An Unexpected Journey
In the spring of 2007, I realized that my River would never love agility the way I do. At that point I started thinking about getting another dog and letting River become a couch potato. Little did I know Zia Australian Shepherd Rescue would be at the spring NADAC trial in Albuquerque. At that trial, Zia was high-lighting a little red Aussie with prick ears named Pecos. Every one would look at his picture and say "super cute, shame about the ears" and walk off. I took one look and said "I love those ears!". River has prick ears as well and I thought it made her a really unique girl and it would be perfect for River's Rival. I made plans to go visit him at the foster house and do a two week trial.
As soon as he made it home, I named him Smithwicks Ewe've Got No Rival and he was mine. I told him he'd never have to run the streets again and immediately started training.
Rival immediately bonded with the family-people and dogs, he loved everyone the instant he saw them. He loved training time, snuggle time, and play time.
Training was fun, he was so much more enthusiastic than River. I decided he was going to do running contacts, something I had hoped to do with River. Rival loves to run! His contact work has been a journey and will continue to be for the rest of his career. Even now I am still working on how to perfect the dog walk.
I learned what not to do with weave poles-don't enter runs with weaves, and if he doesn't take them, just run by. It created a dog that never thought he really had to weave and it has taken until about mid-2012 that he finally started weaving reliably and for fun.
He taught me to not take things too seriously.
I love running him, I love how excited he gets watching other dogs run, I love how he tries to jump in my arms, and how he loves to smush!
We still work on getting tight turns and not looking at things outside the ring (I remember many ASCA trials where Rival would run out of the ring to go visit Chris). Chris was subsequently banned from coming to trials to watch Rival run. I think now Chris will be allowed to come watch when he wants to.
We really connected last year, we push each run, we run for fun, and I've been rewarded in spades. In June 2012, Rival got his AAD, in November 2012 he got his MAD, and now on January 27, 2013, he got his ADCH.