Life gets in the way

My Mom Billie

Scoop training has been on the back burner for the past four months. Not long before I wrote my last blog entry, my Mom became ill with a variety of undiagnosed ailments. I started flying home and spending as much time as possible with her, trying to share in her care with my  brother and sister.  

It all became clear what was going on when we got the diagnosis of brain tumor  back in April. She underwent brain surgery and then struggled with the cancer diagnosis, rehab and setbacks until she died 3 weeks ago. Like everyone who ends up an orphan, young or old, losing my Dad 8 years ago, and now my Mom has been of the hardest life events I have gone through.  

My Mom was 82 years old in January this year, but looked and acted as if she was in her 60’s. She went to the gym weekly for aerobics classes, and singlehandedly took care of her home and extensive yards and gardens. She was a happy, fit, beautiful senior who took great care of herself. That level of good health led us to believe she would live to be a hundred, not succumb to some crappy cancer while she was still so vital.  

I miss my Mom, and don’t regret a moment of the days and weeks that I spent by her bedside. I missed being home with my husband, playing with my dogs and teaching the students I see weekly, but not enough to stay home while my Mom might benefit from my presence. Life challenges put fun things like dog agility all in perspective. But it does not mean I didn’t miss it, or that I am not looking forward to getting back to my old life of training and competing right now!  

Poor Scoop. He got exercised and some socialization weekly because my friend and student Wendy Vogelgesang made sure he got that attention, and of course my husband helped lots as well. But there wasn’t any training going on. Scoop’s jumping and handling seems not to have suffered, he went right back to doing little jump drills without skipping a beat. I am thankful I did a pretty good job on foundation, and all of that is coming back easy. But we have no contacts, no weaves, de nada.  

And since all woes come in threes they say, a week after my Mom died, Jim’s 15 year old border collie Swift died. He is Riot’s littermate, and even though we still have 7 dogs, the house is not the same without him. 


Highcroft Swift, 2005

Woe 3 came only days after I got home 2 weeks ago and thought I could start playing with my big puppy. He came down with kennel cough and we are now into day 11 with the virus. I have been home for two weeks, but haven’t been able to train, talk about wanting to rip your hair out! Today he got trained though, and even though I thought I heard a little rasp, he did just fine when I jumped him and I am going to assume he is healthy and ready to go back to having fun training agility.  

So, here we go again…if you are interested, stay tuned for the beginning of Scoops’ contact and weave pole training over the next few months. I really want to show him in USDAA in mid September, just after he is 18 months old. So that’s my goal, and I hope to get there and not just in the jumpers ring:)  

Ready to go!



9 responses

  1. So sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, Nancy. My mom died last October from lung cancer after 18 months of treatment and struggle. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Nancy – my deepest condolences on the losses your family has suffered – first your mom, whom you clearly admired and loved. She will be best honored by cherishing her vitality and your favorite memories. I’m sorry the end was such a struggle, but at least she has found peace. It is so hard then, to come home and lose a veteran of your pack as well… rest also in peace Swift – I cannot imagine the compound grief of losing both. I had to say goodbye to the second of our grand old man at 14+ this January – to DM and cancer in his spleen- and still catch my throat constricting at the sight of his puppy pictures and youthful obedience conquests at the little memorial to him I have in my bedroom. Thank goodness that the “third” of threes didn’t save the best for last – at least Scoop is back on the mend and back to training with you. I hope you will find moments of comfort and recuperation in his companionship.

  3. I really see the resemblance between you and your mom in the photo and in your description. She lives on in your energy, health, and deep involvement in life.

  4. Hey Nancy,
    Sounds like your Mom fought the good fight and got the most out of this life. I’m glad to hear that you’re moving forward but I would be surprised if that wasn’t so. I remember that when I first became an “orphan” it felt like sunset and sunrise all at the same time like a passing of the torch. The good news is something my Grandpa would tell me; “You haven’t lost anything when you know where it is. Death can hide but it can’t divide.”
    God bless,
    Rob B.

  5. Nancy,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad that you were able to spend time with your Mom. Sometimes that is all you can do. I took care of my Mom in her last years and now am helping to take care of my husband’s mother. That is what family is all about.
    I attended your seminar in NC with the AE. I meant to email you how much I enjoyed it and enjoyed you. You reminded me that agility is a game we play with our dogs. It should be fun and yes other things do get in the way.

  6. Nancy
    so sorry for your loss. Didn’t understand the ophan concept until it happened to me several years ago. I’ll tell you something wonderful that happened soon after however. I started having very vivid dreams about my parents and I had never dreamed of them before. Nothing wild just normal conservations so it was like they were still around.

    For the last 15 months or so we’ve been dealing with my wife’s breast cancer. Things are better now but she has her first surgery in reconstruction on Tuesday. One good thing that came out of this was that I got into agility with our wonderful BC Mojo. My wife says I stole him from her. She now has a very active Pap that she is just starting with. Mojo is now two and we’re still in novice struggling with contacts but have two legs in JWW and FaST. The agility has brought us together and reunited us with some old friends. We’re having a blast and love our dogs.

    Look forward to learning more from you!

    PS check out my wife’s blog at

  7. thanks for posting the loving tribute to your mother nancy. i , too, miss my mother very much. i think of how she would LOVE to be going to competitions with me, watching me do agility. losing my mother left a hole that will never be filled….but it does get easier. my mothers nickname was “dee” and as odd as this may sound, i sometimes thing about naming my next girl dog “dee”. only a dog person would understand and consider it the highest tribute. joyce

  8. Nancy,

    I believe we have never met, although I would love to experience your training. My Pumi and I could certainly benefit. I write, however, to tell you that my heart goes out to you. As a stranger, I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I sometimes think the feeling of loss is compounded when we are the child who was away. Thus I am happy for you that you were able to travel and spend time with your family and your mother. I too made many trips to Michigan from Southern California when my mother was declining and I know the odd feeling of being an orphan, for me at the age of 56. I still miss my mother, when I see something she would like or when I have a question about socialist politics from the 1920’s. And, it’s somewhat embarassing that I seem to get a little annoyed with her each year on my birthday when she hasn’t called, and then I remember why not. I hope that our paths cross some day and thank you for the lovely blog that celebrated your mother.

Comments are closed.