I've had the honor of sharing my household with many sweet and devoted dogs. They have all overcome their own personal challenges to become competitors or demo dogs for training classes. They give their all and always have lessons to share.
Daystar Foxglenn's Autumn Sass, CGC
Sassy-- Show Champion. Obedience Queen. Pure Energy.
She was the one that started it all. I started junior handling with her when I was 11, continued into obedience and rally, and then started in agility and freestyle when she was 11! She traveled with me everywhere and refused to be seen as a little lap ornament. (She detested laps and being held. So condescending.) Her heart was huge and her zest for life was unbeatable. From hiking, camping, swimming, chasing deer or seagulls, or running along side my horse on trail rides, she lived life to the fullest and challenged anyone to say she couldn't do something. She never failed to make me laugh or wonder at the depth of canine intelligence. She inspired and supported me for 15 years. She is the reason for SassyT.
Grizzly Mountain's Terremoto, CGC, NFD, SFD, PFd, MF-X, Mf-m, mf-ch, INS-E, R-FE/N, NW1, L1E, Ins-N, R-FE/X, MF/Grch
Terra, "T" -- Freestyle Addict. Clicker Genius.
I met Terra's father when he was 10 weeks old in my puppy class over 8 years ago. Sassy was still careening through what was supposed to be her retirement, but I knew it wouldn't be long before I needed another performance dog. Four years later, when Terra came home and started clicker training at 8 weeks, I knew I had a special dog. "T" was a little shy and sensitive, but so wicked smart. By 8 months of age, she had a 60-word vocabulary and counting. Sassy's passing really hit us both hard, and I don't think either of us will ever completely recover. But when it's training time, she is my 120-pound Ferrari-of-a-dog. She revels in learning new complicated tricks, has amazing verbal cue fluency, and is an incredible problem-solver and teammate. We currently train in Rally-FrEe, Musical Freestyle, and Canine Nose Work. She is the first dog in Musical Dog Sport Association history to earn her Premier title, requiring 8 different high-scoring musical freestyle routines. She is the first dog in RFE history to earn a Musical Freestyle Grand Champion Freestyle Dog title. We are always play-training and currently working toward an Advanced RallyFrEe title, a MF Grand Champion Encore title, and a Nose Work 2 title with NASCW.
CH Mystic Morning Shadow White, CGC, CGCA, NFd, MF-E, R-Fe/N, MF-N, MF-X, MF-M
Ringo -- Demo Dog. Public Event Rockstar.
Ringo joined my household as a 5-year-old retired show dog. He and Terra instantly bonded, and we got to work teaching him the most basic of basics. He had some mild separation distress that needed to be managed and treated, potty training to solidify, as well as starting from scratch with all his general obedience (serious bike/squirrel chaser with no impulse control). He had a rock-solid temperament and he could stack beautifully for a judge, but that was about it! Now, he is my coworker at Port Chester Obedience Training Club, where he demos any and all skills, helps shy dogs come out of their shells, and entertains with his great sense of humor. He also regularly demos freestyle at many public events in NYC, Westchester, and Greenwich. We are focusing on earning his Intermediate Rally FrEe and a Champion Freestyle Title through RFE.
Mel -- Half Lab. Half Beagle. All Heart.
Yes, she did have the ear-piercing, heart-stopping Beagle bay. She also had the ball obsessiveness of a lab but the talented nose of a Beagle, which meant that she could find an ancient, lost tennis ball anywhere in town. Mel was my eager work companion for many years, demoing in all of my classes. She guided puppies with endless patience and fairness, held her sit-stay for hours of lectures, and would eagerly learn new tricks for a click, and a tossed ball or frisbee. Her adorable visage was constantly mistaken for a puppy, even at 9-years-old. She was so endearing, wagging her tail softly and looking at you with big brown eyes. Just one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs who was worth her weight in gold. She is so missed.
Soulful. Sweet. Gentle Giant.
A 100-pound, all-American mix: maybe Akita, Husky, German Shepherd? We never really knew. What we did know was that he was sweet, goofy, cuddly, and oh-so-sensitive. He came to me afraid of children, uncrate trained, and with awful separation anxiety. I worked to help build his confidence and slowly reconditioned and desensitized him to crates and departures. He was even able to over come his fears as he enjoyed demoing in classes with me once a week; trick class was his favorite! He taught me that if you keep sessions light, short, and very low pressure, even the seemingly least-motivated dogs could learn complicated behaviors.