Hoot (The Stuffed Toy) >Open or Close
Dogs enter our lives for a reason. Hoot showed up at a very stressful time in my life, and he came with various health issues, which added to my stress. I was unable to find a name for him for quite a while, and then one day as friends were enjoying his antics and laughing and talking about what a hoot he was (that was the consensus among everyone who watched him), a perceptive friend pointed out what should have been obvious: this nameless little windup toy that made us all laugh had come with his own name attached, “Hoot”. I believe Hoot showed up to help me rediscover the joy in my life.
Most people just can’t resist Hoot. How can they? He’s a born meeter-greeter. Once Hoot has greeted you with a big French kiss, you become his best friend for life. Hoot's outgoing nature is a great trait most of the time. It certainly makes life easier. Yet a charming trait in real life can become a less than charming trait in the agility ring, where I have to remind Hoot that the judge and the ring crew aren't there just to visit him!
Hoot is also a natural born hunter; another great skill, but not so great in the agility ring. It is also not so great, if like me, you happen to live in the middle of the woods. Hoot's hunting skill needed to be channeled. K9 Nosework® came to my rescue. Having passed all the Odor Recognition Tests (Birch, Anise and Clove) his next step is to enter a NW2(Nose Work Level 2), a new adventure for both of us.
Hoot, aka Mr. Hollywood, has already done several photo shoots so he is not too far behind Mikey in the public arena. His picture is already on a PetSmart product, a Top Paws product, and should be appearing on a Merial product soon.
“He’s so adorable but he has very big shoes to fill” was a very common comment on Hoot’s life. What I did not realize until Mikey (aka MicroBurst) moved along to the Rainbow Bridge, was that Hoot never had a chance to develop his full personality. He was in Mikey’s shadow. Afterwards he blossomed. He has stepped up in so many ways – being my constant companion through dark times, seeing me through knee replacement surgery, running with focus, watching out for Stitch and being the best “big” brother, and channeling Mikey so I don’t forget her little peculiarities (laying down on the circular stairway, being the Enforcer, etc.)
Coming back to agility competition after two years off due to injury was not easy but Hoot rose to the challenge and earned his USDAA Agility Championship (ADCH). Love you Hoot, you’ve worked hard to gain the respect you deserve.
Stitch (aka Moose, Kick and Fuzzy Wuzzy) >Open or CloseStitch is the new addition to my family. He came to me through …. Rescue and is half Jack Russell, the breed that I love, and half Border Collie: that’s most likely the closest I will come to owning a Border Collie.
But after several weeks I started to wonder what I had done. Stitch came with most of the behavioral issues I see in my students’ dogs. So why did I pick him? The cuteness factor rates highest on my list. (One of these days I might consider the smartness factor too). Besides, Hoot just adores him. I wake up to puppy wrestling - Hoot is puppy size and Stitch is a puppy in both age and experience. Yes, I know how to deal with individual issues but he has many of them, making solutions less straight forward.
What he has taught me so far is expectations are equivalent to pressure. This means the rest of his bio is not written yet. I will continue to train silly pet tricks, agility foundations and manners but who knows if he will be my next agility dog, nose work dog, hiking companion, or some other dog altogether. Stitch will fill the page in his own way.
Micro (July 11, 1998 – Nov. 17, 2014) >Open or Close
Mikey, aka MicroBurst (that’s the term for a very intense, short-duration storm that does lots of damage), was my heart dog. As a friend once said “Life's lessons do not come from some guy on a mountain - they come from our dogs. We only think we're teaching them.“ Throughout her life people told me how special she was. I thought they were just being kind. Now I know better.
It seems like just yesterday that I discovered clicker training, the method that would channel her energy and keep her out of trouble. She introduced me to the world of agility and all my friends. Mikey took me on many adventures including the USDAA Agility Nationals and the IFCS Agility Championship competition in Spain but she also just traveled with me as my companion. I loved every adventure we shared. Mikey was not a dog’s dog nor a people dog. She was my dog and her laser beam eyes followed my every move when we were together.
Her accomplishments will be hard for any dog to beat. “After all, how do you thank someone for touching your life, even when that someone is gone? The best way I know is to take what he or she gave you and do your best with it.” ~ Tom Ryan (Following Atticus)
So my journey in life with dogs continues.
Micro’s agility accomplishments include...
an invitation to represent the United States as a member of the twelve-dog team that competed at the IFCS (International Federation of Cynological Sports) World Championships held in Spain in 2004, and a year later, an invitation to participate in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games (VI), where she placed 8th. In USDAA, she has earned a Gold Lifetime Achievement Award. Micro was ranked among USDAA's top ten dogs nationwide in Jumpers for 2001 and 2003, and among its top ten dogs in both Snooker and Gamblers for 2005.
Mikey’s repertoire of tricks include:
Backing up, crawling, rolling over, weaving between my legs, being a poodle, admitting she’s the guilty party by raising her paw, being dizzy (spinning in a circle and throwing herself to the ground), jumping into my arms and showing what rigor mortis looks like. But her claim to fame comes from her ability to stack plastic rings in size order on a base.
Did I mention that she is also very cute? (See photo!)
Her resume includes a commercial for a renowned national drug store, as well as a local feedstore, and she got to be the February calendar girl on the Brown Trout Jack Russell calendar for 2003!Agility Dog
Silver 11/26/2005Tournament Master
Standard Champion Platinum 06/10/2006
14th in IFCS
in the GP 2000 Steeplechase
Zuki (Dec. 2001 - Feb. 2012) >Open or Close
Zuki was the Cinderella of the house, underestimated, overlooked, but always cheerful, eager to please, and ready to go to the ball. She had to live in Mikey’s shadow, but that never bothered Zuki. She was “here for the party”. Life was good.
Zuki was listed as a Pooka-Aussie. In Irish folklore, a pooka is a fun-loving, mischievous spirit. Zuki was always willing to step up to the start line - even when she did not have a lot of training under her belt. When Mikey was injured, Zuki jumped into the spotlight like an understudy just waiting for her chance to take center stage.
My goals for Zuki where very different from my goals with Mikey, but I loved competing with Zuki because it was an adventure every time we walked into the ring. Zuki had her Jumpers Masters and Relay Masters titles. In the competitive 22” class, she had 14 snooker Q’s, one of which was a super Q.
Loki (Jan. 1991- Dec. 2003) >Open or Close
Although Loki always walked to the beat of a different drum, it is hard for me to admit I am where I am today because of him. He is responsible for me finding the world of agility and clicker training, not to take myself too seriously, agility is just a game, for me becoming an agility instructor, acquiring too much agility equipment and finding the nice dog folks and best friends around.
BREED DESCRIPTION: Loki was an Oxford Terrier. An Oxford Terrier is a unique and odd, little dog that originated just south of Norwich, in the small town of Oxford, New York. They are also known as a Rough-coated Rathound. Do NOT let the cute looks of this breed trick you. They are an extremely mischievous lot. They are known to bark like a howler monkey, jump out of agility rings for amusement and vanish when you least expect it. The survival of the breed is due to their ability to be utterly entertaining when their existence is threatened.
Loki was an excellent representative of the breed. He was named after the Norse god of evil or mischief. He lived up to that name until the day that we put him to sleep.
The Loki Award
Every time Loki and I entered the agility ring it was an adventure. No one ever knew what to expect of him. He never acted the same. But the biggest challenge was just to keep him in the ring with me. Most folks did not appreciate just how hard that was.
To that end, the Loki Award was offered. At the ACE trial it is given out to the Novice dog that has the most faults but has not been eliminated. Think what a challenge that has to be to the handler.
At Saratoga the award was offered to the DAM team in last place. Last year was the 10th Anniversary of offering the Loki Award at Y Agility’s Memorial Day Weekend trial. The members of the team earning this honor received embroidered leashes saying “MAY THE COURSE BE WITH YOU!” The winners of the Loki Award have been:
1997 The Green Team
1998 Over Rover Gang
2000 The Dream Team
2001 Borders on the Brink
2002 We Don’t need no Stinkin’ Leashes
2003 The Tortoise & the Hares
2004 Flip’n’ the Flops
2005 Girls Just Wanta Have Fun
2006 Girls Just Wanta Have Fun