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Agility has been a life saver...

What a day it was! Sunday, 8 March 20009 and there was a small terrier x called Lucy in the Main Crufts arena at the NEC, running in the Eukanuba Knockout. There is a saying that 'good always comes out of bad' and. as you read on, in Lynn Voyce's case it is so very true.

I know for a fact that if my cancer had not returned in May last year - after 17 years of remission - that my Lucy would not have qualified for Crufts as I would have still been running her. You might think that I am being negative, but there is a thin line between being negative and realistic.

Lucy and I had a good relationship together in the agility ring other than me not being able to run fast enough. I've never been the athletic sort even when I was younger so, of course, there was no hope anything would change when, at the ripe old age of 57 years, I decided to get involved with this addictive sport of agility.

In 2004 I was lucky enough to get Lucy from Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. What a dog! Once Lucy knew what she was doing in the ring and her speed increased, there was so much frustration on both our parts.

Lucy lives for agiity so I knew that when I became ill and could not run her that she still had to take part in the sport, so I asked my good friend Sean Clinch to run her for me until I had got over the chemo etc. He was the one who qualified her for Crufts.

Agility takes over your life.
After six years, my husband and I would go to shows with the dogs nearly every week from April until October. I knew that I did not want this to stop just because I have cancer or the fact that I could not actually run my dogs.

This has been my first winter at home as I am now retired. What with me being ill as well, it has been the thought of seeing my Lucy at Crufts that has helped me get through this awful time after my long course of chemo and now other health problems as well. I was really hoping that I could run my little Kelpie X this year as I've been lucky so far and not had too many problems with my cancer. However, I've now been diagnosed with Emphysema (lung disease) so now can't even walk at normal speed, let alone run. So no more agility for me.

However, Hubby, Baz, Lucy and I are all looking forward to this new agility season. It's what is keep me going as the pleasure I get from seeing my dogs run, albeit with friends handling them and not me, gives me so much pleasure. To still be part of the social scene - the packing up and heading off at the weekend, seeing hubby enjoying doing ring party, waiting for the schedules, the training and all the other bits that make agility what it is - is a smashing feeling! I'm a great believer in that the mind has a very strong influence over the body. I'm sure that if I had not got agility, I would have gone downhill by now.

There has been a lot of negative talk about how the agility world is going, but I cannot stress enough the joy it has brought to me over this last year. Being out in the fresh air, seeing my dogs have a fun time and, last but not least, the help, support and kindness from all my agility friends is immeasurable. Thanks to you all and most of all, thank you to agility. It is what is keeping me going!

Author credit...
Lynn Voyce and hubby (of 43 years) Dave live in a small village in West Sussex, a few yards from the beach. Lynn has always had dogs in her life even as a small child.

She started her working life in the horse world, did a bit of all sorts in between and ended up these last 20 years working with adults with a learning disability.

Her 'top dog' Lucy is Grade 6 and her 'fun dog' Baz is in Grade 4. Both dogs really love the baeach especially chasing the kite surfers!