It was in 1988 when a friend named Jill Crawford introduced 11 year old Jason Loper to the sport of dog agility. Little did she know that he would be hooked for life! Jason likes to share his insights and stories with other Samoyed owners and people who do the sport of Dog Agility. He believes it's helpful for beginners to learn about other people's 'First Times' at an agility trial. With that he is going to tell you about his first show with his boy Quazar!
At first Windy (aka Silver Hollow's M & M's Windy) and I tried our hand in USDAA agility with Jill's guidance. We just gave her the money, and she entered the classes for us. Little did we know that she had entered us in every class! As the year continued, I started to build my own equipment at home, confiscating old tires for a tire jump and fence stakes for weave poles. Soon enough I had almost a full course I could set-up. I even had a dogwalk of some sort that went between two huge dirt hills.
As I watched other dog and handler teams run their course Quazar, Windy and I made ourselves quite at home, at least the best we could in the pouring down rain, sneaking in and out of the car for shelter. After all, I had been handling Windy for over a year, and Quazar always came along for the socialisation! So it was time for us to head for the practice area. I stretched him out, sat him in front of a jump and set the bar to 24 inches. Without a thought I took off his collar and leash, sent him over the jump and into the practice weaves. We practiced calmly for a few moments longer. Me and my boy were just having a good time working together. Out of the corner of my eye I could see someone was waiting to practice, so I quickly scurried to get Quazar's collar back on and move out of the woman's way. That woman is actually competing, I thought! And here I am playing with my pup and getting in her way. That's when it hit me. We WEREN'T just playing, we were OFFICIAL! Gulp!
Show and go
'The next dog is Quazar, and he is making his debut,' the gate steward seemed to scream for the entire world to hear. I was petrified as I asked Quazar to sit at the start line. Thankfully, with nerves of steel, he gladly obliged and looked up at me as if to say, 'You mean I get a chance to play?'
With ice cold hands I turned and walked out to begin our course. I took a deep breath, looked back at Q-man (he was still on a sit-stay) and signaled the first jump! And with all enthusiasm and sincerity that makes him so dear to me, my boy and I began to dance. The whole world stood still as we ran, smooth as silk, even more connected than before. I was so overwhelmed as he took the last two jumps out ahead of me, I wasn't sure I'd make it across the finish line. The roar of the crowd brought me back down to earth. Our debut was over. We had done it. No ribbon. No legs. Just a show and go. A moment in the spotlight that will shine in my heart for a very long time! Quazar and I standing in the pouring rain, soaking wet had just 'played.'
Quazar (Silver Hollow's Cosmic Quazar) is now nine years old and unofficially retired! He is my buddy and the reason behind my kennel name Cosmic Samoyeds! To this day he still loves to do agility. Sometimes he reminds me of that energizer bunny - he keep going and going and going! I know the trials get harder and harder, but remember it is important in this day and age of agility to just go in and play with a positive attitude! It'll make you a better partner and your Sammy a better companion! Well, that's it for now everyone until next time!
About the author...
This year Jason marks this as 11th year competing and participating in agility! Jason has won many firsts while in agility! He was the first actual junior handler to compete in NADAC when there were no Junior Handler Programs, so he had to compete with the adults! And he attended the first ever NADAC Sanctioned Trial and Pre-Sanctioning Trials!
Although Jason says NADAC is his favourite organization, he still competes in AKC and USDAA events too. One of his proudest moments in agility was when, after two years of trying, they finally got their Novice Gamblers Title with 71 points total. (You need 40 to qualify!)
Jason's future goals in agility would to become a NADAC or USDAA approved Judge for Junior Handling! He would also like to get the last acquired AX legs on his boy Quazar so he can go for his regular Agility License in AKC agility. When not doing agility, Jason is going to college to be a Sign Language Interpreter for the deaf.
If you go out and over the next jump,
Jason would like to 'talk' to anyone who has an agility Samoyed or has been a Junior competing in adult classes. To contact him, just email him on:- firstname.lastname@example.org