Piper completed her title yesterday with a big smile on her poodle face to match the thrilled one on mine.  As one of the judges told me when we left the ring after one of her qualifying scores, "Steak for supper for that poodle!"  Thank you Piper, you are an amazing partner!  

It's been a long journey with Piper to reach this level in her training and trialing.  An up and down hill journey with the excitement of new skills learned, friendships gained, exercises mastered and confidences (often) humbled.  Piper and I suffered through fear and guilt when she was attacked and hurt, a re-building of trust and confidence to keep her safe from other dogs in the sport, happiness and tears at moments when the light goes on -- when clarity and understanding sinks in.  She's had big wins, High in Trials and left me pleased and thrilled with our performance even on the days when we failed to qualify.  Piper never stops trying and works her heart out for me.  She 'makes me want to be the person my dog thinks I am'- as the saying goes.  As much as my life has been molded by my parents, mentors, friends, and teachers - it also has by the animals I've shared time with.

Training to this level creates bonds in many different relationships.  My dog of course, she knows me better than I know her.  My coach, mentor and friend Marie Sawford who brought us from Novice A to OTCh.  The supportive and amazing help from class and school mates at Companion Dog Training, those I've traveled to compete with and set up at trials beside to spend the weekend, other trainers we've met at shows and trials from Canada and the United States.  And especially my dearest and most wonderful friends in the dog world - those women and their dogs that are the "inner circle" of my friends.  Hugs to you and thank you for the support and your friendship.  Your being who you all are--  I can't measure the value or be thankful for enough.  There are far more of you than I can mention without forgetting anyone, but especially Pat, Andrea, Dawn T, and the SPW:  Dawn N, Cheryl, and Vivienne and all your amazing dogs.  I've learned so much from you all in so many different aspects of dogs, family and friendships.  I thank you.

Piper and I will continue our journey with no specific plans for her Excellent, Master and Grand Master title that follow her Obedience Championship - we'll take it one step at a time just as we have to this point and see how far the journey will take us in that direction.  As long as we're having fun we'll continue.  After reaching this point, the rest is just more icing on an already over the top cake.

Thank you mostly to my wonderful and 'Sweety Pie' girl Piper, you've taught me so much and made me a more understanding, patient and feeling person.  Who knew a poodle could do so much?  I do now.  And to my training buddies in the Tuesday night Utility class - there'll be cake to celebrate tomorrow!

Renee & OTCh Ravendune Piping Hot RE AGN CGN HIC(s) RNMCL aka 'Piper' or The Princess Pie


Anonymous said...

She is absolutely beautiful! Woman's best friend. Go Piper!

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Cake to celebrate? How about one shaped like a bone - LOL Congratulations to the two of you ~ well done!!!

Thank you for sharing some insight into what it's like working with and training Piper.

keri said...

That's amazing! I love hearing about stuff like this - my pups have only moderate listening/command skills. I can't even imagine the amount of time and skill it took you to get to this level. Congrats!

peaknits said...

What an absolute beauty! Congrats to you both for your hard work!:)

Doortje said...

That is one proud poodle picture, I can see it in her eyes!!
Congrats to the two of you.

Michelle said...

congrats to you and piper! After working with Nimitz at agility all year and then getting a chance to run a different dog for a class, I know that it's definitely an achievement for you both. Our dogs really can make such a great team with us.

Chris & Pat said...

Congrats Renee & Piper.
Its a great accomplishment!

jordynn said...

Awesome! I have a black standard poodle, too, and she too needs to gain some confidence. I'm glad the classes worked for you two!

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