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Ordinary People / Extraordinary Stories

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Agility and My New Bionic Knee
It was a year ago, in February 2022, that Lesley Pearson Simmonds had a complete knee replacement. She concedes that it probably should have been done it before, but she didn't want to miss out on any of her agility competitions. But would she do it again? (09/08/23)
Philippa Armstrong - Agility in a Para-llel Universe
Just seven  months after becoming only the second handler in the UK to have used a wheelchair when competing in agility, Philippa Armstrong exceeded expectation and won her first competition. A long time advocate of equal opportunities, Philippa is now practicing what she preached. Here's what she's learned so far.  (18/11/04)
Robyn Bell
Eight year old Robyn Bell is following in her mum's footsteps. Her mother Katie (nee  Mitchell) Bell represented the UK in 2005 when she and a certain other young handler, Anthony Clarke, were the first Juniors to go abroad to compete. Proud mum, Katie think thinks that her daughter might be the youngest person ever to do a clear round at a KC show, aged four years old. Robyn's gone from strength to strength and is now competing in G7. She is determined to get to Crufts before her mum who was age 10 when she went for the first time. But this is Robyn's story in her own words.
Big Husky Trek 2006
Well known agility vet chills out on a five day dog sledding expedition for charity.
Chris Bradley: A Wet Wet Wet Introduction to Agility
When Chris Bradley started agility training two years ago, she simply wanted to do it for fun. Being completely non-competitive and with a life-long horror of performing anything solo in front of others, she had no ambition to compete.

Alan & Jayne Bray: The 'First' Couple of British Agility
An up close and personal interview with Alan and Jayne. By Lisa Gantly. (07/02/02)

Mr & Mrs Bray Renew Their Vows
August 2011 marked Alan and Jayne Bray's 10th wedding anniversary. Jayne had bravely fought off the dreaded lung cancer once again, and they decided that they wanted to renewed their wedding vows surrounded by their many friends and family. This is an article about their big celebration, a day they honestly thought they would never see together!

Jane Cameron - Retiring Again
The Agility seed was probably sown for Jane Cameron when she saw her first agility demonstration at a local agricultural show many years ago. At the time, however, the pressure of work left her little time over for anything apart from walking her dogs. She had kept Collies for many years, so it was not surprising that at the age of 60, she discovered Agility and found a whole new way of life although, at that time, she had no idea of how it would take over her life.
Mick Chambers: How I Got to Vyne
As a child Mick Chambers always had dogs around the house, and he would have loved to have one or two of his own. When he married Lorraine, they were both in full-time employment so they felt it would be unfair to have a dog. They agreed to wait until the time was right. That time was 20 years later! (02/06/00)

Don Cooper: Profile
The first in a series of articles about our top handlers by Theresa Lawrence of Agility Needs, starting with Don Cooper. (14/03/01)

Laura Chudleigh
Laura Chudleigh and her dog Rodney (Flickcee Hot Rod) finished 2010 on a high, winning the Kennel Club Agility Stakes at Olympia, in association with Joint Aid for Dogs. 2011 though has so far seen mixed fortunes for Laura and her Border Collie. In their bid to qualify for Olympia again this year, during a training session in June, Rodney had an accident which meant that they did not qualify for Olympia in 2011

Nigel P. Davis - Man with a Mic
Nigel Davis is a familiar face around the agility rings and at Crufts. He's always loved stepping onto the world famous green carpet at Crufts mic in hand. Many a time he has been asked how he got to become a commentator so he has updated and shared this article which he wrote K9 News (April) in 2019.

Deaf Handlers in Agility
Mary Elizabeth Simpson never learned to use sign language and was mainstreamed all her life. She learned to take the ups and downs of being a deaf child in a hearing world. Everyone's love in the family was no match, however, for the love that her dogs gave to her. (25/09/00)

Clive Foden - A Life in Agility
Clive first came across dog agility in 1989 when he and his wife Dorothy were at a ‘fun' obedience show in Manchester. They saw a pay on the day ring filled with agility equipment and happy, tail wagging dogs, racing around. It looked such fun that Clive and Dorothy decided to have a go. Using the words from home such as upstairs and downstairs, they managed to steer their dogs around the course. This was so much more enjoyable than Obedience that they set about finding a club. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lee Gibson
Lee Gibson runs Lee Gibson Training (LGT) based in the picturesque South Shropshire hills. He started agility at the age of 12 and now trains full time. Lately he's been to clubs all over Europe to both train and judge which is why you probably haven't seen much of him at shows! Gina Graham reports. (07/09/09)

Barbara Handelmann; Agility on Wheels
Barbara Handelmann may be newbie to agility but not to dogs. She has two different conditions, each causing chronic pain - diabetic neuropathy in her feet and fibromyalgia. She can walk, but pays a heavy price with pain, so she has been using assistive technology for about five years. She says, 'I've had to swallow a lot of pride to use the wheelchair, but the choices are that or have my life progressively more and more constricted!' (21/8/99)

Meet Michelle Johnstone
Michelle Johnston has been a sculptress for well over 20 years. Dogs are her other love. No wonder she thinks there is nothing nicer than watching dog agility and then capturing that enthusiasm in porcelain in her pottery pets.

Magic Moments
Agility handlers share their personal triumphs and disasters - hopefully not to many of those - with people with you. Kicking off with:-
  • My Rescue Champion - Carol Hughes
  • Cassie The Battersea Lassie - Glenda Cutler
  • Winning Out of Starters - Jenny Lovegrove
  • Mencap Charity Run - Nick Jones  (13/04/02)

Lesley Olden: The First Agility Champion
The British have their first Agility Champion. On August bank holiday Monday, at the Wilton agility event in the north of England, Lesley Olden from the Romsey area in the south, won her third Agility certificate with Waggerland Whoosh of Nedlo under the judging eye of John Tallentire. Agility pioneer Peter Lewis salutes Lesley Olden and Loobie.  (04/09/01)

Olympia 2010 Qualifiers i-List
We wanted to get to know the people who had qualified for the KC Olympia Stakes so Mandy Wallington asked them to compile an i-List. We think you will find their answers informative and amusing!

Pam's Story - What Agility Means to Me
Pam Jameson's first thought about agility was that it would be a great form of exercise for her Bedlington Terrier Dash as she had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and couldn't be as active as she would like to be. She never expected it would test her so much and bring so many new people into her life. They had tried Flyball but found that Dash was totally incapable of catching a ball, but he was very good at jumping the barriers in between lanes! Agility it was then.

Monica Percival
Not many people in the UK will recognise the name Monica Percival, but in The States she known as the driving force behind Clean Run Productions, the company which publishes dog training books, DVDs, videos and Clean Run Course Designer as well as a monthly agility magazine. She talks to Mary Ann Nester.

Val Philips

Val Philips: Hands Up, Who's Got a Valgray?
If you have anything to do with the agility circuit, you cannot have missed hearing the name Valgray. One very fiery lady called Val Phillips (‘Auntie Val’ to her dogs) runs Valgrays Border Collie Rescue. Heather Noddle had a long chat with this petite, blonde human dynamo who has done more for the welfare of collies than most of us can imagine. (24/10/00)

Dave Ray - The Great Innovator
When you next step up to the line, think of Dave Ray, one of the pioneers of our sport and a real agility legend. For those new to agility, he was known as Mr Olympia for many years. So many competitors and people who worked with him had great memories of Dave at events like Olympia, Crufts and Discover Dogs. He was a fantastic guy. And that's why Steve Croxford and Michael McCartney have nominated him for the Agility Hall of Fame.

Gwyn Roberts

Gwyn Roberts: Meet the Olympia 2000 Judge Who Never Was!
With an enforced year out due to major knee surgery, the year 2000 was looking to be a very bleak one for Gwyn Roberts. However, an invitation from Pedigree Masterfoods to judge agility’s most prestigious final soon put a smile back on his face. Cruel twist fate, however, meant that he never got to use the courses he had drawn up.

Ellen Rocco Interview
Ellen Rocco doesn't usually give interviews because she thinks that the focus should be on Agilitynet and not her. So when the Editor of Dog World asked her to do a Q & A for the Companion Dog supplement, she surprised herself by saying 'yes.' Here she talks to Rebecca Durrant about Agilitynet. (21/11/10)

Lolly Scott & Tigger
Having a super fast dog may not be all it is cracked up to be. Lolly Scott shares her story of dedication and hard work. (02/05/06)
Bob Sharpe's Field of Dreams
Soraya Porter tracked down Bob Sharpe in deepest Dereham, to hear about his 'field of dreams.'

Mary Stephens & Flora
The story of Mary Stephens, a remarkable lady who started agility in her 80s with a rescue WSD and is beating the younger generation.

Paul Oldfield - Substitute
Large dog handler Paul Oldfield couldn't resist the opportunity to run Wendy Clay's Small dog in the Agility Club Champ class when Scout's regular handler was away. What happened next? (28/11/09)

Joyce Turner: Interview
How she got to be the Administrator of the Galloway Midi Challenge and why. (31/03/03)

Lynn Voyce
Agility has been a life saver for Lynn Voyce who has cancer and emphysema. She has lived to watch dogs run, albeit with other people. It meant the world for her to see her Lucy compete at Crufts 2009.  (28/03/09)

Dawn Weaver
Soraya Porter managed to lure Dawn Weaver away from her many duties, not to mention seven competition dogs, to try and find out the key to her amazing agility successes.  (09/12/08)



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