My wife had been teaching and competing in agility for many years before I decided to give it a try. We were fostering dogs for Rocky Mountain Border Collie Rescue (now defunct) and at some point we got Skye. He took an immediate liking to me, and would climb up in my lap while I was watching TV and lay upside down looking at me. Pretty hard to resist his tactics. We heard from the rescue org. that he was found abandoned, tied to a tree in a park. I guess someone thought that would be a way to get him a new home. We guessed his age to be around 1.5 yrs old, a real common age for border collies to find their way to rescues.
|One of the first pictures of Skye after he arrived as a foster.|
Here is the earliest video I have - from our second trial in July 2007. It was a NADAC show - that is where we started, but didn't do too much of that venue after we reached the Elite level. It's hard to watch the video as I clearly didnt know what I was doing - but isnt that the case with our first agility partners?
Skye turned out to be just the right dog for me to start doing agility with. He was medium fast and really listened well.
Over time we competed in AKC and USDAA agility. Because of USDAA's jump height measurement cutoff, he ran in the Performance program his whole career so that he could jump 22" instead of 26". That was closer to the 20" height he had to jump in AKC.
Eventually we earned MACH2 in AKC and Performance ADCH Bronze in USDAA, and his Lifetime Achievement in USDAA.
His big accomplishment was getting to run in AKC Nationals Finals in 2013, finishing 18th out of over 400 dogs entered.
In the summer of 2014 Skye hurt himself chasing a rabbit. His back was really sore and he had a hard time getting around. I thought at that time that I probably would not get to do agility with him any longer. Fortunately he did heal with no ill effects. I thought a fitting retirement for him might be to enter the Veterans Showcase at USDAA Cynosport in Morgan Hill, CA in October 2014.
He did really well. We ran just 5 runs over 4 days, starting with a warmup run called Power and Speed, where you have a set time to complete the contacts and weaves, followed by the timed portion of the run which is jumps and tunnels. Skye got 1st place in his veterans group in this run.
The Veterans Showcase is like playing DAM team, but with only 1 dog on the team. Your 4 runs, Standard, Jumpers, Snooker and Gamblers are scored just like team, and the top 3 dogs in each height get to participate in a 'showcase' event before the Grand Prix finals.
Skye got two more 1st place scores - in Standard and in Gamblers. He did not do so well in Snooker as he popped out of his weaves and took out a jump in the opening, so no points for those, and then he knocked the #3 jump in the closing. Jumpers is what did us in though - after the weaves we had a threadle sequence that I mishandled. I was not in the proper position, and I caused Skye to take the wrong side of a jump, giving us an "E" and zero score for Jumpers. That kept us out of the running for top 3.
Still, I couldnt be happier with how he ran. He had a lot of fun, barking his fool head off before his runs, and was super eager to run from the start. I am so glad I got the opportunity to run him this last time in competition.
Here are his runs from Cynosport
Skye-boy will now get to spend his time sleeping next to me at my desk, and playing frisbee and ball in the front yard, along with the daily rabbit chasing that I cant get him to stop doing!