Seminars as therapy

This weekend, the last before I leave for Germany, I taught a seminar in Las Vegas.  It’s hot and sunny here – I can’t even imagine how difficult it is for people who are dog lovers to live out their lives with their canine partners.  The environment is NOT dog or people friendly, at least in my opinion; its hot, for one, REALLY hot, and that’s on a good day, and all the plants are pointy and sharp.  Everything is really pretty, in a sort of moonscape fashion, but it’s not exactly the type of geography that beckons you to a nice relaxing hike.

And yet, here, like everywhere else, there are dog lovers, doing the best that they can to provide their dogs with a full and fulfilling life.  Like people who live in AK, these people are determined to participate in activities with their dogs.  It just highlights to me how lucky I am to live in the Pacific NW, where, really, I have it pretty good, and so do my dogs.  Yeah, it rains, and sometimes I have to put on long underwear.  But really, neither myself or the dogs are ever in danger of dying from exposure from either hot or cold when we do go outside.  I can leave them in the car unattended most of the year and not expect them to die of heat stroke.

I digress, though.  Really, I am just continually amazed at how much I enjoy travelling and teaching seminars.  It’s just proof to me that it’s not just my vocation but almost a calling.  I love meeting different groups of people, all who seem to have in common a desire to continue learning how to improve their communication skills with an entirely different species.  Also, I’m continually reminded of how important mental management and psychological skills are to our sport of dog agility, and I’m totally excited about the project I’m working on to address some of the mental management aspects of the sport in a book format.  I’ve never thought of myself as much of a people person, but it’s almost as though teaching these seminars increases my faith in the human race to actually accomplish something decent and not just annihilate itself through intolerance and inconsideration.  Or, maybe I’m just feeling sentimental because it’s unbelievably DRY here and just one beer makes me feel pretty tipsy 😉

Anyway, here’s to the Las Vegas crowd (and to those who came from a bit further away)! You guys are awesome, and it was great meeting everybody.  I hope I get to come back; as usual, it’s really amazing to be able to share some dog training information, some laughs, and to be able to be allowed in to the training process that others are going through with their dogs, if only for a brief time.

I was a little worried that travelling and teaching a seminar before leaving for Germany would be a sketchy idea that might leave me feeling tired rather than rested, but I’m glad I came down.  I feel as though I’ve taken away more than I’ve given, and I’m feeling pretty darned excited to head off to Germany in just a few days! Of course, I doubt I’ll feel quite so optimistic at 3:00AM this upcoming Thursday, when I actually head out to the airport with David and Solar, but hey, that’s just a minor detail 😉