Or "the whole reason this business even started"
I'm not tooting my dog's horns here, I just think that since it's because of them we have this cool little business, they deserve a page unto themselves. I grew up with border collies as it's the only breed my dad would allow in the house. I admire the breed's intelligence, drive and intensity. And I think they're beautiful. Corny, I know.
Britt: I started in agility in 2002 with Britt, who was a year and a half old. Within a session or two (I try to block it out), we got kicked out of agility and were told to do some obedience work to help Britt with his little problem of trying to eat the other dogs. We worked our butts off for a few months, got more control and went back to agility. A year later, at our first AKC trial, he won both of his runs. I was hooked. After a few years in AKC, we started trialing in USDAA. In the spring of 2010, Britt had to have both elbows operated on. He's back to trialing, but gone are his days of jumping at 20-22". He's happiest at 12", so we play in CPE now. And I'm just happy he's back to play with me. :)
UPDATE 7/18/14: Britt's retirement run was in June 12013 at CPE Nationals where he won Reserve High in Trial Specialist 12". He had a vestibular episode in October 2013. After a very rough few weeks, he is now much better and occasionally sports a cute head tilt. He now happily patrols our property and cheers Ellie on during agility class (loudly, I may add)
UPDATE 3/16/17: Over the past few years, Britt slowly lost most of the use of his back legs, but is still VERY involved in everything. He still enjoys swimming, coaching Kai's entire agility class and supervising Ellie and Kai's herding lessons. If you see me at a trial, chances are that Britt is with me, hanging out in his 'Britt Buggy" so that he can people watch. At 16.5, he doesn't look his age or act like it! He's content as long as he's involved - and will loudly let me know if he's displeased! Feel free to greet him...in his mind, everyone is there to see HIM!
Sarge: When Britt and his littermate, Sarge were 5, I started formal training with Sarge and began competing with him less than a year later. Why so late you ask? Many reasons, one being a shoulder surgery he had at a year old. But his drive for (and the ok from the orthopedic surgeon) it led me to try training and trialing him. Now he's neck-in-neck with Britt in titles (poor Britt had the unfortunate luck of being my first agility dog). At 10 years old, he's still jumping 22" and LOVES agility...well, at least when there are no weaves involved. He is often mistaken for an Aussie-with-a-tail because of his big, fat head (perfect for kissies) and his enormous paws. As of Spring 2011, Sarge is retired from agility due to spondylosis. He may not be very happy being side-lined, but quickly forgets about it when there are other fun things to do like swimming and hiking!
UPDATE 7/18/14: A tough one to update...we said goodbye to Sarge on April 19, 2013. Very unexpected and quick. He hid his pain from me - always overjoyed to see me and insistent on following me everywhere. But he showed others his pain when I wasn't present. A tough, but very sweet dude, I miss him every day. I'm thankful that Sarge kind of made the decision that it was time to go for me, he just neede a little help from me. I also know that my tough, sweet dude sent a very special little one our way...see our new addition below, Kai.
Ellie: First of all, after growing up with female BC's, then having my two boys, I vowed I would never own a female border collie again...they can be freaky and well, just downright *ahem* bitchy. Yeah, well, never say never.
We took Ellie in as a foster (I had to convince Paul that she really was only going to be a foster). She was just under 6 months and hadn't seen alot in life, so her social skills were a bit lacking. She had alot of bad habits, one being showing her teeth. I did not want this puppy. I had problems with Britt in the past, but his aggression was directed toward other beings, not me. But, sucker that I am, I grew to love her and am so proud of every progression that she made. It never worked out with finding her a home (I really did try!) and I couldn't be happier that I suck as a foster mom! Besides, who could resist those ears?
Ellie is in training for agility…she has the ability, but we have things to work through. She'll always be at the trials, ready to meet new people!
UPDATE Fall 2010: Ellie began trialing in the spring... it wasn't always pretty and involved teeth-showing and a peeing-on-mommy incident, but with every trial, she gets more comfortable and faster. She's come a loooonnnggg way and there were alot of tears when I first took her in, which makes every Q with my girlie so much sweeter!
UPDATE 3/16/17: Ellie has REALLY come a long, long way! She is now the steadiest, most reliable dog I've ever run. She competed in the 2012, 2014 and 2015 CPE Nationals and ran CynoSport in 2015. In September 2016, she earned her MAD (Master Agility Dog) title in USDAA.
At trials, she has become quite social - greeting people she doesn't know in a soft, shy way, just because they made eye contact with her. At home, she adores my stepson and happily sleeps in his room when he is with us :) She has become my temperament test dog for Glen Highland and she engages other dogs in play, as long as they understand 'her' rules (she prefers male border collies that submit to her ;) ).
We love our sweet Stinkerbelle!
Kai: 7/18/14 - I made the same mistake about puppies that I made about female dogs...I said that our next dog would NOT be a puppy. So much for that..on May 15, 2014 I picked up an 11.5 week old puppy from a neighboring town. He was to stay with us for 2 nights, then go to rescue (Glen Highland Farm, a Border Collie rescue that Sarge was a temperament test dog for).
When I arrived to pick up the puppy, 'Freddy' met me like he had been waiting for me to arrive for weeks...and I knew it was all over. Of course, I kept denying that this puppy was staying - it took my wonderful husband a whole 15 minutes after meeting Freddy to say, "Eh, let's keep him". Freddy quickly became Kai (a name I picked for my next dog 12 years ago) and has been wonderful! Sweet, (somewhat) calm, confident and chill, he reminds me a lot of Sarge as a puppy.
It isn't lost on me that I picked him up 4 days before the 1 month anniversary of Sarge's passing or that he was born exactly 2 months before Sarge passed. Essentially, at 8 weeks, Kai was 'ready' on the same day we lost Sarge. I don't believe in coincidences...this little guy was simply Meant To Be.
UPDATE 3/16/17: Last year, Kai passed his certification with KPets and is a therapy dog. Now that I am working from home, we have the time to visit a local elementary school once a week for the first graders to read to him. To my surprise (and most adults), Kai lays in his spot in the hallway and will go to sleep as the kids read, never minding classes of kids walking past Ooo-ing an Ahhh-ing or the ball being bounced in the class across the hall. The kids love him and he really enjoys his relaxing reading time! Sarge would have been a wonderful therapy dog, so I'm grateful for the time I have now to pursue this work with Kai.
Kai has been in classes for agility since he was a puppy. His first UKI and USDAA trials were in February 2016. Personally, 2016 was a rough year, so we didn't trial as much as I expected to, but he is in USDAA Advanced now. He is so much fun to run!
Sarge on the line
Barry Rosen Photography
What?? Did you say 'ball'?