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2023 Year in Review at Gracerok

Thankfully 2023 was a full year of 'lets get back to normal' and we are so grateful that we were able to take advantage of all the opportunities that were once again available to us all, including no restrictions on dog shows, trials, classes, and even air travel (with my first flight in over 5 years to visit family out West)!

Like any year, there were both setbacks and celebrations to be had. Here are just a few of the highlights:

2023 started with a setback...sadly in February Trip's (was Ruckus) second home fell through and he was returned to 'Gracerok Boot Camp' once again. After a few months of intensive re-training and grooming, Trip found his 3rd and Forever home close by in Peterborough! I get regular updates on how well he's doing and his achievements with his mom in Rally-O training and couldn't be more grateful that his new home found us! Trip's story isn't really a 'setback' but really more of a wonderful 'meant to be' story!

Later in the year a potential new home that I was so excited about for Cinder fell through … during that time we had turned down several other great potential homes thinking we'd found her perfect furever home. It was heartbreaking that it didn't work out for her and now we're back to the drawing board as the other homes have moved on or are sadly no longer interested in her. We really hope that someone will fall in love with her soon and we will have another 'meant to be' story to tell of Cinder providing sunshine, wiggles, sass and snuggles to a new family, hopefully soon in early 2024.

Then there was Lyric....she was supposed to be bred in 2023 for her first litter but she decided she didn't want to be a mom this year…a silent or split heat meant that we had to postpone the breeding and hope that she comes in season in time for a nice Summer 2024 litter while our chosen stud dog is still available!

On a personal note, the best news for me in 2023 was taking a break from my early retirement by joining a remote work position at the Canadian Kennel Club! This was the best thing that could have happened to me! I was getting bored with retirement, I was restless and had some major home maintenance projects to complete and pay for (LOL)! I enjoy and respect the people I work with at CKC, such a dedicated team of experts whose only goal is to help people navigate the system successfully! My favorite part of the job is the opportunity to help people through problem solving which I love to do and of course it's all dog related…what could be better?!

Overall in dogs, this year was Chacha's year! We trained hard and it paid off with Chacha quickly earning his Rally Intermediate and his Rally Advanced obedience titles with high scores including several perfect 100s and all top placements! As a team, we conquered the left pivot, which was our main nemesis and the more advanced titles are now within our reach for 2024.

Chacha also briefly made an appearance in the conformation rings this that he is more mature and he finished his CKC Champion title with major wins in deep competition, proving he is both a smarty pants and also looks the part of an Aussie too!! I'm so proud to have owner-handled him to his final points to earn that title as his breeder-owner and I am so grateful to all those who helped and encouraged us along this journey with Chacha!!

Sienna did well in conformation on our one and only outing with her this year earning more points towards her Champion title. Sadly, she is not a fan of conformation despite being a beautiful and sound example of the breed so we will be focusing on agility with her for now.....which she absolutely loves. Maybe we will bring her to some select shows in 2024… we'll see what the year brings.

Her half brother Tesla is also proving to be an agility prospect and we hope to do more training with him in 2024. Tezz is currently available to a sport home only that could make him shine in ways that I cannot... but if we don't find one we will pursue his agility career here!

Here at Gracerok, I started a monthly/quarterly newsletter that will go out to all current and confirmed future owners of a Gracerok Aussie. I'm excited to be able to share resources, information, updates, litter countdowns, and even profiles of our current Gracerok family.

With my new job I have less time and energy to get out there and show and trial as much as I would like to but I'm hoping that in 2024 I will find a better work-life balance so I can get into a more fruitful and regular training, trialing and showing routine.

But the main priority for this year is to have Lyric's first litter…fingers crossed that the Universe will go our way this time.

To all my Gracerok friends, I am so grateful for your support, encouragement and friendship which I always strive to reciprocate. I hope you all are looking forward to a new year with more achievements and friendships and good stories to tell at the end of 2024.

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