The other day I attended the funeral of a good friend’s family member. I didn’t really know the person but I felt like being there was my way of showing respect and condolences to my friend and his family. Funerals always bring up a variety of emotion for me. From listening to how someone remembers the recently deceased to wondering, in my own selfish way, what would people say at my funeral? I don’t know if I really want to know lol! The day before this I was at a sheepdog trial that was held to benefit Team USA to go to the Worlds. And the day after I was able to work dogs with a couple fellow competitors and have a nice laugh with them. Its funny where our days take us really.

I bring this all up because these moments brought a lot of perspective to a really stressful time. With everyone getting ready to head to the Netherlands and compete at the largest competition that any of us have ever competed  in, its easy to get lost in the planning and the scheming and the stress involved in all of that. Sometimes it can be a bit crippling to me to be honest. I get caught up in the worry of every minor mistake that I make during a run or while training my dog. “She’s not covering that pressure the way she should” “Her turn back could have been wider/tighter/faster/slower” “That shed could have been better/that fetch could have been straighter” “I should have made that drive gate”… The list goes on and on and on. Lets face it, anyone who knows me knows one thing for certain; I’m as high strung as a Jack Russell on crack! These thoughts aren’t even the tip of the ice burg. But the last couple days made me think of things in a new way. It was actually humbling to see how many people are behind us. The handlers that turned out to support the world team at the benefit trial, on top of running their dogs, showed us all that they had enough faith in us as a team and each individual that they sent in their entries knowing that the money was going to support something quite special. The auction items that are constantly being donated are, quite honestly, overwhelming. The comments, donations and emotional support that the US Sheepdog community has shown is really quite awesome and I want everyone reading this to know how much we all appreciate your support! I’m not trying to sound like some politician because God knows I’m not politically correct and I don’t want to be! But I do want people to know that what you’ve done and continue to do is appreciated.

For me, this journey I’ve been on for the last several months has been a dream that I’ve had for over 20 years. And this year, mostly due to the incredible amount of support from so many people, its becoming a reality. Because of you all I get to realize a dream that I’ve had since I was 14 years old. And I get to do it with a team of people that aren’t just all great competitors running great dogs, but with a group of people that are my friends. Its a pretty special feeling to feel this kind of support, and I want to thank you all who are behind us on this ambitious adventure! I get to travel to a place I’ve never been with one of my favorite dogs ever to compete at a venue that is truly on a global scale! Who would have thought that 23 years ago when I got my first dog that this “hobby” would have taken me, literally, all around the world? Its crazy! To me its just proof that if you believe enough in something, it doesn’t matter what it might look like on the surface because that passion can burn brighter than any person’s criticism or whatever logical advice people might throw at you. One of my mentors in the hair world said this to me once “Follow your passion because that’s where your heart lies”… Thanks Vivienne

So now, I’m trying to remember this as I continue to prepare for the biggest stage that I’ve ever been on. Instead of worrying about the lack of perfection on a pretty good training session, I’ll try to remember that even though I might be critical of these otherwise insignificant moments, there’s a ton of people out there rooting for all of us. Maybe that’ll help calm my Jack Russell tendencies. This is the part of these big moments that I don’t think many people talk about. As I walk to the post at any big trial I’m full of a desire to do everything right but also aware of what might go wrong. I’m thinking of every possible scenario so that I can be as prepared as possible.. But sometimes, you have to put the entirety into perspective and realize that you’re as prepared as you’re going to be and to go out and do your best… And most importantly, remember to pet your dog after you’ve finished. Because they’re doing their best as well.


For anyone wanting to contribute to my fundraising campaign you can click the link GET DEREK TO THE NETHERLANDS ALSO check out our Facebook page TEAM USA for continued updates once we are over there along with auction items that are still up for grabs! There’s been some great items!


Thank you all! And, as always, much love! unspecified-5

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