There are many things that I love about the fall….cooler weather, beautiful foliage, apples, fires in the fireplace, sweaters, jeans, and boots….but one of my favorites is taking some time off from agility and letting the dogs be, well, dogs.

Nationals are done, Rue and Miles rocked, and now it’s time to rest a bit, recover.  It’s time to reflect back on our year together, think about our accomplishments…and about the things that we had hoped to accomplish, but didn’t.  Now is the time to start to make plans for the next year…what local trials do I want to do, what Regionals do we want to attend, what are my goals for each dog and for myself?  I love to plan…this makes me giddy with excitement!

This past year brought a few injuries for me.  I learned a ton about proper posture, better running technique, and the importance of stretching and warming up.  I’m not getting any younger and it’s evident that I need to be aware of some of my limitations, but also take control and make myself stronger and more balanced.  I started with a new personal trainer in January whom I love.  He kicks my butt on a regular basis, but I still love him 😉  I also found the most amazing chiropractor in the world who helped to rehab my shoulder after I dislocated it twice in the ocean while shredding some awesome waves.  She has taught me about kinesiotape and it’s benefits in healing and kept me from needing to have surgery.  This past year I also started teaching a foundations class at a local facility.  I LOVE teaching and so far have had the most amazing experience and the most wonderful students and dogs.  I look forward to teaching for a long time to come 🙂

The dogs have had a lot of accomplishments this year.  Miles continues to enjoy agility and continues to get faster and more confident.  That boy made me work to get him qualified for Cynosport and dang I was all set to not take him, when he said wait a minute, and proceeded to finish up his local Q’s and both semi-finals byes at the Chicago Regional in August.  He did it in fine style too taking silver in both PSJ Finals and PVP Pairs.  Thanks Monkey!  “Original Golden Mafia”:

There was a little set back in the spring when I felt like I didn’t want to run him any more.  I was putting way too much pressure on myself and had all of these expectations from him and neglected to focus on what was important….and that was FUN.  I had forgotten about joy.  I felt horrible and I knew he felt it too.  Part of it was that Miles had his first seizure in April and I was terrified that something would happen while we were running.  I was also crazy worried about injury for him because he just seemed “off”, but that was likely more me than him.  We just couldn’t seem to get it together.  Bars were falling a LOT and his JWW yps were not up to par.  After a lot of thought, I made the decision in July to move Miles to Preferred in AKC.  This negated any chance we’d have of qualifying for the NAC in 2013, but I made the decision for Miles…not me.  And boy, let me tell you, he LOVES him some 20″ jumps!!  Hopefully once AKC implements a break away tire, we can set out on getting him qualified for 2014 NAC in Preferred!  Miles also had a stellar showing at USDAA Nationals this year.  He was the most confident he’s been yet at a big event and was just on fire.  He only put a foot wrong once, in PGP Semi finals, but everything else was spot on.  I got in his way in PSJ Semi finals and cost precious time which put us out of the cutoff by 0.4 seconds and one placement.  But, he was squeaky clean in all team classes and made it to PVP finals where his team, Dogs ALoud, took 8th in Relay and 9th overall out of ~150 PVP teams!!


As always, I’ve made a movie highlighting each dog’s past year.  Here is Miles’ year in review (excluding our recent trip to USDAA Nationals):


Now onto Rue.  Wow, what can I say…this girl has really stepped up to the plate in the last year.  I still cannot even believe how much she has accomplished in her 4yrs, unbelievable really.

In summary, Rue earned her MACH in March, she was in the top 25 Goldens in AKC agility for the 1st quarter of the year, she earned a spot in the Golden Retriever Agility Dog Hall of Fame (ADHF), qualified for 2013 NAC in Tulsa, OK, won or placed in several USDAA Regional events, earned semi finals byes to USDAA Nationals, earned her USDAA PerformanceTournament Master, is ranked in the top 5 Golden Retrievers in USDAA tournaments, and ran her heart out in Denver in all of our runs and ended up making it to PGP Finals taking 3rd Place at USDAA Nationals!  Rue was the only Golden Retriever to make the Finals in PGP and she got to get on the podium.  So blessed, so blessed.  We still have lots to work on…I know she can go even faster as she gains more and more confidence in the ring 🙂

And now, on the brink of her spay surgery, it’s time to look back to her year:


We are very excited for our next adventure!!

~ Kristin, Miles and Rue