Saturday, July 24, 2010

Coming to the end of an era

We had very sad news today in the WA agility community with Kriszty's Jess passing away. Jess was a one in a million and will no doubt leave a massive hole in Kriszty's life. I've had the privilege of getting to know Jess pretty well over the years with Kriszty and I becoming great friends after travelling and competing together for quite some time. There are many wonderful memories for me with Jess and my own beautiful Soda going head to head in the agility ring especially through 2003 to 2005. We also competed side by side in our agility team "The Masters & the Apprentices" with countless wins over the years.

Agility has changed in Perth, especially in the last five years or so with our top group of dogs these days being more often than not, hand picked as puppies for their potential to be good agility dogs. They are then trained from puppies with a serious attention to detail and lots of help from attending agility seminars, agility literature, the internet and DVD's that we consume. I first started teaching myself and my dogs agility in 1998 and everyone that I met got involved in agility the same way. We wanted to provide our pet dogs with some extra stimulation and have some fun with them at the same time. Over those years I witnessed some really special dogs including Rod's Bundy, Tracey's Jake, Sam's Kal, Megan's Jestah, Ash's Bailey, Mel's Max, Frank's Harley, Richard's Della and of course Kriszty and Jess, just to name a few. All great pet dogs who shone in agility. Sadly we are coming to the end of an era as not many of these dogs are alive now. There is a part of me that really misses those days especially as I watch Murphy and Soda get older and more fragile.

Jess's health hadn't been good for a while and Kriszty knew that her days with Jess were probably nearing their end, but it still doesn't make the sense of sadness and loss any less. I think WA agility is shining a little less brightly tonight with her gone. Below is a tribute I put together after Jess competed in her last Royal Show last year. I think now is a good time to watch it again and remember what a wonderful dog she truly was. RIP Jess.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My wee sidekick

Totally chuffed with Sonic's weekend performances. He just keeps increasing in speed and confidence with our teamwork on course getting better and better. I find that when I'm running him I have a big smile on my face. He only moved on one start line and I withdrew without running the course. Probably actually my fault as I didn't have him focused enough and I think the lights were on and no one was home. I did a massive lead out in Open Jumping and he held firm.

Sonic is getting really noisy on course. He barks on occasion but the squealing/squawking is increasing in volume and duration. Clearly relative to his confidence levels. As long as he's listening it doesn't bother me, in fact it just shows what a character he is.

Training will continue to focus on drive off the ground and out of corners as that is still where we lose time and I'm well aware of just what a powerful and fast little boy he is. My challenge is to get it out on the agility course.

The Murphster is going well. His balance is improving steadily. He can now look at me and walk at the same time without falling over. However he often goes sideways without warning. I need one of those bumper stickers that you see on young guys cars that says "Caution vehicle frequently sideways" to stick on his butt to warn people walking behind him. Most importantly Murphy is happy and bright and doesn't seem concerned.