& Breed Championship
Under FCI rules, only pedigree
dogs are able to compete in agility so in the year 2000, Petra Fuchs founded the
International Mixed Breed Championships (IMCA) which was solely for crossbreed dogs.
The first show was held in Italy as a standalone championship. The following
year the show was held in the Czech Republic and, at this show, it was decided to
also allow pedigree dogs to take part. Then in 2002, in Hungary, the ParAgility
was introduced and joined forces with the IMCA to enable international dogs and
handlers – both able bodied and those with disabilities - to take part in an
Mandy and Darren at IMCA 2017
A Photizo Story
was the second year Mandy Melville-Love with Keeva and Darren Stokes with Kruze
had been chosen to represent their country as part of Team UK at the IMCA – PAWC
World Championships. The venue was Tattendorf, a beautiful village in Austria,
not far from Vienna. The temperature ranged from 34 – 36 degrees outside, but
the competition was inside where it was even hotter - with no fans or air
conditioning! Thankfully there was a river at the venue, so humans and dogs went
for regular paddles.
Once again, the IMCA
competition was very intense and hard fought with lots of challenging
courses. Everyone had to push as hard as they could to be in with any chance of
a podium place.
The first day was
Individual Jumping where unfortunately Darren picked up an elimination and Keeva
picked up 5 faults at the weaves. That night should have been the Nations Cup
which Keeva was participating in but, due to the intense heat, unfortunately it
was cancelled no doubt a sensible choice given how hot it was. Being a knock-out
event, it would have been too much for dogs and handlers to cope with.
The second day was Team
day, an event in which Darren and Kruze were entered. Darren ran first in Team
Jumping, picking up 5 faults for a refusal. The rest of the team also picked up
faults. In the afternoon, Darren ran first again and got marked a 5 for a missed
contact on the A-frame, with the rest of the team sadly also collecting faults.
Nevertheless, the team finished 5th overall.
3, the final day, was Individual Agility. Keeva was lying 27th after
Day 1 so they had nothing to lose but to just go for it. It was a testing
course with an incredible weave entry off the dog walk (pic below).
Mandy and Keeva ran
clear but had a couple of wide turns which cost them and they ended up 10th
in this round, meaning overall they came 15th. Darren and Kruze
picked up a fault, finishing 20th in this round and 36th
With a little help from Photizo...
Since acquiring their first
Photizo at Crufts, Mandy and Darren have witnessed its capacity as a powerful
non-invasive device to deliver 'red light' therapy that heals injuries
sustained. In fact, they liked it so much that they are now Ambassadors and
resellers for Photizo and decided to take it to IMCA/PAWC for their dogs and any
members of the team who might need it.
Prior to the event,
Keeva had had to have a dew claw removed so Mandy used the Photizo each night to
assist the healing of both the dew claw area and also the leg where Keeva had
been shaved which was causing her some irritation.
Mandy said, 'We were
glad to have our portable Photizo Light Therapy with us for the competition
as Keeva and Kruze were running on astro turf which had quite a large loop
pile, so the dogs were getting their claws caught. Also with the turns they
were having to make, it meant lots of strain was put on their bodies. Having
the Photizo with us meant that they had the confidence that if any of the
dogs (or handlers) picked up an injury, we could instantly get a treatment
on the area, reducing the risk of any long term damage.'
night after competition, Keeva and Kruze both received a treatment to their
paws, shoulders, hocks, groin and back areas. The Photizo was also used by a
couple of team members who were had gone to the event with an injury, so they
topped up their medication with some light therapy. Mandy also had a strained
finger after team training which she used the Photizo on to help reduce the
About IMCA - PAWC
The IMCA – PAWC event wasn’t that well known in the UK until Linda Croxford
took over as Team Leader in 2016 and advertised for team members to apply to be
on the team. It is now gaining more and more interest each year, with try outs
taking place to gain a place on the team.
– PAWC is a totally different event to any other international event, as it’s
not just about able-bodied handlers. It also demonstrates how disability does
not have to prevent you from enjoying the sport with your beloved companion.
The PAWC has 6 groups ranging from handlers who do not physically show any sign
of disability but they have a medical condition, to those on four wheels and
those who have to be carried by their guardian, but the guardian isn’t allowed
to help the dog, it is all done by the handler – a truly emotional and
inspirational event to watch, where you can hear a pin drop, followed by the
intense applause and cheers at the end of the round is something to behold.
The event is run under
FCI rules. IMCA can take small, medium and large dogs with 6 in each height
category and PAWC has no limit to the amount of handlers the team can take, but
they do need to be approved by the PAWC committee.
In August 2018 the event
will be held in the UK in Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) where, once again, it is
expected to draw in around 18 different countries all competing to take home a
medal and that World Champion title.
If you would like to be
part of this event, please make contact with Linda Croxford who will be more
than happy to tell you more about the event.