This was posted today and I thought it was good thoughts for all of us who
struggle. Whether in dogs, or in other aspects of our life, work or play.
Thought I would pass it along:
DON'T YOU DARE STEAL MY JOY
by Connie Cleveland
On the occasion of my tenth anniversary, my husband asked me how I wanted to
celebrate. I asked that we take a very dear friend,
my adopted grandmother and one of the greatest of all the great southern
ladies, out to dinner with us.
At dinner, my husband, Brian, presented me with a diamond ring. It was
gorgeous and I was speechless, but even as I thanked him, I worried about
the expense and extravagance of such a gift. As if he knew that the next
line belonged to my grandmother, my husband excused himself from the table.
He was barely out of sight when she reached across the table and grabbed me
by the shoulder, "I know what you're thinking, I know you think he couldn't
afford it and it's too extravagant. I don't care if he had to put a second
mortgage on the house to buy it, don't you steal his joy! It's beautiful.
Accept it as the token of his love that it is and say nothing about how he
shouldn't have bought it for you." Then she repeated, "Don't you dare steal
That was the end of the conversation. She sat back in her seat, smiled at my
returning husband, and we had a lovely dinner. I took her advice and put my
reservations out of my mind. The ring has never come off my finger, but most
importantly, I learned a wonderfully important lesson, never to steal
another man's joy.
Are you a joy stealer?
"You know if my dog hadn't gone down on the sit, I would have won the class"
said, unfeelingly, to the winner.
"I sure didn't think your dog worked that high a score."
"I can't believe you placed, I thought Jane Oneup and her dog would beat you
"I thought I had that class won! My dog had a great performance, " said to
"Isn't that judge an idiot? I can't believe the dogs he put up!" said to the
"Boy, aren't you glad Mrs Winallthetime wasn't here today or you might not
"You passed that Master test because the water blind was so easy."
"That was the stupidest set of water marks I've ever seen. No trial should
end that easily," said to the winner.
Do you discourage or encourage fellow competitors?
Do you tell them their goals are too lofty and their dreams too big?
Are you trying to be helpful or trying to keep them from accomplishing
something that you never had the ability or perseverance to do yourself?
It is equally as harmful to steal joy by destroying the dream.
"No Basset Hounds get UD's," said to the owner of the Bassett in Utility
"I've never seen a Rottweiler that could do fronts and finishes", said to
the owner of the Rottweiler practicing fronts and finishes.
"Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a UD and a Master Hunter? Do you
know how few people have ever done it?" said to the first time dog owner
setting out to do both.
When FC AFC OTCH Law Abiding Ezra had both his field championships and 65
OTCH points including all the necessary first places, someone had the guts
to come up to me, his owner, trainer and handler and say, "No dog will ever
be a field champion and an obedience champion." My jaw drops when I think
about it. Isn't it unfortunate that I remember this attempt at stealing my
joy much more than I remember all the cards and letters and congratulations
I received when those last 35 points were earned?
If you are willing to destroy someone's dream, perhaps you don't realize
that it is the JOY of pursuing the dream that keeps the dreamer motivated,
not just reaching the accomplishment.
My husband and I travel and compete together. I remember an event, early in
our relationship when I watched his Doberman fail articles. "Darn it, " I
said, as he came out of the ring," she didn't even try to find the right
one!" "Oh", he replied, "but, weren't her
heeling and signals wonderful?" Unknowingly, I had almost stolen his joy. He
was celebrating the improvement on the exercise that had been giving him
trouble, and I was focused on the failure. Since that experience, Brian and
I have learned that the best response to a questionable performance, "What
did you think?" That way, if the handler is excited about some aspect of the
performance, you can share that excitement. If the handler is disappointed
in another aspect, you can share the disappointment. You are safely removed
from being a joy stealer.
I hope you have a lot of dreams and goals for your dogs (in the coming year)
Undoubtedly there will be moments of
disappointment as you venture through the landmines of injury, failures and
other setbacks. Remember that the joy of the journey is worth the
difficulties along the way and don't let anyone steal that joy. Guard it
well and at he end of the road you can own it and revel in it with all the
other memories of the trip.