Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our big day...

On Sunday at the Gateway Agility Club of St. Louis trial in O'Fallon IL, Maggie earned her Master Agility Champion Title. It hasn't been that long since we realized that getting this prestigious title would even be possible, and I could hardly believe it was happening.

You can tell from these photos that Maggie is the one that did all the work... I don't think I ever appreciate how far I am able to work from this little dog to save me countless steps. My role in this has been pretty simple... point her at the right thing and stay the heck out of her way!

By the time we got to the final jump I had completely stopped breathing. While I don't remember much of our run, I do remember this moment. I remember thinking... "all we have is one last jump as long as she doesn't knock the bar.... and Maggie almost NEVER knocks a bar, so this is our moment!"

But what would a moment like this be without friends to celebrate it with!

In fact, there are a couple of friends that I have to say thanks to. First, a HUGE thank you to the the people at Missouri Kansas Border Collie Rescue who were Maggie's first home... and especially the McVeys, her foster family, who were the first people to show her love and kindness. Thanks to Kim Berkley at Dog Sports at Kim's in Caseyville, IL. When we first met Kim, Maggie was afraid of her own shadow, but Kim saw Maggie's potential and taught me how to bring out her best. Kim gave us the very best foundation training and prevented me from making big mistakes.
Starting from the left in this photo, our friend Sue who also trained and runs a rescue dog. She has been our cheerleader from the beginning, and knows the extra difficulties of working with a dog with "history" and the extra pride is watching them overcome it.
Next, our best bud Carol who started at the same time as us and we've been through everything together. Carol is the one who convinced me that Maggie should compete in agility. She actually filled out the ILP application and took the pictures to get Maggie's AKC number. We trial together, we train together, we laugh together, and sometimes we even cry together.
Anyone in the agility world knows the next person.... Joan is a premier handler and has taken us to the next level. When we started agility, we would watch Joan from the sidelines and admire her handling techiniqes. Before long, we were taking lessons, and now I'm honored to call Joan a friend. She always knows the right thing to say to cheer us up when we make a mistake, and she is always the first one to say, good job!.
Last, but not least is Chris, and I can't say enough good things about her. When we began, Novice agility was always the last to run, and with a 24" dog, we were usually one of the last dogs there. By the time we ran, it was only Carol and I left. Except for one experienced handler who would stay and cheer us on... that was Chris. From our very first runs she has been there to applaud, to cheer, and to laugh with us. But more than that, Chris always brings some extra fun to the trial and helps us to remember that it isn't always about the titles, or the times, or the points. Sometimes its just about being with your friends (2 legged and 4 legged) and making some memories together.
There are many more people to thank, but this has gone on long enough. So I'll wrap it up with just one more thing.
Thanks Maggie girl.... you are a one in a million dog and you've brought me such joy. If not for you, I would have missed a lot of good times and not met a lot of fun people. Here's to a long agility career for the both of us!


  1. Great job you guys! We hope to get there eventually too!