It’s hard to imagine that our Justice is now 10 years old, and older than me - at least in dog years. It seems like only yesterday when I picked him up at age 8 weeks. Justice and I began our agility training when he was 5 years old which, by most standards, was a rather late start for each of us, allowing relatively little time to accomplish our goals. However, at times, I believe that Justice is just as competitive as I am. I quickly learned that, by working diligently with the resources available at LCDA, the “Qs” started to come and the benchmarks we strove to achieve began to materialize.
In our early training, Justice may have even been a little embarrassed for me – especially the times when a visiting instructor announced that my success was due to the brilliance of my dog or when I was referred to as “diaper butt” because Justice always had me covered. It was somewhat discouraging at times, but we both loved agility and we didn’t give up on each other.
We were 2 years into the sport when Karen Denton convinced me that I could learn a very important maneuver known as the “front cross,” notwithstanding my age and my having the grace of a linebacker. If not for this type of encouragement, and the support and coaching we received from Mike, Wanda, Kathy, Kim and Ruth in our early years, we may not have continued running agility; and most assuredly, we would not have been as successful as we have been.
This blog is meant to convey the message to both newcomers and agility veterans that no matter your age, or that of your dog, there is no limit to what you and your best four-legged friend can accomplish as a team, if you choose your goals and work tirelessly toward those goals. At LCDA, we are extremely fortunate to have a great field and equipment on which to train, a good library of instructional CDs which I would highly recommend, classes designed for all training levels, and a number of local trialing events each year where we can compete on local turf.
After Justice earned his ADCH, I promised him that he would no longer be required to do the dreaded weaves which were, at times, a little rough on his old bones. I moved him down to Performance III, running him only in Gamblers, Jumpers and Snooker. He may have thought I was planning to put him out to pasture, because he immediately stepped up his game and challenged me as well. The 2012 USDAA Performance III (22”) standings are out. Among all dogs in the Southeastern United States competing in this division, Justice finished first in Gamblers by sizeable lead, first in Jumpers by a sizeable lead, and first in Snooker by a sizeable lead.
Not bad for a 10-year old pup and his handler (also a pretty old dog). While this may sound like quite a “brag,” my purpose in writing this blog is to publicly say to my pup, “Justice, well done!” and to say to LCDA, ‘Thanks for your training, support and encouragement!” and to anyone entering the sport, “If these 2 old dogs can do it, so can you!”
I’m not ready to be put out to pasture either – In addition to running Justice, I’m also working with my 2 girls: Circe (who earned her 2nd ACDH in 2012) and my 4-month old, up and coming agility dog, known as “The Cutter.”
Justice, Circe, and Cutter