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Going Platinum

Glen makes history as the first dog to get his AW/P

The Kennel Club introduced the new Platinum and Diamond Agility Warrants in order to provide handlers with additional goals to aim for once they have achieved the well-established Gold Agility Warrant. Platinum requires 1,200 points, 400 of which must have been achieved from that calendar year. Shetland Sheepdog, Ag.Ch. Japaro Cool Jazz at Craygill (aka Glen), has become the first dog of any breed to be awarded the AW/P. His owner Jean Tuck says he's a brilliant little dog who really understands agility and always tries very hard to do the course correctly. Sadly this fairy tale has no happy ending. Jean had to say good bye to this brave little chap lost his battle against cancer.

Glen gained the last of the points required for his Platinum Agility Warrant in May, and the certificate arrived in June. So I was particularly surprised, upon returning home from a few days spent with our grandson in early July, to find a message from the KC asking for information for a press release. Apparently, despite having missed quite a few shows due to ill health, my tiny Sheltie, Ag.Ch. Japaro Cool Jazz at Craygill AW/P, was the first dog to be awarded this new warrant. Wonderful that a Sheltie was getting recognition, and particularly pleasing that my brilliant little agility partner was receiving such special attention.

Like many others, I was disappointed when the Platinum warrant was announced to find that the ALC recommendation that existing points could be used had been overturned. Points above the Gold warrant had to start from 1st January 2016. However, as a bonus there was also a new Diamond warrant, too. I’d hoped to claim for both my Shelties for both new warrants using their existing points as I keep a record of all places, but now they had to start from Gold level which Glen gained in 2011.

My older lad retired to Veteran height just after Crufts, leaving only Glen to chase the new awards. I did find that having such a definite target was a plus when choosing and attending shows though, as it challenged me to keep my handling skills up to scratch when we’d got to the point where our main agility aims had already been achieved. The scheme is a good one as every clear round gives points, and top-10 places give additional points, doubled for agility. As Glen is particularly good at the Agility classes, and is frequently in the places, his score mounted up quickly!

Sadly, Glen has since been diagnosed with an inoperable tumour. He is only seven years old. This makes the excitement of the press release, and the congratulations of agility folks and the Sheltie world, particularly sweet. As he is still fit and doesn’t yet know he is ill, he is able to continue doing the things he loves, and Agility is at the front of those.

The much maligned LHO is brilliant for him. In order to keep up with Glen, I had to lose over a stone in weight, so he has certainly helped me to keep fit. 

Glen also has other skills, gaining his top level (6) Rally title earlier this year, and enjoying competitive obedience. He competed at Crufts this year, for the fourth time. It would be nice if his health would last for him to complete the Diamond warrant but, of course, I won’t be pushing him so we’ll just have to see.

There are other things he really enjoys too, such as our walks in the Peak District, being with our grandsons, and obedience training in the garden, particularly the dumbbell retrieve. Times like these serve to remind us, as if we could really forget, how incredibly precious is our time with our special companions, and how short that can often be.

So, what particularly special memories do I have? 
Obviously the win that made him the 8th Sheltie Agility Champion was one such. Also competing at Crufts with him was a huge pleasure and I have very many photos and videos of this which I will treasure forever.  Then the more simple things – Glen bustling ahead on our moorland walks, racing with companion Scott along a beach,  filling the house with his personality, skipping along beside me as we headed for the ring for an agility run, his little face looking chirpily up at me as he tried to get into the correct obedience position and earn his sausage, sitting on the stairs waiting for the post, taking over the largest dog basket and the comfiest bed, asking to play when it was really bed-time, his great intelligence and zest for life and his verbal comments on almost everything.  So many wonderful memories. A dog in a thousand million.

I hope this achievement will encourage new people to become interested in agility and I also hope those already involved will be inspired by our achievement and will work towards the Platinum Agility Warrant too and possibly even go on to the Diamond award. That’s the great thing about agility – there’s always some new challenge to spur you on.

With no other competition dog, and a pup booked who is only one week old, I shall shortly be saying goodbye to the agility world, at least for the foreseeable future. So good luck to everyone in whatever agility targets you have set yourselves, and perhaps try for an agility warrant or two!

About the author...
Jean Tuck
started agility training in 1997 with Louis, her Sheltie of that time, to give him confidence.  A Smooth Collie, Ross, followed, who combined breed with agility, both with success.  From late 2002 agility became Jean’s main canine activity and both dogs reached Grade 5.  Scott joined in and reached Grade 7, making Glen her fourth agility dog.  

Jean has five grandsons, two of whom live in Norway.

First published 19 July 2016