2 ½ years…

I remember when I first wagged my little tail on the mat floor, playing with the other puppies at one of the moshes. I was exhausted and happy, panting up a storm and then curling up in a cuddle pile on the edge of the matts. I fell in love with the community and I told myself I wanted to get involved as much as I could to help others experience the joys of pup play.
2 ½ years ago I prepared for Northwest Puppy and Handler Contest in Vancouver, BC and took the title that year. A plethora of amazing people, experiences and adventures followed which led me to the International Puppy and Trainer Contest in 2015. I didn’t know what to expect, not being too familiar with that community or event being it was my 1st time there. I was beyond nervous, the unknown slightly shaking my foundation. However, I told myself I wanted to push forward… I wanted to make my region, community, and family proud. I wanted to continue striving to reach out to the puppy community as a whole, sharing in all my experiences, reach out to those who might not ever been heard, and make a lasting pawprint in my own way.

1 year ago I competed in the International Puppy and Trainer Contest in Dallas, TX where I was bestowed the IPTC International Puppy 2015 title for which I was honored and truly humbled by.
Now, if someone asked me what my title year as the IPTC International Puppy 2015 would look like upon receiving the title, I would say I had some goals in mind. That there were things I’d like to set out to do, places and people I’d like to see and reach out to, and overall wanted to make a difference in my own way… I had my aspirations and goals in mind, however, nothing would have prepared me for the year and journey that came before me. A journey filled with amazing adventures, many surprises, memories filled love, and experiences that went from dreams to a reality.
Upon my return from this year’s IPTC, after stepping aside and passing on the title to two new titleholders, I spent the week taking some time to let everything sink in and reflect upon all that has happened during my title year. Honestly, it’s still sinking in but I can say no words I could surmise would do justice, nor express the overwhelming love I have for the puppy community and the amazing and life-changing experiences everyone in my travels has given me.

All of you, and I mean all of you… thank you. It’s the love, support, trust, encouragement and opportunities you have given me not just as individuals but as a community, that allowed me run forward with my tail wagging.

I promised myself during my title year that I would stay true to myself and be the titleholder that I want to be and not what others think or tell me to be. That I would do me and above all else, to follow my gut and heart, letting them be my guide. I feel I have accomplished that.

I say this to everyone, titleholder or not, no matter who you are, how you identify, or where you come from: Don’t ever be afraid to be you and love yourself. Don’t ever be afraid to stand tall with your head high and fly towards your dreams. Every one of you matters and brings something special into this world and the community. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In the words of a saying that I always hold dear and close to me: “For those with wings, fly towards your dreams”.

I sit here reflecting upon all that went on during my title year and I am proud of what was accomplished, visiting many amazing places, people and making special memories ill forever hold close to my heart. I was the 1st international puppy to hold the title from Canada, to visit and support Alaska, travel internationally aboard to grow ties there in the pup community (4 countries and 6 cities in Europe), created a partnership with Australia PAH groups to make the 1st official international feeder to IPTC, and put together a puppy play summit at a furry convention with the backing of 10 PAH groups and my fellow friends Sir Pounder and Nightcat. I was fortunate to be able to travel 50,000 miles (80,467 km), judge and participate in many events/contest, being inducted into Mama’s amazing family, being able to join as an author to Pup Tycho Aurora international puppy play website: https://www.pupplay.info, and receiving a warm reception from others on my PAHS Without Borders community initiative.

I wanted to thank the puppy community and all of you for the support, help, and love you have giving me throughout my title year. There are so many people and groups/communities to thank and I’m truly blessed to know all of you. It’s people like you that make dreams possible and help make a true difference in the community. Huge thanks and much love to Sir Justin StClair, Pup Icarus, Pup Chase, pup Leaf Noden, Harley, Erick Joseph, Lucky Ordaz, Micky Rebel, Beau Korvin Black. I love my pack, Sir/Trainer, puppy family and bootblack family :). Thanks for being there to support me when I needed it most and putting up with my puppy shenanigans lol X3. Crystal Downey (Pup Pup Incus), thank you for all you have done for the community. It was awesome doing so many events with you and having our title year run alongside one another. I’m still waiting on our intergalactic puppy to be born lol ;). Also huge love to my good friends who always stood by my side (you know who you are) :).

Now as I step aside and have some time to reminiscence and look back on all the fond memories over the last year, I excitedly look towards the future and preparing for my new journey. I already am getting my travel plans together for more wonderful events and adventures.

I’m honored to be the new Associate Producer of IPTC and truly can’t wait for the next year of our contest, the growing partnerships, and the incredible people that will be a part of it.
I wouldn’t trade this last year for all the money in the world. I look forward to what’s ahead, making new fond and precious memories with all of you.
Love you all and again thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my puppy heart!

-Pup Kona

Written on 2 November 2016