Jane, Pearl and I are home from a week at the National Finals. Last load of laundry is in the dryer and we are winding down early tonight. I have an intensive training week coming up. My store is helping a friend open a similar store in Arizona. We have been working with the owner for over a year to teach him our model, our philosophy, and all that jazz. Tonight, his young store manager is flying from Arizona to here and I pick her up tomorrow morning at her hotel. We have four days to teach her everything we know, also, for our staff, we have a training seminar on Wednesday night with one of our new foods, which is quite unique from anything else we have in the store.
Normally, when I'm at home, I wake up in the middle of the night a few times a week, worrying or wondering or making a check list about something for work. While we were gone at the Finals, I am happy to say I really did not think about work at all. I didn't even check the store's Facebook page. It was a vacation from work. . .until I started getting texts last night from Steve, the new Arizona store owner, reminding me to pick up his employee tomorrow morning. Good thing he reminded me, because that was gone, gone, gone from my mind.
At the Finals, I really had a good time watching the handlers. I am such a people watcher. I also had fun watching the groupies. I'm a groupie, but I try to blend. I love to listen. The stuff they were saying was really telling of their level of experience. I had definite favorites and definite NOT favorites. The fields were tough, the sheep were tough, the time of day mattered very much.
I think sometimes people think I am a wallflower, but if you know me, you know once I get going, I am going. But I really like to listen and watch. And, if you can ignore the noise makers, you can really get some insight into the level of experience it takes and the level of nuance it takes to be a good handler, much less a great one.
The weather was perfect. The company was perfect. Food was awesome. Fireball whiskey is good! Pearl gets to go off leash, Jane needs a leash. I love my friends. My trip home today was one my own, my own schedule, and that's my usual mode of travel. I could have driven all day, but I was happy to get home in four and a half hours. Glad I didn't have to drive back to Virginia or North Carolina.
Congratulations to all who did well, to all who tried hard, and to all who walked to the post. You did some good stuff with your dog to get invited to the dance and you should be proud! I hope to join you, some day!