The best agility
dog is a rescue dog...
Over Easter Weekend, Adams Agility hosted the
2019 Dog Agility Rescue League
dogs came from across the country - from Carlisle to Wales to Berkshire and
everywhere in between - all for one thing. Their aim was to prove that
rescue dogs really do make the best agility dogs. Any clear rounds or even
winning their category would be a bonus.
Beth Rachlis reports with input from international agility judge Neil Ellis.
Dog Agility Rescue
League has been run now for over a decade. It is open to any dog not bought by
the handler from a breeder. If it's rescued from anywhere
else, it's classed as a rescue. This year was going to
be our year.
Izzie had qualified for the
Large for the League Finals for the third year in a row, and this year she was
in Large G4-5. You can read about her previously
However, this year it wasn't
our time to shine. Izzie cut her paw on Thursday at a pit stop
on the way down. Sometimes you have to make those tough decisions, and I pulled
her from the Final and all of her runs that weekend. When life lives you
So, what next? We have a
busy summer planned. I'm going to try my hardest to qualify for the Finals
again and if we are successful, no more pits tops on the way down! I'm also
hoping to represent the UK in Spain as part of the PAWC Team.
Not being able to
compete, however, meant that I got the opportunity to assist in the
behind the scenes, watch some fantastic runs, chat to people from across the
UK who came to compete and write this report. For me, what shone
throughout the day was the was the love that people had for their dogs. There
were the Border Collies, crossbreeds and then some more unusual dogs such as the Xoloitzuintli, a Chihuahua entering his first ever KC show and a Beagle. Everyone wanted to celebrate, and everyone had a story about the adversity made
them and their dog stronger.'
After the event, I spoke
to Nigel Perry who has
been the DARL organiser since 2018.
'I'm proud to run the
Rescue League and I really want to take it to the next level. I think we are doing so
when a world class judge like Neil Ellis wants to fit us in with their
busy judging commitments. I first Neil him at the IMCA/PAWC Championships, and knew as soon as
I saw his courses I wanted him to judge for us.
I think it is
that we have rescues in the League that are and have competed for our countries. It is an amazing achievement all round. My motto is that ‘The best agility dog
is a rescue dog.' I saw the comment on the reverse side of a handler's hoody whilst judging at a show a couple of months
ago, and it stuck with me. It resonates so much about what we do, what we stand
for- rescue dogs really are the best agility dogs.
I want to thank everyone
who has helped support the League and the Final. I couldn't do what I do without
the huge amount of support beside me. I have a great team.
Pizza was ordered for all.
Meet Some of the
When the Finals had
finished for the day, everyone was invited to a pizza party, and I talked to
some of the competitors about their rescue dogs and their runs.
Newcombe - Winner of G1-2 Small (Overall)
I met Indie when she was just four months old. She was the runt of an accidental
litter and had been dropped at a local rescue as unwanted because of her size. They
called her Shrimpy. I sat on the floor and played a little game of tug with her with an
old towel. She was so feisty for such a small dog that I knew I had to have her!
I started training in
agility after watching the Small Champ Finals at Crufts. At that point, I never knew how a big part of our lives it would become. I have met some of my
closest friends through training and competing - people whom I trust for their
advice, understanding and motivation. We are making so many incredible memories
as we go. I can't wait to see what we can achieve together.
Indie is now three years
old and is in Grade 5. This year we are travelling to the World Agility Open as
part of Team Wales
I didn't even question
the three hour journey to made the DARL Finals. Indie had worked super hard to be
there. As the raffle grew and I saw how much work Nigel was putting in, I felt
super proud to have been invited.
The best part of the
weekend was running the courses. I got so excited just walking Neil's courses,
and I knew we were going to have a blast running them. We are so lucky to have
been able to run them. When we run, I'm competing against myself, the course
and what we've trained. Our runs in the Final showed me both how far we have
come since entering the League and how far we have to go.
I would like to say a
huge thank you to Nigel and everyone who put together the Finals this year. Already it's the highlight of our 2019.
Wheelwright - 2nd place Medium G4-5 (Overall)
Tubby is a Spanish rescue. He was due to be put to sleep at just six months
old as no one wanted him. He was brought to the UK by a rescue charity, but once again no one wanted him. He had never been lead walked, had never played with a
toy and was often picked on by the other dogs.
Tubby is my first competing Agility
dog, and we made it all the way Grade 1 to Grade 7 in just two years.
He is super clever and a
very loving boy but he also can be very
nervous. He is at his happiest when he is with me whether when I am in bed,
going to agility or at the pub. Agility means that Tubby and I get to spend a
lot of time together, and he trusts me to protect him. If he gets scared, he runs
and jumps in my arms. So as long as he is happy, I am happy!
This was our third year of being invited
to the Finals, but I think it may be our last as he is now Grade 7 which is a lot
harder! And it took us over four hours to get there!
The best part of the weekend was finding out he had won the
Finals Agility class! It was a massive shock and I really wasn't expecting it. We just went for fun!
Turner - Ring Manager and 2nd in Large G6-7 (Overall)
I got Taff from Lily's Rescue when he was 13 weeks old. He was one of two
puppies left from a farm litter that the farmer was going to get rid of until
somebody stepped in and saved them. I fell in love with him as soon as I saw his
He started Foundation
Agility when he was 10 months old, and he took to it like a total natural. He now
competes in Grade 7/Champ where he has made it to a few Finals. His best
result to date was a 3rd in the Champ final at Rugby of which I'm very proud. He has
competed at Olympia and won the Crufts Novice Cup at three years old.
Taff is my best friend and
has changed my life. I can't wait for more exciting times ahead. This was his
fourth consecutive year competing in the DARL Finals. It's so much fun and I will
always aim to make the journey to compete in the Final if I can.
finals were so much fun. I massively enjoyed the challenging courses set by Neil
Ellis and the atmosphere around the ring was perfect! Very proud to be part of
such a great cause. I hope my young Many Tears Rescue will gain some points to
compete in the Final next year, too!
Report from Neil Ellis
I first met Nigel at the IMCA/PAWC World Championships last
year and was inspired by his desire to compete at the highest level despite the
challenges he faced. This motivation and dedication from Nigel was seen also
through his dedication to the DARL, and no way I did not want to support him
with this great competition after he had asked me.
The stage was set at Royle Farm (Burton upon Trent.) The
weather delivered. The competitors were raring to go and spectators present to
watch the competition with front row seats. I was tasked with designing Agility
and Jumping courses for all heights and grades, setting some fair challenges but
also making for a great spectacle for the Finals.
The finals was an accumulation of 12 months of hard work
and successful competing by so many who have done an amazing thing in rescuing a
dog. I was so very impressed with the standard of competition across all heights
and the skills showed in a pressured environment of the Finals. These Finals
showcase the best of the rescue dogs, and celebrate the progress that can - and
is - made with dogs that have often had a bad start to life. It also shows
off the talent of the owners who have done such a great job of training these
dogs and I feel so honoured to have been asked to judge such a competition.
Finally, no competition can happen without a great team in
the background. Nigel, you have orchestrated a fantastic team behind you to make
a great event, and I congratulate and thank you all for your hard work in making
it a success. I must also give a more personal thank you for the raffle that you
ran to support the newly formed charity,
Forever Running, that
raised a substantial amount of money.
Below is one of the courses
from the event, but please visit my
website for the rest of the course plans from the Finals and from all my
other judging appointments from 2017 onwards.
Dog Agility Rescue League
Finals 2019 Course & Results
Small, Medium & Large G4-5
Well done to all who attended. There were
some fantastic runs, and some, oh so close. Irrespective of the results, you
were all brilliant!
ascertained by combining the points from a Jumping round followed by an Agility
Overall Winners on the Day
Sarah Dalesman with Anethum Graveolens
Freda Campbell with Bohemian Flashfox
Alison Williamson with Chilli Peppa at
Helen Jones with Sweet Bonnie Bon Bon
Nigel Perry with Molly Moo of Warwick
Freda Campbell with Twizzling Thomas
Lesley Wells with Grade Jem of Scorney &
Jo Maisey with Bee Boppa Bella
Large LHO Grades 1-2
Karen Brooks with Tiger Tiger
Diana Whitmill with Rhodium Black
Helen Stevenson with Handsome
Large Grades 1-2
Eleanor McMahon with Spot the Birdie Twitcher Tor
Ally Weller with My Teddy Boy
Lydia Phillips with Hoosier Best Buddy
Sarah Hamblin with Karma Naglis
Large LHO Grade 3
Sarah Norman with
Mister Slinkee Malinkee
Mandy Davenport with
And Then There Were Three
Jenny Hastie with
Miss Elligance of Ainmhithe
Jan Thomas with Little
Miss Twinkle Paws
Ken Ricketts with
Large Grades 4-5 LHO
Large Grade 4-5
Abi Weake with Mr. Parker PawS
Carol Luckett with
No Added Sugar
Myra Tubb with
Large Grades 6-7 LHO
Fiona Keast with Mum's Bright Star
Keely Foster with Ally's Magic Super Socks
Sarah Weller with Mazy Moomina of Ainmhithe
Ann Button with A Little Bic Lucky
Michele Curtis with Without Rhyme or Reason
Myra Tubb with Morgansr Fly in Finn
Large Grades 6-7
Kinloch with Solving Sophie
- Abi Weake with
Miss Willow Eclipse
- Colin Veal with
No Tears for Many Ears Milo
- Nicole Turner with Lily's Gift for
Medium Grades 1-2
Karen Brooks with
Driving Miss Daisy Crazy
Jane Helsby with
Medium Grade 3
Michelle Drawwater with
Roz Greening with
Regi Sprocket Pocket Rocket
Medium Grades 4-5
Gill Duroe with
Dialynne Candy Girl
Lucy Wheelwright with
Rub A Dub Tub
- Kim Kraushar with
The Skye Fox
Medium Grade 6-7
Lesley Wells with
Merry Go Round of Valgrays
Caroline Green with
Run Run Rosie
Small Grades 1-2
Kathrine Newcombe with
Indie's Little Shadow
Gina Colton with
Dexy Midnight Running
Small Grade 3
Lesley Dexter with
Lolly Lola Lollipop
Nicky Deakin with
Dougie Dancer of Many Tears
Philippa Verstraete with
Ring a Belle of Valgrays
Small Grades 4-5
Gwen Holland with
Sue Roberts with
Brightstars Little Lion
Beryl Brander with
Sarah Howarth with
Bristle While You Work
Small Grades 6-7
Sophie Grove with
- Carole Stone with
In The Ringoing Mad
Dog Agility Rescue League is open to anyone who competes with a rescue dog. It
runs from the 22nd December to 21st December the next year. As long as the dog
and handler get a rosette at a show, even if its only for a clear round,
they can claim points towards the League. There are separate Leagues for grades
G1-2, G3, G4-5, G6-7, all heights. Our Veterans / Allsorts League is for older
dogs and those which are coming back from an injury.
In order to qualify for the
Finals, handlers must enter their points on-line after every show - irrespective
of it being a KC, UKA or an independent show. The handler and dog must be in the
top 50% of their respective height and grade to qualify for a invitation.
All of classed are sponsored,
so there are trophies and rosettes for all heights / grades. After the Finals
presentations are awarded to the winners of the league. It all makes for a
really great day out for all our 4-legged, second chance pals.
Anyone wanting to join in the
fun can find out more by joining the
Facebook group where there is a lot more information including a walk
through of how to log points onto the system, and more details about qualifying
for the Finals. Alternatively, visit the
DARL web site.
We are also starting our own
quarterly emailed newsletter with a lot of different things going on inside it.
In addition to the
Final, DARL and Nigel have also organised a raffle for Forever Agility, a new charity
set up by Neil Ellis and Ryan Hennessy, in memory of Ann Hennessey who recently
passed away. From the raffle alone, over £1,250 was raised for Forever Agility,
with an almost £200 added by Adams and their Pay on the Day Ring.
information about Forever Agility, visit their Facebook page at
About the author...
Beth Rachlis currently lives in Newcastle with her two rescue crossbreeds
and competes in agility.