleep, to a MACH and various other top titles USDAA, NADAC, AKC, and ASCA agility is amazing. To go from a dog that I had to drag out of his crate just to get him to go potty to a dog with so much confidence is wonderful. I owe it to him to give him the best rest of his life I can. He has given me so much joy, so many friends and so many memories as well as so much heart ache, so much frustration, and so much worry. He has been a great first agility dog even though I had berry and did some before he came along. He has taken me to 5 nationals (USDAA and AKC) and taught me the mental game and how to handle (and soemtimes how not to handle). I hope we can ease into retirment and he can be happy being retired. Would love to find a junior handler to maybe do some nadac with him or maybe even akc preferred but if not, oh well, he can just lay on his dog bed and go out to the farm when i work deuce and hunt and forage. I love you my big red Miller man!!!!!!

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