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Hector's Own Story

What can be achieved with persistence...

Jean Hollick couldn't believe that, at the age of eight, her feisty little rescue terrier had won from Grade 1 to Grade 5 in a year. She had been training him for six years and always thought they would stay in Grade 1 forever. He is still as argumentative as ever and barks so much he doesn't listen half the time. Then occasionally he has flashes of brilliance and pulls out some great runs. He's a real character! Jean loves him to bits and wouldn't have him any other way.

Hello everybody.

My name is Hector and this is my story.

I donít know where I was born but I lived with my first mummy and two little humans for about a year. I used to get so excited they decided I had to go! I was very worried but a new mummy and daddy came and took me home with them in their car. I wasn't used to cars. It was very frightening and made me sick. After a year, I learnt that the car was actually okay as we always drove slowly especially around corners so that I wasn't sick.

We went to puppy classes, but I was still too excited and they kept putting me in the naughty corner. They didnít understand. They wanted me to learn how to sit but I knew that already. I sat on my mat and wagged my tail harder and harder, but they took no notice so I ran around barking and then I got told off.

My mummy said maybe agility would be better. We were both complete beginners but we loved it. It was so much fun running over all the equipment. They said something about contacts. That meant you got a treat if you stopped. I soon found out that other dogs were also getting treats. If I was quick and leapt off the top of the dog walk, I could pinch their treat before they even realised!

Fast forward three years!
I just loved agility but everybody said I am a very difficult dog. How rude! I canít help getting excited and I canít get the hang of these contacts. I am a very fast runner so why would I want to stop. Leaping off is so much more fun. If Iím going really, really fast I can even pretend the seesaw is a ski jump!

A lady called a trainer said we should enter a competition. We were both very scared but we decided to have a go. Well, that is even more exciting than training. There are so many dogs and people and such exciting smells. I especially love horse poo. Sometimes it was so delicious I just had to have a quick sniff before I carried on, even if it meant jumping the wrong way over a jump. My mummy told me not to worry. She said it doesnít matter if we stay at Grade 1 forever - at least we are having fun.

We kept on entering competitions. Apparently mummy had got the bug! From what I hear it appears I am an all or nothing dog. Most times I am eliminated but sometimes I go really fast and listen carefully and then I win. Mummy says we must persist. I think that means I must try harder!

Then last year I had some great runs although I was often still making mistakes. Mummy was absolutely amazed and delighted that I went up from Grade 1 to Grade 5 a week before my eighth birthday. I got lots of hugs and kisses and extra treats.

Iíd better tell you about my behavior at a show
Iím usually calm in the queue but, if another dog gets too close, I snap at it.

Once in the ring, though, I am very bad. I get soooo excited. I just canít stop barking. I am meant to sit but somehow my bottom just won't stay on the floor. I even start off sometimes before my mummy tells me to. I run very fast but she is not as fast as me so I have to swizzle round to see where she is. Then I bark even more and jump up. I just want her to get a move on. If I keep on barking, I forget to listen and then I go wrong. At the end, mummy tells me I was rubbish. I think that means I was extra good because she says it in such a kind voice. I wag my tail even harder and I get more treats.

One thing I am very good at is weaves. It took me ages to learn and I hardly ever miss them now but used to be called a decimal dog because I always came out at number ten! I am pleased that I am, at least, good at something.

Anyway I just wanted to say that you too can be like me. Iím still rubbish a lot of the time. Iím still very naughty most of the time but, just sometimes, Iím brilliant although I say so myself. My mummy says I will never change but she loves me for what I am!

About the author
Jean Hollick was brought up with dogs. When she left hone and got married, she quickly acquired a scruffy rescue terrier called Cindy who was the first of an eclectic mix of rehomed and rescued mutts, mostly Collie Xs.

She was looking for another Collie X when she came across Hector and fell in love with him!

Jean is now retired and lives in Norfolk with her husband, Hector and Gap, a little Collie X stray from Ireland.

First published 6th March 2018