I am thankful for each and every one of you who make RTF what it is.
Sincerely - THANK YOU!
I want to thank my mom and my dad for the upbringing I had. They were young kids themselves when they got started in parenthood. Frankly, my last name could be "accident" as well as it could be "Atkinson" because they got off to an unplanned start and overcame lots of adversity as mere kids themselves.
I'm thankful to NAHRA and the hunt test programs. It was through NAHRA that I met my wife. She had two labs. I had two labs. We met, got along pretty well, found common ground, and became the canine Brady Bunch. As our pack began the journey towards geriatrics, the good lord blessed us with not one, but two healthy sons. Dog games have brought me most of my closest friends today.
I'm thankful for dog training and the outdoors. To me, the retriever world is therapeutic. It is what keeps me sane amongst market overcapacity, downsizing, economic downturns, corporate takeovers, and all the other stressful stuff that hammers on my psyche.
I'm thankful for organized sports, particularly wrestling, for helping me understand the value of teamwork, winning, losing, hard work, and sportsmanship. I'm thankful for Penn State University and Beta Theta Pi Fraternity where I learned the value of interpersonal relationships, and leadership.
I'm thankful for the health that the good lord has granted my wife, and my kids.
I'm thankful for the good friends that have become part of my and my family's life.
The list could continue...
Thanks to each of you for making RTF so much fun to be a part of.
RTF exists, because I was a kid with a 3M tape featuring Mike Mathiot, who had sketchy info on how to train a dog. I barely had the money to buy the VCR, and my uncle gave me the tape. I had not even scrounged up the money to buy Richard Wolters' WATERDOG yet.
When I tried to reach Mike via 3M, I was shut out and given the runaround. When I asked local folks how to get over some roadblocks in training, I was told to contact the local pro (whom I could not afford then).
Why does RTF truly exist? It exists in memory of a poem that all pledges at the Penn State Beta house had to memorize called "The Bridge"....pasted here:
An old man going a long, high way,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast, both deep and wide,
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The chasm was as naught to him,
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your strength and labor here,
Your journey will end with the passing day,
You never again will pass this way,
You've crossed the chasm deep and wide,
Why build you this bridge at eventide?"
The old man lifted his old gray head,
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today,
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
The chasm that was as naught to me,
To that young man may a pitfall be,
He, too, must cross in twilight dim,
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."
To all you Betas, yours in - Kai -
To the rest of you, THANKS and God Bless...have a great Thanksgiving!