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Sue R

Kristi Oikawa - passing on to new adventures 28 July 2019

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Some of you will remember Kristi Oikawa (and her dogs, Lou, Rex, Wick, and Bar) from earlier posts and some of you will not know her. She was one of only a very few Asian-American handlers on the trial field, not only running at the USBCHA Open level but also very credibly in agility with the same dogs (which is a feat). This is a great photo of Kristi from the Bluegrass. I will so miss her in the White House next year and for years to come. And so I add my thoughts of her here with shock at her passing and affection at having had known her bright and blazing personality. 

In the interests of full disclosure, while I've been acquainted with Kristi through the wonders of the internet for some years now (first through these Border Collie boards and then FB), it wasn't really a friendship at all - I lusted after the wonderful meals she posted eating (all while staying lean and fit); I envied her being an Open handler and an accomplished agility competitor; and I just knew "of" her through the internet. But, finally, when we got into a bit of a disagreement over something trivial, we "unfriended". 

Then, a few years ago, she came East to the Bluegrass, all the way from British Columbia, and I met her in person, and she was warm and friendly (and, of course, sparkly). But I stayed aloof. We were two very different people with very different interests, and only a common interest in "the dogs". 

Last year, I saw her name on the roster to help me in the White House, and I groaned inside. Nothing wrong with her but a lot wrong with my attitude, for sure. And then I surprised myself by having an utterly delightful time working with her. She was amazing, quite brilliant, and a huge help. But more than that, she was friendly, funny, capable, competent, respectful, and just plain enjoyable to be around. 

This year, when I saw her name on the roster to help me in the White House, I was overjoyed (see, I can learn and improve my attitude) and could hardly wait. We spent a number of hours working together and, when it was all said and done, she gave me a big, warm, genuine hug that I appreciated more than she could ever know, and said that she looked forward to working with me again next year. That, sadly, won't happen, but the memories of her helpfulness, her wonderful sense of humor, her bright mind, her glittering sparkliness, and that lovely hug, will live with me each and every time I think of her. 

Godspeed, Kristi!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text, outdoor and nature

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People on this forum may only be familiar with Kristi through her screen name: Airbear. I don't think she's been on here in a long while, but all of us who do any activity with our dogs, and especially competitive activities, could do well to emulate her: always finding the joy and the humor no matter how her dogs performed. I'm sure her dogs had to be some of the happiest, well-loved dogs in the world--Kristi's high expectations never included blaming her dogs. I bet Bear, Wick, and Lou were waiting for her, tails wagging, waiting for their next adventures together in heaven. Godspeed, Kristi, the world is a lesser place as a result of your departure.

 

J.

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Kristi was truly one-of-a-kind and I'm so glad I got to meet her on a few occasions.  We would all do well to honor her memory by emulating her ability to find joy in the most mundane things, to spread humor and goodwill, and to love unabashedly.  RIP, Kristi.

Amy

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I haven't been on the boards for quite awhile but did have the opportunity to meet Kristi briefly at the Canadian championships in Kingston in 2016. I always loved her photography and her way of telling a story with photos and if I recall correctly, she did a video or two with one of her dogs wearing a go-pro. The trialing world is a little less bright today.

 

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I remember Kristi, she had a way with words and the camera when describing her dogs and the world around her. Sad to read that she's no longer with us.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Thank you. Sue, for posting that wonderful tribute. Like you, I only knew Kristi (Airbear) on social media. I will miss her photos and upbeat attitude.  (For those who are new to these Boards, you may want to search for Airbear to pull up past posts to read about and understand Kristi's photography and accomplishments.

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I saw this on Facebook and was saddened.  If I could emulate anyone in the sheepdog world, it would be Kristi. I only knew her online, but she shined through as an intelligent, competent, kind, encouraging and all around good person.

Kristi Oikawa (Airbear) was a class act. 

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Kristi was a wonderful person and I was fortunate to meet her.  She was everything the compliments posted say. 

I hope she's having a winning run on that eternal trial field with all her dogs.

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