I just said goodbye to possibly the best year I have ever had and it's hard to believe so much was packed into 366 days. They were eaten by time with alarming speed and the phrase 'blink and you'll miss it' seems wholly inadequate. I started the year with some goals in mind, as I always do, and am happy to report that every single thing I set my mind to was accomplished, conquered, and completed. I have the luxury of the blog to be able to accurately remember what happened in the course of a year as sometimes our memories play tricks on us.
January brought fresh ideas and hopeful plans for the coming year. The first of the year's excitement with the final breeding between Raimi and Leeloo. During the weeks that followed Leeloo demonstrated her disgust at being pregnant (again) and Raimi carried on like any Boy who's just had his way with a girl. Esme obliged by coming into heat just 3 days after Leeloo and so Boy's torture was extended. Cora was a naughty puppy just as she should be.
February saw lots of snow, lots of walks and a simple waiting game for Leeloo to produce, or not, her second and last litter of puppies. I took the time to enjoy a new place to walk the dogs, along a frozen creek bed, little knowing we'd have our own before the year was done.
March was an exciting month, the puppies arrived safe and sound and Leeloo was a most capable mother once again. She was delighted they were not out and not in and I was extraordinarily pleased she had produced no ridgeless or even a flawed ridge in this litter. She had refined her mothering duties with the last litter and treated this brood with the excellence of experience. Cora also came into heat and made her Daddy crazy with longing but fortunately there were no unhappy incidents!
April showers bring growing puppies and did they ever. This group of no-good-nicks spent a lot of time being naughty and adorable, just as they should. Cora was delighted when she realized that these were dogs that she could play with and spent a lot of time nibbling gently and inviting them to play.
May flowers blossom and grow and head to new homes. It was a bitter sweet time for us as everyone left to start their new lives - except for Leeloo, she was delighted they were leaving. Boy also got neutered and barely noticed which sort of follows considering his brain power was reduced by half in having his testicles removed. I also prepared to sell my first house and looked forward to the prospect of being able to get a home that offered a safe area for walking. The house was cleaned top to bottom, listed on the market and then we waited.
June surprised us with a sold house in barely 4 weeks in a market that usually saw homes listed for 6 months or more. The hunt was on to find a new place to live and I was lucky enough to find a home, although no bigger than the previous house, that had almost 4 acres to call our own. It was a done deal, after a lot of sweating through the financing because of lack of follow-through by bankers (you'd think they'd want my money), and we started to pack to leave the home that took care of me and mine for the first three years in Nova Scotia.
July brought us home to Three Brooks. Not big, not impressive but all mine and acres of safe running space for the dogs. All we needed was a fence (then a bigger fence!) and the dogs have never been happier and have rarely left the property. They are thrilled with the many and myriad adventures that await them right outside their own back door.
August was hot, the hottest summer I have experienced in my entire life and it never let up for a moment despite the hours upon hours of work that needed to be done outside in order to set up the property the way I wanted it. I have never worked so hard or sweat so much or been more gratified with my own accomplishments. I like to think the dogs appreciate all my hard work too ...
September started Cora's championship point count and a visit from her brother Luke who was already well on his way to his Championship. We also prepared for a Autumn and Winter in the country. More exploration of the property found interesting new paths, changes in a few plans and I kept making myself more work with more ideas and projects than I knew what to do with. Most of the projects involved making things as safe as possible for the dogs!
October was certainly a month of ups and downs. Leeloo returned to the show ring like an old pro and at 4 years young strutted her stuff at the CFC show in Truro and showed the world that she still has what it takes. Zero also returned to the ring after a hiatus and snapped up yet another Regional Specialty Best of Breed which makes him a Multi-Best in Specialty winner - so much for retirement! Sadly, the same weekend Invictus lost one of our own under the most tragic circumstances and Rifka will always be remembered as a shining star looking down on the puppies she had to leave behind. As for me, I made the long awaited trip to Barbados and had a wonderful time enjoying the sand and sun, seeing my first cockroach, getting a wicked burn and spending some quality time with my parents. In writing this during the cold of December 31, I can assure you I wish I was back there!
November brought us even more great weather, albeit a little wet (but at least we don't have to shovel it) and more yard work for me. I swear, the place will look amazing in Spring. Leeloo started the month off with a bloat scare but fortunately that resolved on its own - still, never underestimate the seriousness of bloat! Zero once again proved his worth and won his second consecutive Award of Merit at the RRCUS National Specialty in Florida - this boy was on fire and he was not even being campaigned! At the end of the month I held a Ridgeback Reunion and several of Raimi and Leeloo's 'kids' came to visit. It was a great time and I am very happy with how well adjusted and well behaved everyone was - they are a credit to their wonderful owners and to Raimi and Leeloo.
December brings everything to a close for the year 2012. At the beginning of the year I set forth my goals, I even mentioned them in my blog way back in January and here we are, all accomplished. For the last several years I have spent the months leading up to the New Year making plans for how the next year would play out if everything went perfectly. I have never been disappointed except by my own procrastination.
My advice to anyone and everyone who looks to a year ahead - don't wish for change, make the change a part of your life plan. Certainly there are things that get thrown in your path that set you off course or cause you to alter direction, but in making decisions and setting goals you can drive toward what you envision in your life. I mentally mark out every month with milestones I want to reach and projects to accomplish - every single month has something to look forward to. I have done this for years and I have rarely been foiled.
This year I plan to work some more on the yard (because it will be amazing, you'll see), add a couple new champions to the Invictus roster, write a lot more, welcome a litter of puppies, go on a couple trips, show my BFF Deena around my adopted province (squeeeee! can't wait!), and finish some major projects on the house. As always the plans for my life include the dogs and most things I do are centered on their comfort, safety and convenience. They are always worth the extra effort and we wouldn't have it any other way. Here's to looking back at a wonderful 2012 and forward to an equally amazing 2013!