Friday, July 30, 2010

Great Expectations

Seven pounds. Seven pounds of energy slept between my feet, all of my hopes of feeling centred again rested on this tiny puppy. The irony of his heritage was that he was half Border Collie and half Bearded Collie; like me, split to have a strong tendency to be obsessive and compulsive, yet possess an exuberance for life that none can ignore. Heist was supposed to make me happy again.

I couldn't have been more wrong. As I ended grade 11, pressures about my future pushed in on me, expectations of others consumed my life. All I wanted to do was enjoy my new puppy- who turned out to be the most monstrous thing I have ever encountered. Potty training took place over two weeks of straight rain. Early mornings with a screaming puppy and late nights of studying for finals was not the dream I had envisioned. I had moments when I thought I would just let him out the front door. Someone else could deal with him.

But he was mine. I finally had what I thought I had always wanted. A bright, boundry-pushing dog. He would be my partner in dog sports. We would take on the world. Again, Heist had another lesson to teach me. I am someone who enjoys control, organization, routine. Heist was anything but. He crashed though life, stepping on, running through, or destroying most things in his path. Yet, I knew he was telling me "I am here for you. You got me for a reason. Now figure out what I am teaching you." That is the incredible this about him, he doesn't give up.

It was because of Heist I first pursued athletic training. It was because of this athleticism and speed that I was pushed to become faster and leaner. Agility, our dog sport of choice, would be nothing if I were not an adequate partner. This small step introduced me to clean eating. It taught me about weight training and interval training. It brought me to my current challenge of training to run a 5K race. Heist's personality and breed lines require not only extreme mental stimulation, but also exhaustive physical exercise. I learned from him that a happy, healthy being needs both. Without Heist, I would have never had laced up my shoes and ran, or biked, or hiked. He has given me the gift of learning to love the outdoors.

He isn't perfect. He eats food off the counter. He barks at the vacuum. He tests the backdoor to go on his own adventures. His recall ... well, let's just say I've let it slip. To me, those are tiny things that I happily deal with because of all of the other joys he gives me. Yes, one day, I will become fed up and properly deal with them. But until then, I will remain open to everything he has to teach me.

Thank you Kim and Peter for breeding such an amazing dog. Thank you to Mom and Dad for letting him come into our lives (and yes, after my first million, the floors will be refinished). Thank you to Sandra and Linda and Chris for all of your patience during training, I know you will never again meet a dog like him.

Take the time to open your eyes to the gifts and lessons given to you everyday. The frustrating moments are often the ones with the most to offer. Or the simple pleasures.