The Best Dog
My name is Katie Carignan and I turned 13 in January. I have been competing in agility for about a year with my 4 year old border collie, Raven. I remember sitting on the sofa one night watching the AKC agility nationals and saying to my Dad, "I want to do that." That was in January of 2003. Little did I know when I said that that such frustration and excitement could meet.
Christmas of 2002 I received an 18 month old Border collie. Her name was Raven and she was a bit timid. We didn't know it then but she was going to be my agility dog. After seeing the agility nationals on TV, my Dad got in touch with an agility training center in Decatur, Georgia, Sirius Dog Agility. We went up there one night and met with one of the owners, Meryl Sheard. While Dad and Meryl talked, I got to play with Meryl's Border collie, Blitz.
I started a clicker class in February at Sirius. That was necessary before you could begin the agility training. We finished the clicker class with ease. Then we began basic agility training. There was only one problem. When you took Raven off her leash, she dove under a chair. I thought we would never be able to compete. Then after about a year of diving under chairs and into crates, she finally seemed to just "get it". It was amazing! It was like all of the work had finally paid off. I was thrilled.
We competed in our first AKC trial in January of 2005. She impressed me by getting a Q and second place on a really difficult jumpers course. Then came our standard course. It looked really straight forward. I thought that if Raven had Q'd on that nasty jumpers course, that she could Q on this one with ease. It came our turn so I put her on the line and released her. We hit the second obstacle and I heard the judge's whistle, I stopped and wondered what had happened. She informed me that I had left Raven's collar on and it had tags. I left the course heartbroken. I couldn't believe I had left her collar on. I've never done it since then though.
Since then Raven has excelled in the sport. She has gotten her NA, NAJ, OA, OAJ, and her AX. I've made a lot of friends, most of them adults. Some of them are like me, just seeking a fun way to spend a weekend with their dog but others are national agility champions. We've traveled allover the southeast. I've gone head to head with some of the best and occasionally I beat them. During the summer of 2004 I ran an awesome Parson Russell Terrier named Blazer who belongs to Laura Miller and learned a ton. I have had a great time and will continue to do it for years to come. I've had awesome teachers at Sirius and am thankful for every one of them.
I remember hearing a judge once say that it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, you will all go home with the best dog. I don't think I've heard much that is truer than that.