Friday, December 16, 2011

Road to AKC/Eukanuba: Judith Swan and Taylor, a big-hearted agility dog in a tiny body!

This week we're highlighting several competitors who have overcome all sorts of obstacles to make it to the biggest dog show in the country -- the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Today's focus is on Judith Swan and her Schipperke Taylor, who will be competing in the AKC Agility Invitational, held in conjunction with the AENC in Orlando this weekend. Judith and Taylor are from Silver Spring, Md.

At age 10, Taylor is not only a more "mature" dog, but she's also a rescue who had a difficult start in life. Four years ago, Judith found her in a shelter after she had been turned in by a family. Taylor had to spend some extra time in “jail” because she would not let anyone near her.  On the intake sheet, the family had listed her personality as “weird.” After a few months of obedience training, she came to like other people and became a very loving little dog. It was obvious that Taylor needed a job and she took to agility quickly.  At the age of 10, she has made it to her first AKC Agility Invitational!  

Taylor will be jumping with other "8-inch" dogs at the Invitational, her first time at the event.
TDWL:  Is Taylor your first agility dog? Judith: Taylor is my second agility dog, the first being Georgie, another Schip who is working on her PACH title (still needs points). 

TDWL: What titles does Taylor have? Judith:  Taylor has her MX (Master Excellent) and MXJ (Master Agility Jumpers).  She is 23 points away from her MACH (Master Agility Championship).  So maybe she’ll get it this weekend or maybe after the Invitational at the coming trials in December or January.

TDWL: How many years have you been competing in agility? Judith:  I have been competing about 3 years, so relatively speaking, I couldn’t be called a veteran.
Taylor is the No. 4 Schipperke heading into the Invitational. The top five in each breed qualify.
TDWL: How old was Taylor when you adopted her?
Judith:  Taylor was six years old, according to her intake papers at the shelter.  Now she is 10 and just starting to blossom as an agility dog.

TDWL: Did you have to do anything special to allow her to compete in AKC agility?
Judith:  Taylor has an ILP number so she can compete in AKC trials.

TDWL: Do you find her age has slowed her down or affected her in anyway? Judith: It hasn’t slowed her down much, but she needs to rest a little between trials.  I don’t run her in more than 2 classes per day.  She can’t do outdoor trials because her eyes have aged and she squints in bright sunlight, so she can’t see all the weave poles.  Her eyes may be her eventual limiting factor.

TDWL: How long do you think you'll compete with her? Judith:  As long as she enjoys it.  You can tell she loves to get into the ring.

TDWL: What does it mean to you to be coming to the AKC Agility Invitational this year? Judith: It is fabulous to be able to come and see all the great dogs in every breed.  I am so happy to bring Taylor, who was a “throw away dog” and now has accomplished so much.  I feel this is an acknowledgement of her value as a partner and our ability to work as a team.

TDWL: Is there anything else you'd like to share about Taylor? Judith: For a tiny dog (9 lbs), Taylor is very brave and feisty.  Since her “jailhouse” days, she has come to love people, but will still snarl at other dogs -- although only to get them to move away, not to bite.  It doesn’t matter how big they are either, so I have to keep my eye on her when I get her out of her crate at a trial.  Imagine “Rocky” as he punches the air on his way to the fight ring.

TDWL: Can't wait to see Rocky, I mean Taylor, run this weekend! Good luck to you both!


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