There’s only a couple of days left until summer vacation begins, but things are very different this year. While last year at this time I had three Miniature Pinschers who I couldn’t wait to spend the summer with, this year I have just one. Last August, Aspen passed away. More recently, in March, Quest passed away. It’s so very difficult to believe that they are not here anymore. For so very long, I had three dogs to care for and dote on so it’s a strange feeling to only have one now. For Malibu, I’m sure it’s strange too.

Today was especially hard because it was exactly one year ago today that Aspen and I attended our final nosework competiton. As she was 13, I knew that with each trial it could very well be our last one. I recall that day so vividly. It was a hot day and the noise of the cicadas was intense. I had brought a new cool coat for Aspen to wear in the car. If it got too hot, I planned to run the air-conditioning. Aspen’s comfort was my priority. Unlike most trials we attend, we didn’t have to be at this site until the afternoon. We ended up arriving much earlier than we needed to but you can never predict how the traffic will be on the way. I didn’t want to get there late and miss any of our events. We had never been to this site before, but I was still surprised that we did not know many of the other competitors. Usually, we know most of the other teams, but not that day. Later, after Aspen passed, I kind of wished our final trial was one in which we were surrounded by friends. But I am happy that Team Aspen had the opportunity to compete that day.

Aspen loved traveling to the competitions and spending one on one time with Mom. She also loved playing her favorite game, nosework. Despite her age, Aspen truly seemed to be in her prime. She continued to race to every startline and couldn’t wait for me to release her with the magic word, “Search.” We earned another title that day, Excellent Exteriors. I was excited to later learn that we also earned 2nd place for that search. I’m glad that I didn’t know it would be our last trial. Some things are best left unknown.

On the way to the trial.
Staying cool in the car between searches with a cool coat and a fan.
Good girl, Aspen!!