Happy Where You Are Right Now

Monday, December 29, 2008

I am very honored to be able to call Greg Louganis a very good friend. The honor has nothing to do with the fact that he is an Olympic hero, or the fact he is likely the best diver the world has ever seen. I am honored because he is one of the nicest people I have ever known. He phones out of the blue to chat and always makes my day brighter.  He is so insightful about sport, life, happiness and yet is so modest he doesn’t even realize how much he actually knows. When we were at the USDAA Nationals last month Greg would stop by our trailer, in the early morning, with at least one little yellow post-it note that we would stick on the wall with a “Random thought from Greggie.” The entire group of us enjoyed each of them, but we all found a different one that was particularly pertinent to us. I loved the one that stated “Peak performance is meditation in motion” it was particularly fitting as it was the US Nationals.  But the one that has stuck with me the most is the one I based today’s blog after “The most powerful feeling is the knowing you belong, and you are right were you should be.” I think that is sometimes hard for any one of us to believe, especially if we are going through a down-turn in our life. The truth is, there are tough times for everyone: throughout a day, or a year, or a lifetime. The cliche that these challenges makes us stronger is little comfort at the time we are going though one. However I myself, often look back and realize that these struggles were important. For example, in September of 1991 I had a cool little Jack Russell Terrier named “Speki,” I just loved her.  At the time, she was the fastest height dog in the sport of flyball at only 22 months old. It was the fall of that year, a Sunday afternoon that she was killed in a freak accident. I was devastated. I couldn’t stop crying.  At that point in my life, I had never experienced the loss of any person or animal with whom I had shared a really close relationship. It hit me very hard. My mother (who was my best friend) came to my rescue. She came up and moved in with me for a few days. She shared things with me that were truly comforting. One thing inparticular she did, was to re-arranged all of my furniture. She said “that way when you walk into the living room you won’t have memories of Speki sitting up on the back of the couch a certain way, as there will be no furniture in the same place.”  It was a huge help. My mom could only stay until that Wednesday as she had a doctors appointment. That was the day we found out that she had cancer and we lost her 7 months later. As terrible an event  it was to lose Speki, it was a blessing, as it not only taught me how to grieve but also how to start to recover. Had my mothers death been the first one I had ever known, I don’t know if I would be the same person that I am today.  It was the lessons my mom taught me during those 3 days after Speki died that enabled me to help my father during the time after my mom’s death. The night of my mother’s funeral, my sisters and I re-arranged my parent’s bedroom to make it look completely different. I had a painting of a Loon swimming alone with 3 young ones on his back (Loons mate for life and are always in pairs, but this one was not).  

Loon print

Loon print

We hung the picture in the bedroom, we torn out the carpet, changed the furniture, did a complete make-over. My father told me repeatedly over the following few years how pivotal it was to his recovery. 


Sometimes silver linings are difficult to find in all situations. I just love Greg’s thoughts of knowing you are were you should be and to be happy knowing you are right were you belong. I think it goes hand-in-hand with the thoughts I wrote about in “the Journey.”  If you haven’t seen it , give it look. If I had to pick only one accomplishment to be remembered for in my lifetime, I would want it to be this video.

I am very grateful to have a friend as wonderful as Greg Louganis he is a very special man.



  1. Thanks for the reminders.

    After your 2×2 lecture on Friday, I realize just how grateful I am for trainers like you to be sharing your journey and information!! This YouTube video always makes me cry. As an agility newbie and first time dog owner I often have that thought of “can I do this?” I feel like a fish out of water, but am enjoying the journey with my dog.

    I’m amazed all the time what he brings to my life, esp. after dealing with some personal set backs this year. I’m so happy I have him in my life to get me out of the house and enjoying things like agility!

    Your energy is amazing and inspiring.

  2. I love that video… When I was struggling for a long time with my up&coming dog who wouldn’t tug, it was a good reminder on what I will and won’t cry over the day that he dies. It will certainly not be the lack of agility prizes, but the times I was too frustrated to be a good dog trainer!

  3. What a touching piece. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Greg is truly blessed with a friend.

    Judy C

  4. I watch this video at least once a week, Susan. It completely captures the heart and soul of who we are, the dogs we cherish and the sport we have chosen to share with our dogs. Bur more importantly, the thoughts you share on “lessons” we are given underscores for me the un-random nature of our encounters with other souls. Our meetings are mostly not by chance, they come to us at a specific place and time that we need them. So many strangers, especially those I met when traveling through airports all over North America on business, have given me just what I needed on that day and at that time. Thanks for sharing this important aspect of our lives, and thank you for making and sharing THE JOURNEY. God Bless!

  5. Thank you! You found words for thoughts that had been on my mind for sometime already, but which I could not express well. This is exactly what life with our furry pals is about: Helping us to understand our lessons throughout the journey that is our whole life! Thanks for sharing and making people understand!
    P.S. Lovely video and photos as well.

  6. I still cannot watch that video without tearing up. It reminds me of my past (with both my immediate family and my previous dog) and gives me hope for the future. As far as being happy where I am right now, well I’m getting there. I think Greg is probably just as lucky at having a friend like you.

  7. The re-arranging of the furniture really struck a chord with me. On October 10th of this past year, I had to say goodbye to my 11.5 year old Vizsla, Bryn, who was the first dog I ever trained. That very same day, we took the keys to the new house we’d just had built (on one acre, just for Bryn). While losing her was hard, it made it just a little bit easier moving into our new home within days of saying good-bye, somewhere she’d been often while the building went on, but not somewhere that had any particularly strong memories of her attached to it.

  8. Susan,
    I am so grateful for your journey video. I am surrounded by dog teachers, the only teachers God knew I would listen to. My dogs have led me to learn from others, dog and human. Your video reflects the thoughts on lessons I have had, and have begun to learn from. Thank you.

  9. I believe the more I experience being in the moment, the more I appreciate the process of building good memories through that journey.
    And, I believe that the happier I am with the moment, the more engaged I’ll be for the next, and the more I will appreciate it.
    I believe that if I’m totally honest with myself, and accordingly, those around me, the more genuine and sincere appreciation I have all the way around, dogs and people alike.
    All of these things are what makes the here and now that much more full, and enjoyable.

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