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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spotlight : Nicki's Borderblog Pack

UPDATE!!! Please note that the peanut butter recalls now include pet food/treats. More information here.

Chan here... Welcome to the fourth Thursday of January. That means it's my week to do a spotlight. I think you'll really enjoy getting to know Nicki's pack. Sounds like if Sissy does want to do agility, I know where to go for more information. Thanks Nicki, for introducing us to your dogs.

Before we meet Nicki's brood, I do want to mention that this Saturday is Change a Pet's Life Day. Please follow the link to learn more about shelters in your area that are part of the national program to waive adoption fees for the day.

Oreo was born December 3, 1994 to a friend's Border Collie and an unknown neighbor dog and was my first experience with a Border Collie. By far the cutest of the litter of 11 he came home to live with me at just 6 weeks old and has never left my side since unless by force!

Oreo was our unofficial team mascot and my off season running partner in high school-going for a run was his second favorite activity after playing ball. He always has been a very avid ball player and often the ball had to be hidden to keep him from driving us crazy.

When I moved into a duplex in college Oreo came too and adapted well to suburban life with a small back yard-we spent time every day going for walks, runs, roller-blading or playing ball at the park. He was a spoiled only child and his favorite trick was to wait until I had to turn off the light at night and then he would take that chance to jump in bed ahead of me so he could sleep right in the middle! While I was in vet school and on the mule team he often rode in the wagon during our many parades. Oreo also ran in many Vet School dog jogs with me and we even won our division one year!

It was also during college that I became interested in competitive obedience and agility. Oreo proved to be a very smart and very stubborn dog-providing an inexperienced trainer with a lot of challenges and obstacles! However in 2001 we earned our first AKC obedience title of Companion Dog. In 2002 we made it into the agility ring-a feat that at one point I thought we would never accomplish-Oreo took months to learn the A-frame and a year to learn the teeter-totter. In fact when we started class he was afraid of everything but the jumps. But he soon earned the AKC Novice agility titles and went on to earn his AX and AXJ before stepping down to the preferred division. He then went through the levels again and earned his AXP and AJP before one day he decided it was enough and he retired from agility in the fall of 2006.

During this successful agility career he also continued working in obedience and earned his CDX and then showed in Utility for awhile. He did not earn any utility legs and ultimately became burned out on obedience training. He retired from obedience competition in the fall of 2005. However after some time off he returned to the ring in 2006 to earn the Rally Novice Title and then retired for good.

Oreo has also served as a therapy dog for Therapy Dogs International and Pet Therapy of the Ozarks. He has earned the Canine Good Citizen title twice. He has demonstrated obedience skills at schools, churches, and nursing homes, at the College of Veterinary Medicine's Open House and has performed in many holiday shows at Ann Gafke's Teacher's Pet.

Oreo's favorite things in life remain balls, frisbees, squeaky toys and treats. Today he lives the life of luxury-eating, sleeping, and playing and doing pretty much whatever he wants. He is plagued by diseases of old age (arthritis, renal disease, and a few gray hairs) but he doesn't let it slow him down too much. You don't have to ask him twice about a game of fetch, a ride in the car or a walk in the park!

Zodiac first came to us in 2003 as a foster dog through Happy Tails in Columbia when he was about 2 1/2 years old. One of the directors of Happy Tails asked if we would like to foster him because he knew we had Oreo and were familiar with the quirky traits of Border Collies. We said sure and thought he may even be the next dog we were looking for. When Zodiac arrived at our house he was almost completely shaved, had no clue about how to act like a dog and was had apparently led a very deprived life in his previous home. Zodiac had never been on a leash, worn a collar, been in a car, played with toys, been to the vet or received any medical care. He had been turned in to Happy Tails for running up and down the fenceline and wearing out the grass in the yard.

Over the next few weeks he started learning agility, obedience and how to play with toys. He was a quick learner and got along well with Oreo. And slowly, his coat started to grow in and showed us all how beautiful a dog he really was. But in the end it was his overwhelming charm and sweetness that ensured he never left our house.
Zodiac showed potential as a natural therapy pet and as soon as we were able he took the Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dogs International test which he passed easily. He has enjoyed visiting schools, nursing homes, hospitals and churches ever since then. Zodiac currently serves as an active therapy pet with Pet Therapy of the Ozarks.

In addition to therapy work Zodiac has had a successful performance career. He earned his Companion Dog Title in just 3 days of showing (after less than one year of training) and also his Companion Dog Excellent Title with very limited showing. He has also worked through the AKC agility titles with little trouble and has completed the Master Agility Excellent and Master Agility Jumper titles. He has recently stepped down to the preferred level and is working on his NAP and NJP titles. Zodiac has also earned four agility titles in NADAC.

Zodiac has also showed great ability in Rally-obedience. He has earned his RN, RA, and RE and is working on his RAE. He routinely scores 98 points or more out of a possible 100.

Zodiac LOVES to herd and passed the herding instinct test easily. He practices herding his brother and sister daily. He also loves tugging, frisbee, fetch, and especially snuggling. He has calmed down a lot as he has reached middle age and can be quite the couch potato if there is nothing else to do but will still herd and play frisbee all day if you want to. He also enjoys wrestling with his sister.

Zodiac is currently training for his Utility Dog Title. He also fills the role of demo dog for the obedience classes I teach at work as well as trying to be everybody's best friend. He has even been known to jump in the lap of ring crew workers after a successful agility run!

Legend is a product of too much free time (which seems odd, because I never have free time), the Internet, and some luck. As it happened I was killing time one day browsing Border Collie rescue sites for fun because it was not a time when I was looking for or needing another dog-but then when is there ever a time? Anyway, as I hit the Nebraska Border Collie Rescue site an unusually marked red merle puppy with an eager expression and big ears was staring back at me. Just under a year old and listed as high drive I clicked on the picture to learn more. The bio went on to describe the puppy as very sweet, very driven, good with other animals and an agility prospect. She would be everything I was looking for if I was looking for another dog-which I was not. But over the next few days I could not get the picture of that little dog out of my head. I finally decided that even if the time wasn't ideal, the right dog does not come along every day. So I submitted the 10 page adoption application and waited. Apparently someone got their application in ahead of me and I was notified that "my" dog had been adopted. Now for the luck part of the story-it seems that the new family's current dog did not like Legend at all and she was returned to rescue. The following week I drove to Nebraska to pick up a dog I have never met in person. Legend was 11 months old when she came to live with us in 2006.

It only took a few days for her and Zodiac to be best buddies and for her to learn to leave Oreo alone. She was very busy and loved to play with her toys. But she stayed out of trouble and was very well crate trained. We tried to let her sleep in the bedroom but she was too energetic and would wake us up at odd hours of the night to play. She now sleeps all night without trouble but is still very busy-right now she is sprinting around the living room for no reason!

Since it was winter when we got her we spent several months working on obedience and agility handling skills on the flat and targeting, all in preparation of classes starting in the spring. She then progressed to doing a few simpler obstacles. In the spring she started more formal agility training and loved it! By June she was competing in her first Rally Trial and on her second day of competition she got a perfect score and first place!

In the fall I entered her in agility at the BC National Specialty and was pretty nervous. She did not have that much experience running courses and she had never been turned loose in a strange place. I shouldn’t have worried though-as soon as we stepped out on the course she thought of nothing else but agility and qualified on all four of her runs that week. She even had a clean run and first place her first time out. She has since gone on to finish her NA, NAJ, OA, OAJ and has a 2 legs each on her AX and AXJ. She has also earned three agility titles with NADAC.

She has also finished her RN and RA and 2 legs on her RE with several perfect scores and first place finishes to her credit. This fall she also earned a leg on her CD but mostly finds the obedience ring too rigid and adds her own spin to the exercises!
Legend loves to play and to snuggle and she doesn't do anything slowly or with subtlety. She is a fun dog to train, compete with, and live with. We have a lot of high hopes for her agility career and look forward to everything she may accomplish.

What a talented bunch! Don't forget to leave a comment and use the linky.


Claudie said...

Oh I'm first and anxious to visit everyone.
Love Nicki's pack. Amazing!! Love Oreo.
Claudie from Canada

Tobi said...

Happy Thursday. I'm thrilled to be here for my 3rd week in a row.

Nick's pack look like some really amazing dogs. Very impressive!

Gnat said...

Wow!! Wow!! that is so cool! Your pack is awesome!!

knittinwolf said...

What beautiful dogs! Amazing! I get excited when mine roll over and do some tricks. That is so cool! Have a great day!

soulbrush said...

i agree with you all, what fantastic dogs. snuffles will try to get her views in today, but we are all so busy with the new baby.

Nichole said...

What a great - and beautiful - pack!

Anonymous said...

It was really interesting to learn about your dogs. They are very smart and cute. Pet therapy is a wonderful thing. When I was still working in a hospital the patients really enjoyed meeting therapy dogs and I saw for myself what a positive outcome the patients had after interacting with them.

GoldenTracks said...

great pack!

Atlântico Azul said...

I'm loving this Meme!!!! Go check my «MATE» playing with the official ball of my blog! LOOL!!!

Serendipity said...

Wow, they sure are a talented pack!

dogyarnfun said...

What fabulous pictures. Your pups are so talented. I love watching this breed in action herding sheep. It's like they are reading the sheep herder's mind.

"Ice Pony Girl" said...

Cute dogs! And what fun they are having on the course.