We are fortunate to have dogs in our lives. They teach us how to be a better communicator, love unconditionally, teach us that being happy is not a choice but a way of life.

When I first picked up 2 year old Goose from a woman who saved him from certain death, he did not know how to play, but he did know how to love. His name at the time was Meatball, so I knew immediately I would have to change that! He WAS a “meatball” of sorts and very sneaky with blaming who-did-what on the other dogs. But he woke up happy and went to bed happy.

He wasn’t my first dog that I had to reverse what he knew and teach how to play. Eventually, just as Goose got to know his name, he started blossoming. Kim, who was my horse trainer at the time, started teaching Goose and myself this strange concept called AGILITY! I thought to myself “Why would ANY dressage rider want to do what hunter jumpers do?” But since it was playing with my dog, seemed like fun at the time. So we started learning, and started trialing, and soon people started knowing I was on the course when they heard from far away, “GOOOOOOOOSE!”

Although we took a break from agility for about 5 years, it was as though no days had passed with now 9 year old Goose. Since he was physically unable to do what he mentally wanted to do, it was a tough decision to retire him. His heart didn’t want to, but his body was having a tough time. What a fantastic last weekend. Carmalene ran one day and I ran the last, tears rolling down as the crowd cheered and clapped honoring a great dog on both days! He ended with his final PACH QQ, making it #11.

Badgersbrook Phenomenal, known as Finn, came into my life as Kim was picking out his littermate Lucy as her dog. He was the runt in the litter. But he was also the curly, youthful looking one who has endless energy and taught me the most AFTER he passed.

With each dog who comes into my life, I’m reflecting upon how I could have done something better for that dog to succeed. What I didn’t know then was not my fault. It was the fault of not knowing more at that time. Life is a constant lesson. Dogs facilitate us to learn more.

At the time, I considered Finn the naughty one. But what I didn’t know what Finn was looking for was better direction. He was participating in agility, but his zoomies were frustrating. So at the time, he was simply naughty. If he was around now, I would consider ME the naughty one by not giving him the instruction, the outlet, the direction he was asking for. I loved Finn, I especially love Finn now and with each passing day and with each lesson I learn from other dogs.

I learned of Finn’s cancer after he was already in surgery for eating a rug. Not kidding. I noticed lumps all over him and asked the vet to look into it while he was already under the knife. He had lymphoma. I cried that day. All day. And the next.

I extended his final days to be pure joy and love and doing anything he loved to do. I knew it was time when he lay in the backyard by a tree and wouldn’t get up. Couldn’t get up.

We learn so much from our dogs. That it’s never too late to learn a different way of looking at the world, that it’s never too late to live a happy life, that when someone comes home each day no matter what their mood to greet them as though they are the best thing that ever happened to us!

Love your dogs. But more importantly, LEARN how to be a better human through your dog.

Goose is running in honor of Badgersbrook Phenomenal (aka “Finn”), Lucy’s litter mate, who passed from lymphoma about 6 years ago. Goose is being run by Carmalene.

If you would like to donate in Finn’s memory and support Goose, please fill out this form: Support A Participating Dog