This was first published in Perspectives, the newsletter for AKC Delegates
It’s been a roller coaster ride since March, with most of the track spiraling down. A few slow upgrades then another wrench and everything feels out of control again, hurtling around one corner, then another, trusting in the science of the engineering of wheel to track. These times are trying our souls, challenging us to do better, to be better. Challenging us to help ourselves and each other.
To help each other our major task was…do nothing. Stay home. Lucky us having dogs to keep us company. Lucky dogs having their people full time. What a time to sit still, to contemplate who we are, where we’re going, what really matters. When we asked what you were missing most during this time of isolation, no one worried about cumulative points or high scores. No one lamented that they could be out competing. The major concern was the loss of camaraderie. No shows and trials meant not seeing fellow competitors. No classes meant missing the people with whom we have built connections. No one watching our dogs and each other improve from week to week. No one commiserating over a clumsy effort with encouragement to do better.
Dogs for the most part are social beings. They like to be together, they crave touch and feel comfort in their family groupings. Yes, there is the occasional curmudgeonly dog that prefers their own corner with their own bowl and their own toys thank you very much. But by and large dogs are happier in a pack.
We aren’t that much different. Many of us say we prefer isolation but still we are drawn to each other, to gather into groups, and organize ourselves. Now our groups are disbanded and we’re not sure when and how and if we can come together again. We know we weren’t perfect. We know the drive to compete, to be better than, has permeated every activity. We miss what we had, but do we miss every aspect of it? How many times did we allow the competitive drive within us detract from what could have been a pleasant experience?
We have a unique opportunity to try to make things better. To examine what we were doing and find ways to improve. Ways to reach out and help each other instead of trampling over each other in a quest for more. We can do better.
We will do better.