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Nieve

A flower blooms better when planted in good soil

For those that do not know them, Kelly and Jan Lockwood say they are the Laurel & Hardy of agility. Kelly (26) is the tall, thin one and Jan (53) is the shorter fat one. Jan believes that Agility can be lifeline for those dogs who, through no fault of their own, have had a poor start in life, bringing out the best in them. She believes  that the Supadog Agility Rescue League (aka DARL) is a fantastic opportunity to highlight those dogs, giving handlers courage and strength. She welcomes the opportunity to talk about her dogs and to promote the League.

You can recognise us by our dogs. Kelly's dog Chase is the small Kelpie who is always being told you are in the wrong queue because she is just 0.5cm outside of Medium, while Nieve is the stumpy legged tri-colour. Now we have a Jack Russell X who is extremely gobby and Kelly has Kelpie who also quite loud, so just listen out for us.

On my soap box
I've had rescues all my life and am appalled at the way people can treat a living creature. I normally take on the ones who don't have a good outlook either through illness or attitude, but who can blame a dog with the hump if they have been treated badly. I have always found that with a little hard work and understanding goes far and I have never had to give up on a rescue.

I think that the Darleague is a great way of highlighting these dogs and the people who take the time to find them new homes - the one's others may have given up on and shows just what can be done. Just remember this when ever you are looking for a dog. Consider a rescue.

I could go on forever about how I feel as most people who know me will agree I am a very outspoken person. If it's in my head, it comes out my mouth. I would love to work with dogs full time and slap silly the people who ill treat them. I will stop the waffle now.

My little rescue
Now the tears of joy have subsided, I can tell you a little bit about our dog Nieve who won the DARL final at RVA in June 2009. Not only that but she progressed to Grade 6 and qualified for the Burgess Supadog final that same weekend. (Unfortunately we could not attend as we had a ill dog that weekend.)

Nieve came to us in April 2006 from an Enfield dog rescue, aged about five months old. She was a rescue dog from Ireland who came across with a brother and sister. We do not know anything about her breeding, nor where she came from. We just know the pups were dumped and passed from rescue centre to rescue centre. Then they were sent across the water to a foster home in Enfield and then to us. No wonder she was scared of her own shadow. Even now when Nieve is going to the rings for a run she has her own little tennis ball, which she holds all the time, like a comfort blanket.

We started competing in June 2007 at Thames and she won her first ever class to go into Grade 2. From there, she went from strength to strength. She won the Agility Club Starters Challenge and qualified for the Darl Rescue League final for the last two years. She gained enough points for her Agility Warrant (Gold) in 15 months, qualified for the Burgess Supadog Final in October 2009. Also for the last two years has qualified for the Barking Mad Winter series final, winning it in 2007/2008 series.

Kelly and NieveI competed with Nieve until September 2008, but had to step aside due to severe shoulder and upper spine injuries, for which I am still having treatment. It means the world to me that my daughter Kelly has taken over running her. And I am so proud of the timid little girl with stumpy legs. I cannot believe that it has only been such a short time that she has achieved so much, especially as she has been my first true agility dog and I never new what agility was until 2003. 

Thank you
I cannot thank Karen Fuller enough for all the hard work she does organising and promoting the Rescue dogs, and showing what a little bit of love and understanding can do for these dogs. 

About the author...
Jan Lockwood
(the one in the black t-shirt) started agility in 2003 with a Dalmatian called Murphy who really was a complete clown and always escaping from the caravan to have a run around. Murphy had to retire in 2005 with a condition called Generic Disc Disorder. 

Beau arrived in August 2004, a rescue who had severe malnutrition when we got him and nearly died in the first week we got him home, but with some hard work he came round and started Agility in 2005/2006. Due to the lack of nutrition he was diagnosed with a spine deformity in 2007 and yet again we had another retiree.

She and Kelly live in Suffolk and train with Suffolk Five Rivers Agility Club.

Jan is a grandmother with one grandson and three Kelpies.

First published 22 November 2009