I was pleasantly reminded this week how much I need to stop and embrace the little distractions that appear in my life, whether they’re planned, or just happen spontaneously. I am pretty good at balancing my career and family time, and Friday I was provided with an opportunity to really embrace some time away from the office.
One Friday in June, all employees are encouraged to take the day off (with pay!) and participate in one of roughly 50 different activities coordinated by employees. The choices this year ranged from cooking classes to cake decorating, hikes to golfing, sharp shooting to flying lessons (yes the kind in a real airplane!), yoga to a personal training session. It was a no-brainer for me as I chose a 2 hour introduction to dog agility. I never feel like I spend enough time with my 4-legged “kids”, so this was the distraction I was looking for. AJ was in school all day and C was at work, so I had the guilt-free opportunity to spend some quality time with one of my “boys”.
Friday morning the sky was grey and the weather was not looking promising but the dog agility class was being held indoors so no amount of rain or wind would ruin our day. After putting an unhappy Tag in his kennel and an excited Chili in the truck, we were on our way. It was a 45 minute drive through the city but well worth it! It is amazing how much diversity exists within a metropolitan area but I think I will save that for another day.
After frustrations at my truck’s navigation system for not being able to find the address of the arena, I relied on my iPhone’s GPS to guide me to a location deep within northwest Calgary. To my excitement, I found myself at the arena where the City of Calgary Mounted Patrol is trained. I thought I had seen some beautiful horses over the years but I was unprepared for the beauty of the Police horses. (I would have no problem coming back in another life to the one they have now!) I had to pull myself away from that distraction to focus on why I was here. I pulled around the side of the arena to be away from the horses (I don’t imagine I could have afforded to replace one of those horses had Chili decided they were just big dogs he should play with!) and proceeded to check in with the coordinator.
After a brief introduction by the instructors we were split up into groups of 7. We then spent about a half an hour at each of 4 “stations” introducing our dogs to various pieces of equipment we could encounter in an Agility competition. I loved the fact that every instructor was constantly reminding us that our dogs are having fun so we needed to as well. Frustration and discipline was NOT ACCEPTED and were reminded Agility is about fun in competition. Whaaaa? You can have fun AND be competitive? Ok, that was definitely something I would have to work on, but today was really about just having fun and seeing Chili enjoy the day.
It was amazing to not only watch Chili conquer his “fears” and navigate most of the equipment like a pro, but there were 29 other dogs of every imaginable shape and size to watch. The instructors were amazing and told us all that we didn’t own “breeds” but rather “dogs”. In agility, unlike dog shows, breed, pedigree, size, and appearance all go out the window. It simply comes down to speed and how well we interact with our dogs. The tiny toy breeds had just as much fun as the Great Dane. It was great to be with a group of people who wanted show off their dogs, but not because they came from a better lineage than mine, but because they loved them and knew how to just have fun and I’m quite certain our competitive natures came out in seeing whose dog made us laugh the most. I don’t think Chili and I will be in the Agility competition ring any time soon, but after a morning of laughs, being silly and remembering how much fun I can pack into a few hours, there might be more “fun Fridays” sneaking into our lives.