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Five and a half years ago, I met this handsome, older, sweet, hard working, but VERY opinionated, guy. I took him home with me, and although we didn't always share the same opinions, we hit it off. But I had no idea what a winding journey we would take together.

When we were walking down the street, and he was yelling across 4 lanes of traffic, I could only dream of embarrassment-free walks. I thought it was unlikely we'd ever take classes together; I certainly didn't ever think about competitions. But we kept working on it, little by little, everyday. We messed up sometimes; things got worse. But they also got better. And one day.... no yelling, just us enjoying a relaxing walk together; happy.

So I registered us in classes, so we could both keep growing. And one class led to another, and another. To his CGN, and a host of tricks. And even though I could see him slowing down, he was always happy to try, so we kept going, and we made friends and had fun together.

After 10 months of what started as for-fun-while-Ida-gets-over-car-rides, I entered myself and my old dog in a Rally-O trial. It's a sport I want to pursue, and I thought the ring experience would be good for me (having never done anything in dog sports before). I thought it would also be a fun thing to do with my best old man and some a fun weekend with some dog friends.

I never expected to qualify, let alone place. We did both. But the thing that I will remember most about my first trialling experience with my first dog, is how the entire crowd was cheering for us as we walked past the Finish sign, and how many people told us what an amazing team we were and what a special relationship we have, and how great it is that he "still" gets to play.

Though they've just begun, at nearly 14, Snowball's competition days are numbered. I don't know what else will accomplish, but long as he is happy to participate, and we can keep finding new things for him to do (there are very few organisations that let old, arthritic dogs play), we will keep playing together.

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