This past weekend I attended an agility trial with my young border collie, Psyche.
Psyche and Bella were very close when Bella was still with me. Bella was instantly best friends with her when I first brought her home, and they've been buddies since. Bella and Psyche played for hours, slept together, snuggled, and were over all an amazing pair. Between those two I never had a second where the thought that I owned amazing dogs wasn't somewhere in my head.
When we (and I say we as in anyone who ever knew how amazing Bella truly was) lost Bella, I was devastated, but so was Psyche. We both missed her, and still miss her. And because of how much the two of us miss Bella, we rely on each other a lot more. She understands when I want to just lay in bed and cry for a little bit, and I understand when she doesn't feel like playing. We get that we're both sad.
The weekend after putting Bella down, Psyche and I both sucked it up and went to the trial we'd entered in. I wasn't expecting to have a great weekend, and for the most part, I spent it in near tears, trying to keep myself in check while people told me how sorry they were for my loss. But when it was our turn to run, Psyche made it all better. She showed me with everything she did that she still loved me, even though we were both sad, and she gave me her all.
It still wasn't a "perfect" weekend to some, but it was great to me. I thought Psyche and I were finally starting to come together as a team.
This past weekend, Halloween weekend, Psyche showed me that, yes, we are coming together as a team, and even better, we're going to be an amazing team.
Psyche and I loaded up and drove 3 hours to our first ever indoor trial. It was new to Psyche and new to me. We were entered in 8 runs total (all that was offered) and it was the most I'd ever entered Psyche in - remember, she only started trialing this spring. Of those 8 runs, Psyche and I had 6 amazing runs, and the other two were good, just not as good as the others she gave me that weekend. We were truly connected, and everyone who had seen us run before knew it, saw it, and commented on it. We had an amazing weekend.
This weekend, Psyche gave me not only her first Q (qualifying run) but also my first ever Q with a dog I'd trained. She ran with me through a Snookers course that I planned out with the help of friends, and not only ran clean and under time for me, but managed to snag a Q and a first place ribbon!
I don't remember when it happened, or even if it was before or after our Q, or who said it, but this weekend someone of the agility community looked at me and was saying how great Psyche was doing, and I gave my usual response "Yes, she's doing so great, and I'm so happy... but it's sad that what seems to have brought this around was losing Bella." and without even skipping a beat this person replied, with a pat on my shoulder, "This was her last gift to you."
Tears come to my eyes writing this now, because I know it's true. Bella, in all of her foolishness and pure beauty made it so that even through our grieving and missing her, Psyche and I would find each other and seek out comfort and come together as an amazing team.
I like to think that when I'm out there, having amazing runs with my Psycher Doo that my Boodleshnitzle is right there along side us, keeping pace and urging us to be the best we can be - together.