I have written in this space now for nearly 6 years. I’ve blogged for longer, but this space, this hippie dogs space… ah, my heart.

At the beginning of the year, I tried to shift it over to a new domain name. It felt wrong from the start. These stories are rooted here. Wherever the name arrived from – mmm, the story depends on the day you catch me and pose the question – it stuck. And so 18 to 24 years then; wow how you change in such a short time.

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At the start I was beginning my freshman year at the University of Florida, 2 hours from home, tears for days (months), and weekly drives back or to see faraway friends. No concept of life beyond high school, life beyond someone telling me what to do with myself every single day. I lacked a purpose and a goal, so I threw myself into agility once more. Only comfortable handling one thing at a time, that’s all we did for three years, really. Easy classes here and there, semesters off, dabbling in this or that elective – Rev and I trained, intensely studying and preparing year round for the big shows. But she was also the perfect college dog, Miss Rev. No complaints during finals season; no complaints when I couldn’t be bothered to start the day ‘til noon. During that period, I didn’t really make friends at university. I didn’t really do much there at all, save hold tight to the few handfuls of inspiration I was given.

We traveled; I hadn’t thought much of travel before Rev. Yet throughout these ventures I only saw glimpses of places, bits and pieces, mostly outlined by fellow American narration. It wasn’t real travel, but I didn’t know how to do that yet, and it was all I’d be able to muster for quite some time. These days I’m still learning, but I am grateful to be listening at least somewhat more, and to know that I must continue to try and crack open my heart.

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I hadn’t thought much of hills or hiking, either. Then a week in Vermont led to another major shift. Travel turned to exploration, and I began craving it. More and more and more I grew out of and away from Florida. Not by virtue of memories there, and not for the charm and the love — but for the sameness, the flat, and the heat. But you don’t find adventure through a pair of nice ruby red shoes. No, you need a screaming twister for that.

But that is another story.

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Amidst it all, the competition and the teamwork kept my spark going. Agility as a kind of sport had become a reality for me, though I would come back down from the clouds only to be reminded that this was not a permanent fixture. Work in progress; we have to start somewhere. I became an instructor, a coach. Once, at around 13 years or so, I dreamt that one up; almost immediately I had squashed it. To coach would mean to lead, to have confidence, to direct others. These things seemed impossible, out of reach, and not for someone like me.

Thank goodness for a certain wee border collie who has a yen for a bit of trouble and a good story. And thank goodness I’m not too stubborn to listen and to trust; she has never once been wrong.

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Other stories, they’re all here. The loss of a matriarch (a grandmother), the addition of a young, tri soul from across the universe, the struggles and joys of competition, the aching and musing over life and love, and everything else in between and beyond. Some stories I’ve tucked away for now, but most remain, the good and the rough.

So here I am, again, welcoming change – this time with arms that are a bit more outstretched, a bit more open. I’ve learned that’s the best way, really. I’ve learned from my dogs, I’ve learned from people – from their devastating lessons of love and wicked lessons of fear, and my gratitude fills the sea between you and me. Change may sting, she may have no use for humility or “sorry” – but she’s never meant me harm; she wants for nothing and she has no agenda. She shares life and advances on; I seem to follow whether I want to or not.

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My writing will not stop. I couldn’t. But I am to aim for new paths (or otherwise stir in frustration, as I have for months). There are ideas bursting from my heart daily, if not hourly. The trouble is the when and the how and the what exactly are you trying to bring together here, Self. All in good time, I remind that voice; I do enjoy a bit of trouble, after all.

Facebook and instagram carry on, narrating the adventures of this mismatched crew as I aim, fight, and try to recognize the spirit of others once more (two, three, a hundred times over).

Spring now, to summer to fall to winter to…


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  1. carol says

    Will miss your writings; your amazing courage to talk about, to put words to the scary “not perfect” messy wonderful happenings thoughts I,we have. You have such talent in this honest sharing. The rest of your talents; agility, smiley attitude, scholar are more obvious to all of us watching you. Follow your heart. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. If it feels right, it is right. Trust. Trust yourself. I think you’re right about trusting your dog too. In helping my wildchild dog who needed so much, she became my biggest blessing. She turned my towards some new good friends through agility. As my brother would remind me, “Carol, Be open and connected. ” Have yourself a ball, Tori, explore and travel. Whee!! Thanks for all you have given us/me

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