Dreaming of Beardies
My first introduction to purebred dogs was an accident. Attending an agility trial to watch a friend, I spotted a Bearded Collie. At the time I was 14 years old. From that very first sighting, I knew I had to have one.
I told my parents we needed to get a Bearded Collie! Since we live on a ranch in Northern California where mud and stickers are plenty, my mom thought a Bearded Collie may not be the ideal breed. We had mutts and a Border Collie at the time. My parents told me to do the research-find out more about the breed. I did my research via the internet, books and breeders/owners of Bearded Collies ("Beardies"). I reported back to my parents.
We attended several more agility trials and it became certain to me that I MUST own a Bearded Collie and I MUST compete in agility! A year had passed since my first Beardie sighting and I continued to pester my parents. " Well, if you really want a dog of your own, you'll have to save up enough money to buy one."
I saved up enough money to purchase my Beardie. I contacted breeders by telephone and email. After much searching, I found a breeder in Southern California that was interested in teaching me more about Beardies. On May 5, 2002, a litter of puppies was born in Lancaster, California. My parents and I traveled to Southern California to take a look at the 4 week old puppies. From that litter, I chose "Anasazi Ribbons in Her Hair." I would have to wait another 5 weeks to pick up my puppy. On July 3, 2002, my puppy, who I call Nellie, traveled home with me.
Nellie will be 3 in May. We are the best of friends and I love her dearly. We have competed in conformation shows, but Nellie does not like them at all. Nellie's passion (as well as mine) is agility. I started training with a local trainer as soon as Nellie was able. We love agility. To date, Nellie has completed her AKC Novice Standard title and her AKC Novice Jumpers title.
Through Nellie and her training, shows and agility matches, I have met many wonderful people. There is a local Beardie breeder who has become my mentor in showing. There is so much camaraderie in showing and agility. Many older and more experienced trainers and handlers have taken me under their wings and given me pointers. Each and every time I compete, I learn something new. Some day I will be able to pass my knowledge and experience along to younger handlers and competitors.
I now have a second Beardie, Zoey, who was given to me by my mentor/breeder. Zoey was a rehome after her owner did not care for her. She was 3 years old when I got her a year ago and needed much training. Our training has gone really well and Zoey and I are competing in conformation shows and she is very close to finishing her champion title.
Both Nellie and Zoey have taught me dedication, responsibility, perseverance and loyalty. We have enjoyed our successes and learned from our failures. I am so very lucky to be able to compete in both AKC shows and agility trials.
I hope to continue to compete in agility forever. I love it. I love training my dogs.
I hope to one day become a breeder. I am still dreaming about the breed standard, temperament and everything that goes into breeding dogs. I am not sure if either of my current dogs will be bred. I am working with my mentor/breeder and we will make that decision in the future. I hope to some day have a litter of Beardie puppies. From my future litter I will choose a performance puppy to train in agility. Once Nellie completes her agility titles, I am seriously thinking about working on obedience titles. The AKC offers so many different opportunities to achieve success with my dogs.
I am very proud to be a part of the world of dogs-owning dogs, showing dogs, training dogs and competing with my dogs. I am also involved our local 4H dog care project and love working with both kids and their dogs. I really enjoy meeting with the public at shows and sharing information on Bearded Collies. I love teaching kids about my dogs and take the opportunity to talk about the responsibility we have to our dogs.